Agriculture has been the sole source of wealth in Bihar. This fact
is perhaps one of the chief causes of the state's poverty, as no land
can be rich which depends mainly on agriculture. The problem of uneconomic
holdings has been compounded by fragmentation i.e. by splitting and separation
of the holdings of most cultivators into many tiny plots, adding to the
labour of the cultivators and decreasing the efficiency of their operations.
Improved methods and machinery are being gradually introduced, but much
passive resistance and many conservative prejudices have still to be overcome
before the rural classes can be induced to take them.
Within recent years
some progress is noticeable. The only practical solution is that, first
in increasing the productivity of the available land and second, in creating
non-agricultural sources of employment through the development of industries.
Agriculture is making progress in every direction. Farming is more scientific,
the use of chemical manure is becoming more general, and the rotation
of crops better understood. In the context of the predominantly rural
character of the economy, national extension services has been developed
to bring to the farmer the knowledge of better farming practices together
with ready supply of means. The credit for the establishment of such an
extension agency goes to the Community Development Programme which was
initiated during the First Five year plan period. From the point of view
of economic development, community development blocks provide opportunities
for integrated rural development and there is provision in the block budget
itself for (i) the improvement of agriculture, including provision for
minor irrigation, soil conservation, improvement of village forests, animal
husbandry and dairying (ii) development of co-operation (iii) village
industries (iv) elementary education, especially provision of school buildings
for local communities (v) rural water supply and the programme of minimum
rural amenities, including construction of approach roads linking each
village to the nearest road or railhead.