Patna: Millions of farmers in Bihar can now breathe a sigh of relief as moderate to heavy rains in the last few days have brought a ray of hope from the drought like situation, an official said on Monday.

Farmers have begun transplanting paddy seedlings and paddy sowing. With showers lashing Patna and many parts of Bihar for the past few days, it is positive development, Agriculture Production Commissioner A.K. Sinha said.

The showers will help farmers save their seedlings from drying up, he said.

Till date, nearly 70 percent seedlings for paddy was sown in Bihar. Due to the scanty rainfall, the ratio of transplanting paddy seedlings was very poor, Sinha said.

But the situation is likely to improve in view of active monsoon across the state, he says.

According to the state’s meteorological director D.C. Gupta, the state will witness moderate to heavy rain in the next two days.

"Monsoon is active and it is a good news for all, particularly farmers," he said.Monsoon normally hits the state between June 12 and June 14.

But this year, it was delayed by over a week. Soon after the rains began, they have been scanty.

The state has witnessed a rainfall deficit of 42.5 percent, an official of the state agriculture department said.

An estimated 70 million people, two thirds of Bihar's population of 105 million, are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood.

The agriculture department has earmarked 38 lakh hectares for paddy, 2.7 lakh hectares for maize and 1.5 lakh hectares for oilseeds.Due to insufficient rains, the state had produced just about 46 lakh tonnes of paddy in 2010 and 57.7 lakh tonnes in 2009.

Last year, Bihar had a record paddy crop output of 114 lakh tonnes.


(Agencies)


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