President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday launched the much-awaited third phase of Bihar’s Agriculture Road Map (2017-22) that will focus on increasing income of farmers among other things.

The road map of Rs 1.54 lakh crore will also focus on ensuring sustainable development of the agriculture sector by emphasizing on organic farming through development of organic corridors.

Governor Satya Pal Malik and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also attended the event at Bapu Savagar of Samrat Ashok International Convention Centre here .

It is Kovind’s first official visit to the state after being elected President of India in July. He was Bihar Governor before he was nominated for the Presidential election.

Earlier, President Kovind arrived at Patna airport in a special place and was received by Satyapal Malik, Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

Nitish Kumar in his address said 76 per cent of Bihar’s population was dependent on agriculture for livelihood. He claimed that Bihar had recorded growth and improvement in the agriculture sector since the first agriculture road map was implemented for 2008-12, followed by the second for 2012-17. “Our rice, wheat, maize, potato and vegetables production have remarkably increased.”

“Now we are ready to implement the Third Agriculture Road Map for Bihar. A few months ago we invited hundreds of farmers from all the 38 districts of the state to provide them an opportunity to make suggestions. We have listened to their suggestions carefully and considered their views and finalised the road map,” he said.

Organic farming is one of the focus areas of the agriculture road map. “We will promote organic farming and help farmers go for it in areas along the river Ganga for protection of the environment.”

According to officials, the agriculture road map includes programmes by as many as 12 departments, including agriculture, animal husbandry and power. Among other objectives, the road map is aimed at setting up an exclusive 1,500 MW power network for the agriculture sector to reduce the farmers’ dependence on diesel generator sets for farming. The plan also includes innovative idea of integrating solar power with fisheries.

The state government is also working on a plan to connect villages with a population of more than 250 people through road network to provide access to wholesale markets.

It has also targeted raising the irrigation capacity of the state through 14.64 lakh private tubewells.