Bihar has comparative advantage in terms of agro-based industries. In Economic Survey of Bihar 2019-20 the Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (BIADA) reported Rs. 742.5 crore investment during previous two financial years i.e. 2017-18 and 2018-19 in agro based industries, which was highest among high priority sector industries in Bihar.
1. Sugar Industry
Bihar contributes about 3.5% of total sugar production in India during the financial year 2018-19, Bihar reported the production of 84.02 lakh quintal sugar by crushing 810.17 quintal sugarcane. During 2018-19, sugarcane production increased 8.3% from previous financial year 2017-18 and in the same period sugar production increased by 17.4% Greater increase in sugar production can be attributed to focus of the state government on use of High Yielding Seeds of sugarcane by farmers through various subsidy and incentives.
Besides sugar, sugarcanes are also being used ot produce other products like Ethyl alcohol, bio-fertiliser, acetic acid and even electricity using wastes obtained while sugar production, such as :-
- Bagasse:- It is the fibrous waste obtained after crushing of sugarcane. It is used to produce electricity, particle board, paper board etc.
- Filter Dust:- It is obtained while the cleaning process of sugar and sugar juice. It is used to produce animal food as well as excellent quality bio-fertilizer.
- Molasses:- It is being used to produce Ethyl alcohol, Acetic acid, Acetone etc.
Currently 11 sugar mills are operational in Six districts of the state and Seven out of eleven of them are in two districts i.e. Four in West Champaran and Three mills in Gopalganj.
Earlier many mills were in the state, but mismanagement and lack of diversification and modernization of sugar mills resulted into closure of many sugar mills. Many mills were even present even in South-Bihar. But now, there are no such mills in south-Bihar.
However some positives are also seen in recent times, where growth in the production of sugarcane as well as sugar were improved significantly after increased focus of the state government on sugar based industries and sugarcane production in the state. It is not only improved their production and sugar, but also achieved a great success in terms fo diversifying sugar mills in the state. currently except two mills, on Susamusa and other in Gopalganj, all have installed the facility to produce Ethyl alcohol, electricity and bio-fertilizer. In 2018-19 six sugar mills out of eleven reported on an average 365 KLPD ( Kilo litres per day) production of Ethyl Alcohol. which is a great achievement of the state.
To boost sugar and the production of other by-products of sugarcane in the state, Government of Bihar launched Mukhyamantri Ganna Vikas Yojana, in which 3 schemes were launched:-
- First was an incentive scheme of ₹25000/hectare to suger mills for improving the foundation seeds of sugarcane in the state. Under this scheme out of budget outlay of ₹162.5 lakh about ₹59.56 lakh were disbursed to sugar mills in 2018-19.
- The second scheme is a subsidy scheme ot farmers, in which ₹160/quintal to general farmers and ₹200/quintal to SC/ST farmers are being given for using 16 listed high yielding variety of sugarcane seeds.
- In the thrid scheme state government provides an additional bonus of ₹30/quintal are being given to farmers to encourage the the production of certified seeds. Under this scheme about ₹682.7 lakh was disbursed to eligible farmers.
2. Dairy Industry
Dairy Industry in Bihar is regulated, monitored and managed by Bihar State Milk co-operative established in 1993, on the lines of Anand Milk Union Limited in 3-tier structure i.e.
- Milk producer's Co-operative Society, at village level.
- Mill Union, at district Level.
- Mill Federation, at State Level.
COMFED produce products under the brand name of Sudha. Under this brand various kinds of milk, Icecream, Lassi, Peda, Rasogulla, Gulab-jamun and other products are produced which traded across the country.
Between 2017-18 and 2018-19 the collection of milk was increased from 1627.25 thousand Kgs per Day (2017-18) to 1931.11 thousand Kgs per Day (2018-19) implying a growth of 18.7%. And this increment was seen at every collection centres in the state.
Though the sale of milk during 2018-19 was decreased slightly, but the sale of other milk products like Ice cream, Lassi, Rasogulla, Peda, Gulab-jamun and other milk products were increased commensurately.
Besides collection of milk and producing milk products COMFED also provides other services like artificial insemination, vaccination, de-worming, seed distribution and cattle distribution.
3. Jute Industry
Jute, in Bihar are produced mainly in North Eastern part, along with West-bengal i.e. Purnea, Katihar, Araria and Kishanganj. Jute is used to manufacture bags, rapes mats etc. In 1948, Bihar contributed 3% of the total Jute production in the country. But as we know, Jute is facing juge competition with the plastic made bags, which resulted in the plastic made bags, which resulted into sharp decline in demand of Jute made bags in the country.
- Currently Bihar is 4th largest producer of the Jute articles in the country.
1. Saw Mills
there were about 4000 registered saw mills in Bihar in 2000. But government of Bihar targeted to decrease them to 1000 to protect rapid decline in forest in the state. The number of registered saw mills declined significantly but the number of registered mills get increased commensurately. Hence, not much effect on ground was happened . Currently many timber producing industries are in Bihar which manufactures plywood, and other wood products.
After classification of bamboo as a grass by Central government, Bihar has great scope for the development of bamboo-based industries in Bihar because the environment of Bihar is suitable for large scale bamboo cultivation.
Hence government of the state should bring schemes encouraging bamboo cultivation and bamboo-based industries in Bihar. It will serve both ends of increasing green cover to 17% by 2021 as well as help in doubling the income of farmers.
2. Paper and Paper Board Industries
Earlier there were many large scale Paper and Paper-board producing industries in Samastipur, Rohtas, Darbhanga, Patna and Muzaffarpur. Since for these industries, important raw materials are Bamboo and Sawai grass , but due to decline in the production of both Bamboo and Sawai grasses because of the lack of reforestation the number of industries are also decreased significantly.
Now only few such factories are in operation and that too are at very low scale of operation.