Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Independence through seed art

Gram Art Project is sowing seeds of change for the women of four villages

On the border between Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh lies a little village called Paradsinga. Its a village with a difference, and has been the hub of culture and education in the area for the past three years or so. One of the young guns at the centre of this movement of sorts is 20-year-old Nutan Dwivedi, who visited Chennai over the weekend to spread her work further.

As a member of the Paradsinga-based Gram Art Project, Dwivedi spends her days trudging to nearby villages, offering alternative employment to the women there. There are a total of 50 women, whom I teach how to make seed bands, she says, on the sidelines of the reStore 10 – Safe Food Festival organised at Stella Maris College.

The seed bands are essentially wrist bands which have organic seeds embedded in them. They can pass off as both rakhis and friendship bands, and are a means to provide some semblance of economic independence for these women. They dont have the permission to leave their homes or travel, so I go to each household and teach them for free, says Dwivedi.

Uplifting W Bengals farmer community through organic produce

ONganic Foods aims to increase profitability from agriculture for small holders through a holistic and integrated approach, by creating a platform where multiple interventions can converge.

Dantewada farmers lauded for taking up organic farming

Raipur (Chhattisgarh) [India], Feb 18 : Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on Saturday lauded the farmers of Naxal-hit Dantewada for bringing in a green revolution through organic farming.

“This is a peaceful answer to Naxalism that Green Revolution can bring in a positive change in society rather than violence,” said Raman Singh.

“The ‘Adim’ rice brand of Dantewada has now become famous all over the country. Its fame has reached Bengaluru and Chennai. It has not only become the identity of Dantewada but of the entire Bastar division. Farmers of Dantewada district have created a company named ‘Bhumgadi’ and linked it to the self-help group. So far, more than one and a half thousand farmers have joined the ‘Bhoomgadi’ company as a shareholder,” he added.

Need to conserve available diversity of banana varieties

New Delhi, Feb 17 There is a need to conserve available genetic diversity of bananas varieties which are facing threat due to urbanisation and erosion of wild bananas in their natural habitat, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said on Saturday.

Musa wild species and its allied species form an important source for resistant genes for biotic and abiotic stresses, he said in his address at the National Banana Festival held in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

Pioneers then, role models now

Chennai: Back in 2006, when organic wasnt as big a buzzword as it is now, a group of 30-year-olds, troubled by the spate of farmer suicides and lack of empathy among the public to the issue decided that a change was in order. After interacting with farmers across India, they decided to start ReStore a not-for-profit collective selling freshly acquired organic farm produce whose profits would directly reach the farmers.

Today, ReStore, in its 10th year, is not just an organic food shop, but also an institution open for the community to learn anything and everything about organic food and farming. News Today contacted co-founder of ReStore, Anantha Sayanan or Ananthoo, as he is popularly called, to know the journey of ReStore and the popularity of organic products.

Karnataka focus on dryland farming

Raitha Belaku scheme seeks to provide Rs. 5,000 a hectare for growers of rainfed crops

The budget for agriculture runs contrary to the expectation that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah would come out with a series of sops for the farming sector with an eye on the forthcoming Assembly elections. Its focus is on dryland farming in the wake of the State accounting for the largest amount of drought-prone land in the country next to Rajasthan.

Organic farming in 5.75 lakh hectare in MP

Much work has been done in organic farming in the last few years in Madhya Pradesh. According to Agriculture and Processed Food Product Export Development Authority (APEDA) currently, organic farming is being done in nearly 5.75 lakh hectare area.

More than 40 per cent organic agricultural products are being produced in the State which is about 40 per cent of the total organic agricultural produce of the country.Organic farming has been adopted in over 1800 villages of 313 blocks in the State.

Increasing number of professionals are now renting agricultural land for organic farming

The sky is blue, the sun is shining bright. One can hear the whisper of the cool wind blowing through the trees. Over a dozen SUVs are parked on the edge of a green agricultural field surrounded by the Aravalli hills in Gairatpur Bas, a bucolic village about half an hours drive from the glitz of the Millennium City.

Their owners– mostly professionals from Gurgaon– are toiling in the field they have taken on lease for community organic farming. Some are weeding, some sowing seeds, and others are plucking vegetables. I was buying organic vegetables from the market but was not quite sure how organic they actually were. So, I thought why not rent a farmland and grow my own vegetables, says Shikha Gaur, who runs an event management company. Helping her out in her 600-yard field is her 12-year-old daughter, Tvarita.

Food fest from Feb. 17

A festival that shows how eating safe will have a restorative effect on ones health

Restore is organising a Safe Food Festival on February 17 and 18 at Stella Maris College on Cathedral Road, Teynampet.

The festival commemorates the 10th anniversary of Restore, a not-for profit organisation, which works with marginal farmers to revive traditional and organic methods of farming.

Panel discussions and technical sessions with subject matter experts (SMEs) in the fields of environment and agriculture is an important aspect of this festival.

11-year-old girl transformed her courtyard into a lush vegetable garden!

Ambalavayal (Wayanad): A class 6 student from Ambalavayal has turned her courtyard into a vegetable garden, setting a model for all youngsters. Shikha Lubna, daughter of Mankombu native Abdul Basheer and Nasriya, has been active in farming since she was in class 1. She is a student of Bathery Assumption AUP School. Shikhas garden consists of almost all major varieties of vegetables and nearly 30 types of fruits.

Chinese cauliflower, bajji chilli, carrot, beetroot, cabbage, green chilli and other vegetables grow in Shikhas garden. A different item among them is Palak spinach from Gulf which is used to enhance the taste of chicken curry. Shikha manages to find time for farming in morning and evening and on holidays. She takes the vegetables for household use and gives away the rest to neighbours.

Ryots reap rich dividends with organic cotton

Parvathipuram (Vizianagaram): Tribals of Parvathipuram agency area were on cloud nine for getting good money for their produce.Organic farmers earning good income not only on fruits and vegetables but also commercial crops.

Generally, people are willing to pay more price to organic fruits, vegetables, leafy vegetables. Even the farm expenditure is also very less in organic natural farming as they use only cow dung, cow urine and some herbal extracts.

The government is also promoting natural farming in the state and imparting training to the farmers across the state. Some foreign agencies are coming forward to pay more to the commercial crop like cotton which is being grown in natural farming mode.

Perfect roti, kapda and kisan budget

Finance Minister Arun Jaitleys last pre-poll Budget was one of the most keenly awaited events in recent times. Almost everyone on the streets expected huge sops, fiscal stimulus and even Income-Tax cuts, moves that were seen as big pull factors in an election year. The hopes of the middle class may have been dashed, with no cuts in I-T, but Jaitley has gone all out to empower the hinterland with a series of measures that will go a long way in improving the quality of life in rural India.
Mera Gaon, Mera Desh, in fact, seems to be the underlying theme of this years Union Budget. With his various measures, he seems to have taken a big leap forward in addressing issues of roti, kapda and kisaan. It is certainly good for the agriculture sector, particularly those at the bottom of the pyramid. The FM had the dual task of reflecting the governments intent of promoting rural growth with job creation and taking forward its various social measures and initiatives like Swachh Bharat, Digital India and Make in India.
The single biggest positive of this years Budget is its kisaan focus. With this Budget, the government has reiterated its promise of doubling the farmers income by 2022. Be it the 150 per cent increase in MSP for crops or the support to organic farming, doubling the expenditure allocation to Rs 1,400 crores for the food processing sector or liberalisation of agricultural exports, allocation of Rs 10,000 crore to fisheries, animal husbandries and related infrastructure or ensuring farmers better access to formal mandis, this Budget has ticked all the right boxes when it comes to improving the lives of people in our villages

Bihar for zero budget organic farming

Patna: The Bihar agriculture department is going to promote low-cost farming, which has been named “zero budget farming”, as part of its efforts to promote organic farming as well as reduce the input cost of farmers to increase their profit margin.

The new farming technique entails use of traditional inputs for getting better productivity from the field without hampering soil fertility that is a common result of using chemical fertilisers and pesticides.

Huge potential for organic farming in A&N islands

New Delhi, Feb 15 Andaman and Nicobar Islands has huge potential to scale up organic farming, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said.

Currently, organic farming is being taken up on a small scale in about 321 hectares of the Union Territory.

“The island has immense potential and is favourably placed for organic farming due to less use of chemical fertilisers and abundant species,” Singh said in Port Blair.

The aim is to convert the UT into an organic farming island and therefore efforts are being made to create more awareness among farmers and consumers, he said in a statement.

Industry writes its own rules for assessing pesticides, GMOs

Eleven out of 12 EU pesticide and GMO risk assessment methods studied were developed or promoted by industry, a new report from Pesticide Action Network[1] (PAN) shows. The report says that harmful effects observed in animal safety studies on pesticides can be swept under the carpet by using these methods. For example, tumours seen in test animals can be classified as irrelevant for humans; harmful pesticide residues in groundwater or 50% of non-target insects being killed off by pesticide spraying are deemed acceptable; safe levels can be assumed for carcinogens; standards for protection of aquatic life can be relaxed; and a GM crop that unexpectedly differs markedly in composition from the non-GM parent can be waved through the approvals process with little challenge.

‘Indias thrust on organic farming could tackle food insecurity, migration’

ROME: Alternative methods of farming, such as organic farming, introduced by the Indian government in several states is the right strategy to tackle food insecurity, improving nutrition and alleviating poverty in the country, Gilbert F Houngbo, the president of the International Fund for Agricultural development (IFAD), said here on Tuesday while announcing a target contribution of USD 3.5 billion in loans and grants by IFAD for developing countries.
In December 2017, when I was in India I saw the plans laid out by the Indian ministry of agriculture for various agricultural schemes PM Narendra Modi has launched. I do believe organic farming is one of the right strategies that can be used to fight food insecurity, improve nutrition and alleviate poverty in India. In fact, the right approach to farming and non-farming activities could be the answer to economic migration, Houngbo told TOI on the sidelines of the forty-first session of the IFAD Governing Council.

Permaculture sets new agenda for agriculture in Telangana

It had taken them almost a decade to acquire swathes of land in a remote district in the southern state of Telangana aimed at creating their own forest. They began the process of buying land in 2006 from local people near Sangur reservoir in Medak district in northern Telangana where many families were migrating to urban areas because of lack of basic civic facilities like water and electricity.

But Supriya Gaddam and her husband, Anil Reddy, had to change their plan about their 96 acres of land when they met Narsanna Koppula, a pioneer of permaculture fondly called the Bill Mollison of India.

KVK stresses on commercial organic farming, floriculture

REASI: Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Reasi of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology-Jammu (SKUAST-J) stressed on commercial organic farming and commercial floriculture in the national conference entitled as Innovative Technological Interventions for Doubling Farmers Income which was held at SKUAST-J from Feb 8-10, 2018 and was attended by many scientists from different states of the country.

Special purchase centre for organic rice

Gajwel: Telangana government is setting up special purchasing centres for organic rice variety Telangana Sona in Siddipet market yards in order to encourage organic farming. Distrcit Agriculture Officer Shravan Kumar on Wednesday launched a special purchase counter for organic rice at Gajwel Agriculture Market Yard.

The official said with the special focus on planning of cultivating organic rice in 11 clusters in Siddipet district, Telangana Sona variety, which is also ideal for diabetics, was produced in about 50 acres this year.

The variety was produced using organic farming methods without any chemical pesticides and fertilisers. Farmers of Datharpally village of Gajwel mandal, who presented a bag of organic rice to Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao at his residence in Hyderabad on Wednesday, urged the government to increase the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for rice which is now Rs 4200 per quintal.

How the hydroponics industry is undermining everything the organic farming movement stands for

Since 1984, Dave Chapman has been growing organic tomatoes at his Vermont-based Long Wind Farm. Until recently, he was content to keep his nose to the grind stone. But then, a few years ago, he started to notice something different about the organic tomatoes at all the grocery stores he visited: They were almost all hydroponically grown, and almost all were coming from just a few large companies.

Surely, he thought, this must be an oversight, since hydroponics had been banned since 2010. He started petitioning, digging and talking to figure out what this was all about. The hornets nest that hes since dug up has become one of the most controversial issues in the organic industry. With deep integrity, Dave has been leading the charge to keep the soil in organic through rallies, presentations and public education.

Telengana will support organic farming: Harish

Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao said the Telengana government will support to organic farming in a big way. He stressed the need for consumption of food grains produced through organic fertilizers. Rice and other food grains produced through organic fertilizers are good for health, he remarked.

A group of farmers from Datharpally village of Gajwel mandal met the minister and offered him the rice produced by using organic fertilizers. The minister said the State government would extend support to those farmers who were using organic fertilizers to their crops.

Organic farming saved us: Bhagwat

Patna: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) “sarsanghchalak” or chief Mohan Bhagwat presided over a meeting at Muzaffarpur with farmers selected from all 58 districts of Bihar and Jharkhand where he said that early strides in organic farming in India saved fertility of land. He discussed various other issues too.

MP has largest area in India under organic farming

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh is the only state in the country where organic farming is being done over 1.48 lakh hectares, the largest in the country, MP cooperative minister (independent charge) Vishwas Sarang said on Thursday.

“Organic farming is being done in 1.48 lakh hectares area, which is the largest in the country,” Sarang said, inaugurating a seminar at the Indian Institute of Soil Science (IISS) here.

Super crop millet and organic farming get a boost from these start-ups

India is celebrating 2018 as the Year of Millets. While the health benefits of millets are well known, this crop is beneficial even for the farmers. The water-retentive nature of the crop and easy growth, coupled with high nutrition value makes millet a super crop.

Millet consumption has witnessed a steep decline in the past decades with a decrease in production from 40 to 20 percent since the Green Revolution. However, today with more people realising the health and lifestyle benefits associated with millets, there is an increased global demand for this crop.

And spearheading this crop revolution are startups and entrepreneurs who believe that organic farming and millet cultivation is the last hope to produce food without destroying the environment.

Haven in the hills: Two sisters set up an organic resort to help the local community

Kanika and Kushika Sharma set up Dyo – the Organic Village Resort in Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand, in 2015, and are bringing luxury and nature on to the same table by encouraging locals to adopt organic farming methods

The temperatures rising across India, and were closing in on the season when families want to retreat to the hills to beat the heat. Be it Mussoorie or Srinagar, hill stations are perennially crowded.

Time perhaps to make your way to Mukteshwar, in the serene Kumaon hills and just 51 km away from Nainital. Here, sisters Kanika Sharma, 31, and Kushika Sharma, 29, have set up the perfect getaway that combines a luxurious lifestyle with organic food and promises to recharge you completely.