Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Policies must be aimed at building capacity of soils, not promoting agrochemicals: experts

Arresting land degradation, reviving soil health and managing waste to prevent soil contamination were the recurring themes at the National Conference on Indias Soils: Science Policy Practice Interfaces for Sustainable Futures held at IIT Delhi.

The conference brought together three important stakeholders in soil health management in India: scientists, policymakers and practitioners.

Continuing degradation of Indias natural resource base has been the major triggerbehind hosting this conference. The objective has been to understand and reverse current degradation of Indias soils with special emphasis on marginal, small and medium farmers.

Biodiversity on Organic Farms in Telangana

Most commercial agriculture around the world comes in the form of monocultures, where whole fields are devoted to a single plant. Monocultures are stark landscapes, built around the logic of factories rather than the logic of farmers or forests.

It doesnt need to be that way. The monoculture way of thinking that underlies our contemporary food and agriculture systems is a fairly recent invention. Agricultural biodiversity has long been a part of the farmers toolkit, benefiting the natural landscape and agrarian life.

Nowhere is this clearer than with cotton. Since 2012, Ive researched the lives of farmers in India choosing between non-organic cotton cash crops and organic cotton programs, asking how people and their environments are affected by this agricultural decision. By learning how to work together, farmers and organic development groups can develop locally appropriate and mutually beneficial initiatives that reduce social and environmental vulnerability in these villages.

Organic cultivation boosts castor crop yield

Jadcherla: Lakshmana Sarma, a castor farmer of Ayyavaripalle of Midgil mandal in Mahabubnagar district, reaped six to eight tons of the crop compared four tons by others by spending only Rs 500 and applying organic fertilisers to castor crop raised in his two-and-half acre farm. He is hopeful of reaping at least 20 quintals of castor seeds at the end of the season.

Vexed with not getting enough returns from his 30-acre land from conventional methods, during the past three decades, he switched over to natural farming to cut costs drastically.

Initially Sarma experimented with SRI variety of paddy and tasted success. Later, he raised castor crop, which is on the verge of disappearing from the district.

From cancer-causing crop to organic vegetables

A few farmers of Prakasam district in Andhra Pradesh have quit tobacco cultivation to grow healthy food

A small group of progressive farmers in Santhanuthalapadu in the Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh has quit the cultivation of tobacco, the principal commercial crop in the district, to grow organic fruits and vegetables.

After burning their fingers growing the negative crop tobacco the price of which is governed more by the global demand-supply situation, they decided to go in for organic fruits and vegetables.

Sikkim: entrepreneurs leading charge for shift to organic farming

Decades after farmers on Indias plains flocked to the Green Revolution, reliant on chemical fertilisers to drive agricultural growth, the northeast Himalayan state of Sikkim is trying its luck with organic farming a pull for young, green-minded entrepreneurs who could help get the produce to market.

Last year, Sikkim was declared 100% organic by the government, while across the country, organic farming is growing rapidly.

India has the worlds highest number of organic producers at 650,000, or over a quarter of the global total, according to the Europe-based Research Institute of Organic Agriculture.

Need for organic milk & meat

Dr Mandeep Singh Azad and Dr Manmeet Motan

We have grown up hearing that food is medicine. It helps us grow, rejuvenate and gives us energy. Almost all of us insist on buying the fresh stock, nitpicking each fruit and vegetable before we buy it. However, the highly industrialized and competitive times that we live in has had a negative impact on food.

Eggs are a great source of protein, containing all the necessary amino acids as well being easy to absorb. Due to the increase in demand for eggs, 80% of all eggs in India come from industrialised poultry farms where chickens are kept in wire cages. They remain there till they die in extremely unhygienic conditions while being given synthetic hormones and antibiotics. A national survey in India has revealed that almost 70% of the milk sold and consumed in India is adulterated by contaminants such as detergents and skim milk powder but impure water was the most common contaminant.

Most animals and birds are given synthetic growth hormones so that they grow fast and are ready to be culled. There is a demand to ban use of growth hormones since they are linked to cancer. Ingesting hormones through meat has also been linked to early puberty in children as well as causing obesity.

Khalsa College Lab develops ‘friendly insects’ to promote organic farming

AMRITSAR : To discourage farmers from using poisonous insecticides and pesticides and to promote organic farming for healthy living, Khalsa College’s agriculture scientists have developed “friendly insects” in the laboratory to control growth of harmful insects.

While talking to TOI on Saturday agriculture scientist and in charge of College’s Bio Control Lab Rajinder Pal Singh informed that they had developed friendly insects in the lab for the farmers to use in their fields. “These beneficial insects either feed on pest or lay eggs in the body of larvae of enemy insects and break their life cycles”, he said.

Producer organizations to export organic vegetables

With the success of Bengal’s organic farming in the past few years, Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) from the Indian city of Bankura are going to export organic vegetables to countries abroad.

In a few short weeks the organic produce will be exported to Middle Eastern countries will also be exported to South-East Asian countries, the UK and the US.

Tripura to take lessons from Organic Sikkim

Tripura has initiated organic farming in the state and would take lessons from Sikkim on this, Agriculture Minister Aghore Debbarma said here on Saturday.

“To expand the organic farming of vegetables in Tripura we would take help and knowledge from Sikkim,” the minister told IANS.

He said that the agriculture department has earmarked 2,000 hectares of land for organic farming of vegetables this year in Tripura and based on the success and demand gradually the area would be extended.

Sanwarlal Jat pitches for organic farming

Jaipur, Feb 23 (PTI) Former Union Minister Sanwarlal Jat today pitched for consumer awareness over organic farming and consumption.

Sanwarlal Jat, Chairman of State Farmers Commission, said ample awareness will create demand and also trigger supply, while addressing a state level advocacy meeting organised by Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS), a non-profit organisation to promote organic consumption in the state.

George Cheriyan, Director CUTS, in his opening remarks highlighted various tasks done by the organisation for the promotion of organic farming and consumption.

Young India can save the future of agriculture

Over a century old, the historic Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) in Coimbatore has seen many remarkable individuals in the position of vice chancellor. Many have come and gone in the past decades. The coveted post entails dealing with technocrats, labourers, academics and students alike. During their term, vice chancellors are the face and emblem of the university.

In the last 20-30 years, just a few vice chancellors have enjoyed two terms in office. Currently, Dr. K. Ramasamy the present vice chancellor is serving his second term. Dr. K.R., as he is known in intellectual circles, believes that being vice chancellor is more than merely sitting inside AC cabins, hosting dinners and addressing meetings. He is dynamic and pro-active, well-known among farmers for his strong support of organic farming and for the measures he has taken to ensure that youngsters join the farming sector.

Burlang Yatra – Annual Indigenous Seed Festival

The annual indigenous traditional community seed festivals have been an ancient practice in India and an integral part of the indigenous farming culture. There is no gainsaying that conservation of agro-biodiversity and agro-ecology is indispensable for food security and indigenous farmers realized it long ago. As an ancient practice, the indigenous farmers in India have been exchanging indigenous heirloom seeds not only among themselves but also passing down the generations both the knowledge and heirloom seeds through observation of indigenous traditional community seed festivals. The indigenous traditional community seed festivals have an inbuilt conservation aspect to it, which acts as the indigenous agro-biodiversity keeper. The indigenous traditional community seed festivals act as a means of exchange of indigenous heirloom seeds and act as a repository to conserve and increase indigenous heirloom seed diversity, agro-biodiversity, and diversity of the traditional food basket.

US organic grain farmers are not happy with all the cheap imported corn

The demand for organic crops in the U.S. is climbing, but American organic farmers are not necessarily reaping the benefits.

Farmers that switched to growing organic crops to take advantage of growingconsumer demand are disappointed that the U.S. is still importing so much grain from overseas, particularly Turkey, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Biotech engineer & her mom have helped 4,000 farmers across India go organic

She was 22 and just out of college when Likitha Bhanu got together with her mother Padmaja, and started Terra Greens Organic, a food company based in Hyderabad that aims to revive sustainable agricultural practices in India through organic farming.

This was in 2013. Today, the company has a presence in 16 states and over 650 stores in addition to having engaged about 4,000 farmers across India in organic agriculture.

Centre plans to make NE as hub of organic farming

Ministry of Agriculture has been embarking into the plan to make Northeast region as hub of organic farming considering it’s socio-environmental potential, said Union minister of State for Agriculture Sudarshan Bhagat today. Mr Bhagat who arrived here on a three day visit and attended the conference of BJP farmer’s wing – Krishak Morcha, addressing two separate programs at College of Fisheries and ICAR Research Centre in Lembucherra here. He also launched Nil Kranti Project to double the fish production in Tripura by 2022.

The union minister said Modi led government is committed to develop the socio-economic status of farmers of Northeastern states by doubling their income. To achieve the objective, Ministry has already undertaken a number of initiatives including increasing budget allocation of agriculture and brought farmers under Fasaal Bima Yojna. He expressed concern over the shifting trend of profession among the farmers and said the central government has been working for a multi-model approach to incentivise farming community and encourage farmers for allocation was increased in this year budget.

What is Organic Farming?

To start with, organic farming is the need of the hour. What is being considered as a new ways of growing healthier and sturdier crops are actually the traditional methods that were used by our ancestors. The increasing need for more food and the invention of modern equipment, took over the real practise of farming but we now seem to be turning back to our roots.

Kenyan MPs clash with BT researchers over GMO ban

Kenyan MPs on Tuesday clashed with biotechnology researchers over the lifting of the GMO ban.

The law makers dismissed a call to have the ban lifted and called for development of home grown biotechnology solutions rather than imposing “foreign ideologies”.

Our researchers should focus on home grown technologies that address some of the challenges farmers are facing such as aflatoxin, drought tolerant crop varieties and the stem borer pest, said Kenyan Agriculture Parliamentary committee chair Noor Mohammed.

He assured local scientists that as long as they focus on need based research, the committee will lobby the government to allocate more resources.

Organic food sales soar as shoppers put quality before price

LONDON: Demand for organic food is at its highest for more than a decade, according to major retailers.

Thats good news for an industry that was hit hard by the economic downturn but now seems to be returning to rude health as more shoppers say organic food is worth paying the premium for. This week the Soil Association in the UK will release its annual report on the state of the organic food market, which is expected to show that it has grown for the fourth consecutive year.

Meanwhile, Tesco says that organic sales in its stores have risen by 15% in the past year. And the home delivery service Ocado, which stocks more than 3,000 organic products, said sales increased 16% last year.

Excessive pesticide use damaging mango flowers

VISAKHAPATNAM: Even though mango orchards in the district are in full bloom, excessive use of fungicides and pesticides by lease holders is proving to be a threat to the flowers.
According to the latest studies provided by the Andhra Pradesh horticulture department, farmers are using more than three times the volume of pesticides required to keep the insects away.

Tucked away in a tiny village, 154 paddy variants

B.K. Deva Rao has dedicated five acres of his agricultural land in the serene Mittabagilu village of coastal Karnataka to just one purpose preserving different varieties of paddy.

The varieties he preserves have grown over a period of three-and-a-half decades to 154. In his village, about 16 km from Ujire in Dakshina Kannada, Mr. Deva Rao is among a few in the country to take up conservation on such a large scale.

Barcode will trace origin of organic vegetables

Consumers who buy organic farming products will soon be able to trace the origin of the fruits and vegetables. Each organic product will be labelled with a unique barcode ID that will enable a consumer trace the details of the farmer, supplier, production date and other details.

This initiative is part of the organic farming programme launched by Green Leaf India — a group of residents and farmers — and backed by the Gurgaon horticulture department in Garethpur Bass village.

The plan is to tie up with farmers across the country and make their products available to consumers.

Green Leaf India will also launch a website and mobile phone-app using which consumers can buy organic fruits and vegetables. A central office that will track all orders online through a website, which is under process now, will also be launched, a Green Leaf member said.

Community Seed Fair 2017 at Malkangiri & Kandhamal Odisha

Contamination levels show falling trend in Kerala

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As many as 13 of the 50 vegetables available in markets across the State and 11 of the 28 spices and condiments commonly used by households across the State are laced with pesticides, despite the overall downward trend in the contamination of staple edibles.

The 2016 annual report of the Pesticide Residue Research and Analysis Laboratory under Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) reveals the steady fall in the pesticide residue detected in samples of food items, from a high of 18% in 2013 to 8% in 2016.

According to the report published on Wednesday, pesticide residue of various levels was detected in 46 samples of beans, green capsicum, celery, curry leaves, green chilly, ivy gourd, mint leaves, palak leaves, coriander leaves, brinjal, cauliflower, big chilly and cowpea collected from markets across the State over the year.

High usage of pesticides & fertilizers in vegetable farming will make water unpotable

HYDRABAD: Earlier, the drinking water needs of Hyderabad including the Rajendranagar area were met by the twin reservoirs of Osmansagar and Himayatsagar. Whereas, today the water is supplied from Krishna and Godavari rivers.

The reservoir water is getting polluted / contaminated due to high usage of pesticides and fertilizers for the growth of vegetable crops in the mandals of Moinabad, Shabad, Shamshabad and Rajendranagar around upstream and catchment areas of these reservoirs.

Because of which about 84 villages in catchment area of mandal and the other area agriculturists are affected due to want of water for their crops and drinking purpose.

Radha Mohan Singh inaugurates Indian Seed Congress 2017

KOLKATA: The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh spoke about National Farmer Policy of the Union Government and said that the objective of this policy is to accelerate agricultural output, develop infrastructural facilities in the villages, promote value addition, expedite the growth of agro-business, create employment in the rural areas, ensuring better livelihood status of the farmers and agriculture workers and their families, discourage migration to urban areas and face the challenges emerging out of economic liberalization and globalization. Shri Radha Mohan Singh stated this on the inaugural function of Indian Seed Congress 2017, in Kolkata. The theme of Seed Congress is Seed of Joy which is very much in line with vision of this government to bring happiness and prosperity in the lives of farmers by doubling their farm income by 2022.