Archive for the ‘News’ Category

10% organic fertilizer production to be made mandatory

The Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog or National Cow Commission will suggest the new government at the Centre to make it mandatory for companies like KRIBHCO and IFFCO to manufacture 10 per cent bio-fertilizers from cow dung and cow urine out of their total annual production.

It will also propose incentives for private fertilizer companies for producing bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides from the cow dung and cow urine.

TN woman’s revolution gives women farmers millets to battle climate change!

Malnutrition, depleting groundwater & unstable incomes — thanks to Sheelu Francis, 30000 families are using millets to tackle all these three problems together!

A faint yellow bulb lights up a corner of Prathima’s kitchen. Sitting cross-legged near the stove, the mother of two roasts the last chapati she has rolled out. Today, her children will have to eat just half of their usual meal.

It isn’t a pleasant thought for a mother who along with her husband, had spent several months toiling in a plot of land, sowing seeds, spraying pesticides, and praying, that the rains showed mercy on her small Tamil Nadu village.

Last year was quite difficult for Prathima’s family, and now, they are up to their necks in debt. But what else can a farmer’s family do but strive through it all?

This is not just Prathima’s story. It is the story of hundreds of farmers like her, whose livelihoods depend solely on cash crops like cotton and rice.

AP Farmers asked to adopt novel measures

Srikakulam: Farmers need to adopt novel measures in cultivation of crops, suggested principal secretary to Andhra government for agriculture B Rajasekhar. Participating in an awareness programme on ‘Emerging techniques in farming sector’ held here on Monday, he appealed to farmers to adopt organic farming to protect soil health.

Farmers need to adopt mechanisation process to get good yields with a smaller number of workers and investment, he said and added mechanisation would also save precious time and farmers can catch up seasonal changes quickly with this process.

Kerala turns hot destination for organic product firms

KOCHI: In Kerala, the demand for organic products is on the rise and a lot of companies, including agri startups, are making a beeline to the state with their products to cash in on the demand. Right from vegetables to coconut oil, products under the organic label are hitting the market. The competition has become so intense that the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) is also foraying into the Kerala market with a wide range of organic products.

Already, the state government has given an impetus to promoting organic foods by opening over 100 organic shops in the past three years. “NAFED is rolling out the organic products nationally and Kerala is one of our key markets. All our products will be certified for authenticity and quality,” said NAFED (Kochi) manager Abinesh Bose.

How a Vegan Chocolate Is Empowering Local Women in Tamil Nadu!

Mahalaxmi sits with three other women sorting though the cocoa beans spread before them. Their brows are furrowed in concentration. A bean is chucked into the bin; too small. The other meets the same fate; too flat, a few others—broken. All these imperfect beans are eliminated from the small heap till the women are left with the richest sample at hand.

This sample of 300-odd cocoa beans will determine whether the gunny bags they fill adhere to the quality standards set by Mason & Co—a vegan, organic chocolate company in Tamil Nadu.

Started in 2014, Mason & Co is a tad different from most chocolatiers in India. Apart from the guarantee of their product being organic and vegan, the company sources all the raw materials from local farmers and empowers local women through employment.

It took just one acre to grow faith in organic farming

Cotton farmers in M.P. are getting higher yields at lower input costs

An innovative project aimed at promoting cotton cultivation the organic way, by replacing chemical pesticides and fertilisers with environment-friendly manures and sprays, is bringing rich dividends for cotton farmers of Madhya Pradesh.

Dasrath Patil, 50, like most inhabitants of Jobni village, comes of farming stock. The 700-plus population of this village in Sausar Tehsil, 63 km away from district headquarters Chhindwara, have been tilling their land for generations. Dasrath grows fruits like mango, pomegranate and papaya but the major kharif crop on his 16 acres is cotton, which he has been cultivating for years.

Vandana Shiva urges decisive move toward organic farming

We are already a water-challenged planet. As global climate change continues, we are likely to become more so, according to Vandana Shiva, a noted environmentalist.

Shiva was this year’s Adlai Stevenson lecture series speaker at Illinois Wesleyan and Illinois State universities.

Shiva said civilization requires water, during a conversation on GLT’s Sound Ideas.

Melting ice at the poles and at the fourth pole in the Himalayas, she said, will raise sea levels, dislocating coastal populations and altering rainfall patterns.

Women are championing the fight against climate change

To fight the extreme climate change affecting India, including rising temperatures and irregular rains, these women have been ideating and implementing different strategies across the country.

According to the Economic Survey 2018-19, farm revenues have declined for a number of crops despite increasing production, and market prices falling below the Minimum Support Price (MSP). It also states that the projected long-term weather patterns indicate a reduction in annual agricultural incomes between 15 and 18 percent on average, and up to 20 and 25 percent for non-irrigated areas.

Determined to solve these issues, farmers and entrepreneurs in this sector have been improving their farming methods, making their crops more adaptable to the changing climate.

Making woman the nutrition champion in rural homes through NRLM

Making woman the champion fighter against malnutrition in her home and in society,  and recognising the key role that enhanced livelihood plays in providing nutrition, millions of women across rural India have been made part of Self Help Groups and are involved in varied activities like organic farming, or as Mahila Kisans, Pashu Sakhis – thanks to the Rural Development Ministry’s Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM).

DAY-NRLM seeks to reach out to rural poor households and organise one woman member from each household into women Self Help Groups and federations at the village level and above.

Indian Superhero who is changing the lives of farmers

Twenty-eight-year-old Divya Shetty is Co-founder of Indian Superheroes, which works towards eliminating middlemen, and ensuring a fair price to farmers. The company also manufactures sustainable stationery out of recycled paper that can be grown into plants after use.

Farmer in the city

The early morning sun lights up several shades of green at SLV Krishivihaar, BK Bhavya’s expansive organic farm. She is caressing the tender stalks, as if waking them up gently. Shaking off the morning dew from a bunch of freshly-plucked leaves, Bhavya holds out the four kinds of greens that she grows in 12 huge patches in her two-acre field at Nettigere, off Kanakapura Main Road.

Changing trends in the Indian organic food industry

Ceaseless utilization of synthetic concoctions and composts, bringing about low-quality nourishment with an unsafe effect on human wellbeing, has constrained individuals to locate an elective arrangement, which is healthy and natural. In a previous couple of years, organic products have increased huge ubiquity as the millennial age is progressively getting to be mindful of the geniuses appended to being healthy. The dread of capitulating to sicknesses has enormously driven a union where individuals have begun changing to more beneficial nourishment choices.

Notwithstanding the medical advantages, natural organic products is delivered by the technique of organic farming which is sustainable for the environment without any compromise in the product quality. The conventional methods of farming usually affect the surroundings with the use of synthetic chemicals. The fact that organic farming methods abandon the use of synthetic chemicals makes this practice environment-friendly.

Mysuru man with lung ailment grows 20+ veggies in award-winning garden!

A few years ago, when Mysuru-based Professor (retd) Rudraradhya had trouble breathing, he was rushed to the hospital.

Tests revealed a lung disorder, and the doctors told him that he would have to rely on using two oxygen cylinders every day. He was also advised to not exert himself or step out of the comfort of his home and was bed-ridden for close to three months.

The man had retired after an illustrious career as a professor from the University of Agricultural Sciences, 14 years ago. The one-acre integrated farming model that he propagated and demonstrated at the Agricultural Research Station of Bavikere (Tarikere) in Shimoga district of Karnataka, helped hundreds of small and marginal farming become self-sufficient and make farming sustainable and profitable even with a small landholding.

How could he be confined to a bed and be forced to live life in a manner he did not choose?

“This was when I took up terrace gardening,” he recalls in an interview with The Better India.

Ex-investment banker starts farm to grow residue-free fruits, now earns lakhs from exports!

It is always fascinating and in some ways motivating when you see real life people give up a lifestyle that most people aspire for, in exchange for the hard yards of farming. Natura Farms, the brainchild of 30-year-old Navdeep Golecha, is an innovative farm with 12,500 Pomegranate, 7500 Papaya and 200 Lemon trees.Started in 2015, the farm’s goal was to grow pesticide-free fruits which it continues to uphold. Navdeep’s story of transition from working in a glass cubicle in the UK as an investment banker, to the heat and dust of his farmland in India needs to be heard.

In this exclusive interview with The Better India (TBI), Navdeep speaks about his early years, his time as a student in UK, his return to India, shift from the family business to horticulture, and the motivation behind it all.

Bihar IITian builds one-stop shop that helps 65,000+ farmers!

Born into a family of farmers in Chhapra district, Bihar, Shashank Kumar, didn’t know if he would ever come back home. Studying in a local school until Class 3, he was eventually compelled to leave the state for better academic and professional opportunities.

Today, the agritech startup he founded, DeHaat, is serving over 65,000 farmers in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Odisha. It helps them connect with agricultural input suppliers and buyers for their produce.

Where bees help farmers grow

One of biggest village in a cluster of 49 and right at the edge of northwest Delhi bordering Haryana, Qutubgarh, according to its residents, has changed for the better since it has witnessed the “honey revolution”.

At 82, Umed Singh Rana has aced the art of giving interviews to news channels and researchers who have been visiting his farm in north-west Delhi’s Qutubgarh village since November 2018. Rana’s was among 10 families who were given 100 bee rearing boxes by Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and New Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi.

One of biggest village in a cluster of 49 and right at the edge of northwest Delhi bordering Haryana, Qutubgarh, according to its residents, has changed for the better since it has witnessed the “honey revolution”.

Rattled by farmer suicides & health issues, Telangana village turns 250 acres organic

Enabavi became one of the first villages in Telangana, apart from Punukula in the Khammam district, to turn fully organic, entirely giving up the use of chemical pesticides, fertilisers, and genetically modified crops.

Up until two decades ago, Telangana (then a part of undivided Andhra Pradesh) was a hotbed for farmer suicides. Chemical farming, one of the perils of the Green Revolution, was rampant at the time.

While Guntur ranked first in the unrestrained use of pesticides, Warangal ranked second. This excessive dependence on chemicals not only increased the yearly cost of production per acre, but also resulted in crop failure due to increased pest resistance.

How Tamil Nadu’s towns are scripting the new startup story

Singara Chennai is home to several prominent entrepreneurs.

But the spirit of entrepreneurship in Tamil Nadu is not limited to the capital city alone. Interesting startups with great potential are emerging from Tier II and Tier III cities and even though they may not be garnering the media attention as their metro-city counterparts, they sure are ones to keep an eye out for.

YourStory presents some such startups from Tamil Nadu.

Organic farming ensures safer, healthier world: Expert

Organic food is not prepared using chemical fertilizers. It does not contain any traces of chemicals and thus does not affect the human body in negative ways. This apart, organic food is tastier than conventional food and they are usually directly picked from farms and are fresh, said retired Professor A Mahakud, while addressing the audience at a workshop on safe food and organic farming organised by Vision Eco-Farm and Living Farms here.

Prof Mahakud, who also practices organic farming, added that as harmful chemicals are not used in organic farming, there is minimal soil, air, and water pollution. Thus it ensures environmental safety and a safer and healthier world for future generations to live in.

Battling antibiotic resistance on Madhya Pradesh’s agenda

Following in Kerala’s footsteps, Madhya Pradesh, India’s second largest state will roll out its action plan on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) containment with emphasis on treatment of hospital effluents and restricting the use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry.

In the central Indian state, initiatives for AMR containment, aligned with the country’s national action plan and global action plan on antimicrobial resistance, are already in action, including an Indo-Swedish collaboration on antibiotic stewardship on infection prevention and control and wastewater treatment.

Nature dictates the outcome

There is always resistance to change. Jeevaram, a farmer in Sutrapada village of Gir Somanath district, Gujarat, faced the typical dilemma of whether to go in for zero-budget organic farming or stick to using chemical fertilisers and pesticides. He was apprehensive about this new concept. Should he take the risk when the cotton crop he had grown was totally destroyed by the pink bollworm?

Jeevaram and his three younger brothers own 16 bighas of land where they grow wheat, groundnut, cotton and seasonal vegetables. When representatives of the GHCL Foundation working with farmers in the Sutrapada block approached him in 2015, he and other farmers were reluctant to go organic.

To encourage them, the Foundation offered 90 per cent subsidy on organic manure, bio pesticides and fodder, with supplementary nutrition, as well as saplings for horticulture. It also arranged training for farmers to prepare their own organic manure and bio pesticides. It took Jeevaram almost a year to make up his mind. Ultimately, he decided to go for it.

Today, his farm has become a model for others to emulate as he reaps the benefits of organic farming.

Affordable organic initiatives gain momentum in UAE

In a bid to feed the growing demand for organic produce among families in the UAE, enthusiasts are working tirelessly to establish initiatives to get their fruits and vegetables from sources other than the supermarkets.

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of consuming ethically-farmed produce, and are not depending on mainstream retailers to provide them with the same. Two independent initiatives – FarmChimp and Naturebeatz – began as small, online projects that sell only rice, wild honey, and a small bag of vegetables to a group of friends a few years ago. However, these projects have now grown into successful e-commerce SMEs driven by social media, providing to nearly 7,000 families living in the UAE.

Au natural

Chandigarh’s organic produce markets have grown into effective forums for farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and further afield

Wellness has a peculiar way of reaching out to you from the most unlikely of places. This time, it was peeking out from a confined space between upcycled cloth jewellery and studio pottery at a pop-up of women apparel and accessories.

Laid out on a table was a sample array of millet, horse gram, raw turmeric and ragi. Manning it was Ashreen Minocha, a young farmer advocating the adoption of organic produce as a step towards a healthier lifestyle. Over bite-sized pieces of bajra and carrot cake that she offered me, I learnt about her work at Kudarti, an eight-year-old venture she took over from her father a year ago.

Since November last, organic produce from her farm in Raipur Rani, availability of which is shared on a WhatsApp group, is delivered to a steadily swelling community of customers on a weekly basis. On offer are seasonal vegetables, greens, fruit, pulses and grains.

Transforming unused spaces into live food gardens, this Mumbai startup is showing the way to go organic

Food is not grown the way it used to be. Vegetables, grains, and fruits are liberally doused with chemicals and fertilizers, and consuming them has only led to an increased rate of cancer, and other deadly diseases across the world.

In India too, there has been a rising concern about the quality of food produced. And this has led to a slow but increasing demand for organic food. The organic food market in the country is estimated at Rs 1,500 crore, and is expected to double to Rs 3,000 crore in the next three years.

To address this growing concern and need to eat healthy, and help citizens consume healthy food, Linesh Narayan Pillai (46) co-founded Urban Green Fate (UGF) Farms in 2017.

Systemic transformation in agriculture must put the farmer at the centre

Arunabha Ghosh

I spent international women’s day in Mangalagiri, in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, with Usha Rani. As a single mother for 17 years, she has raised two children (now in second-year college and in high school). Three years ago, she switched to natural farming. On less than half an acre, she practises multicropping, growing maize, banana, moringa, turmeric, chilli, gourd and guava. The products fetch her a premium in Vijayawada, up to two-and-a-half times per unit compared to what she would earn if the crops had been grown with chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Her input costs have fallen by half to a quarter. Usha has also taken a loan of more than Rs 100,000 to build a store from where to sell her inoculants of natural fertilisers and pesticides. Her income (including from the shop) is nearly five times what she earned from conventional farming.