Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Chamling calls for India to go organic

As the Sikkim Organic Day- 2018 concluded on Thursday, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling said it was high time that the rest of the country and the world realized the importance of organic farming. Citing the rampant use of chemical fertilisers in the rest of the country and the world, which is adversely impacting the fragile ecosystem, the CM added that going organic is the primary way in which global warming can be tackled to a large extent.

2018 as year of millets

On the opening day of the International Trade Fair on Organics and Millets, which is underway in Bengaluru, the government of India declared 2018 as the year of millets, just as the cereal crop gained prominence as a staple and nutritious diet across sections of the society.

Sadananda Gowda, minister of statistics and programme implementation, government of India, made the declaration at the opening ceremony of the three- day event, which concluded on January 21, 2018.

Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah and state agriculture minister Krishna Byre Gowda emphasised their efforts to promote organic crops.

Panga Kodhs have gone back to traditional, organic cropping methods

Im born of this soil. Putting poison in the soil is like poisoning ones parents. Why would I harm myself like this?, says Adi Kumurka. Kumurka belongs to the Panga Kondh indigenous community in Odishas Rayagada district. His community is engaged in mixed organic cropping from traditional seeds. This is the traditional way of farming that his community has practised since untold times. But there was a long gap in between when malnourishment and farmer suicides compelled these traditional farmers to migrate to faraway places to look for jobs. What changed?

The green revolution initiated in India in the 1960s was a shift in agricultural policies and incentives that pushed chemical fertilizers, pesticides and use of bio-engineered seeds. This was done to combat malnourishment. The thinking was that replacing the traditional heirloom seeds with high-yield varieties of staples would produce better, more bounteous crops. The farmers were now required to buy seeds from the government, giving up the age-old practice of saving seeds. Fertilisers, pesticides, tractors, electricity for irrigation as well as seeds continue to be subsidised by the government today, even though the original international backers behind the green revolution have completely changed their position. Today even United Nations reports testify that small scale organic farming is the only way to combat hunger, climate change, and growing malnourishment. More than fifty years on, the promise of the green revolution has turned to ashes. India has documented the largest number of farmer suicides. Farmers are among the most indebted especially to unscrupulous private money lenders as all their inputs from seeds. And malnourishment and hunger are present more than ever.

It is only when the organisation Living Farms entered the scene that the Panga Kondhs could go back to their traditional ways of farming. Adi Kumarka refused to migrate in search of work. Instead, he got heirloom seeds from Living Farms, an organisation committed to reviving traditional farming knowledge to combat malnourishment and famine, with which he started his farm. He grows over a dozen varieties of crops, from vegetables to millets and grains. The method of mixed cropping ensures that losses are minimised even if one crop fails.

Chef cooks tonne of curry to promote organic farming produce

Nagpur (Maharashtra), Jan 21 (ANI): A chef from Maharashtras Nagpur, Vishnu Manohar, cooked a tonne of curry using organic vegetables to help local farmers reach out to a greater market on Saturday. The initiative by the chef, who also holds the Guinness World Record, for the longest cooking marathon, was aimed at generating awareness about organic vegetables and opening new avenues for small farmers practicing organic farming. This is an attempt to provide organic farmers with a market and simultaneously, people should know where they can find them, said Manohar. Organic farming is a form of agriculture which relies on natural inputs in order to sustain the health of soil, ecosystem and living creatures. The organic food and beverages market in India has grown at a stupendous rate in the last decade. However, high price of organic food continues to deter consumers from buying the produce.

Bio-fertiliser plant in Lakhra

Guwahati: Nova Biotech, a city-based private organic fertilizer firm, launched its first organic bio-fertiliser plant here on Friday to help government agencies accomplish the Centre’s target of making the Northeast an organic hub.

The plant with initial capacity to produce 400 metric tonnes (MT) of bio-fertilisers and bio-pesticides was inaugurated at Thapana Path at Lakhra near National Highway 37.

Issues could put the brakes on the BT cotton story

“Open any boll here and you’ll see it’s destroyed,” says Ganesh Shere, a farmer at a village called Jamb in Yavatmal district, about 160 km from Nagpur, in northeast Maharashtra.
He walks along the length of his bone-dry, four-acre cotton field and splits two dozen cotton bolls, with a stone or his fingers, to reveal the damage done by pink bollworms, which have become resistant to the genetically modified (GM) cotton variety he uses.
His yield this year has only been 200 kg, less than 5% of what he produced last year. Shere, a 61-year-old former police sub-inspector, pegs his losses at Rs 2 lakh.

States palmyra products find new takers

Two girls were sitting crouched, keen in what looked like they were in needlework. They were making grow bags for saplings using palm leaves, guided by professional palm tappers from Tuticorin. The girls, K Priyadharshini, 20, and M R Woshambiga, 21, who are pursuing their masters in Tamil in the Shantalinga Adigalar Arts, Science and Tamil College, Perur, were among several youngsters who had come to a workshop on craft-making using palm leaves.
Palm growers and people who run cottage enterprises that make or sell products made from palm leaves – such as pouches, bags and ornamental items – say there is a good demand for such products not only in the state or the country, but also overseas.
Chithra Nambi, director of Swadeshi Palmyrah Industrial Training Institute, Chennai, who trains young women to make products from palm leaves, says this has been the trend for the past three to four years. “Nowadays people are interested in gifts made of palm leaves such as bouquets and ornamental products for marriages and birthdays,” she said.

Israeli tech turned desert into fertile land

AHMEDABAD: The friendship between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, was apparent when they interacted with farmers in Vadrad village of Prantij taluka in Sabarkantha at the Centre of Excellence for Vegetables. Both leaders batted for use of scientific methods to increase farmers’ income.

“We come from a land which was a desert,” the Israeli PM said. “We were farmers at the time of the Bibles. We raised dates, weeds, olives but the land lay barren. We started scientific agriculture and saw our yields increase and water usage go down. We saw crop survival and it survived much longer in storage,” Netanyahu said.
He further said that they had implemented the programme called, Mashav, in many countries but its biggest use was being made here in India.
“We have 20 such centres of excellence and soon we will have 30 such centres,” said the PM of Israel.

Global merger of Bayer CropScience and Monsanto needs Indian approval

The global merger of Bayer CropScience and Monsanto cannot happen unless the Competition Commission of India (CCI) approves their merger in India, according to a top official of Bayer in India.

Richard van der Merwe, Vice-chairman and Managing Director of Bayer CropScience India told reporters here that the rule of approval by CCI applies to all mergers and is not specific to the Bayer-Monsanto deal. He expects the CCI to give the green light by May this year.

Van der Merwe said that if the global merger is brought about without CCI approval, the commission could impose a penalty of one per cent of turnover or assets of the combined entity, whichever is higher. The merged entity needs to seek approvals from 30 jurisdictions, of which it has obtained consent from 14.

Farmers’ pain to end by 2022: Radha Mohan Singh

Big cheers await the agriculture and food sectors in the upcoming budget as union minister Radha Mohan Singh indicated a number of boosting measures are in the pipeline.

“The next budget will see a significant financial boost for farmers under schemes like Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana. Our government aims at doubling the farmers’ income in the next five years, vowing to end their distress by 2022,” the minister for agriculture and farmers welfare said.

Reaping it rich through natural farming

At a time when farmers are wary of treading on conventional farm practices, a progressive farmer who has adapted natural farming is reaping rich dividends.

Arumalla Sambi Reddy, a native of Kunchanpalli village near Tenali, is now growing a variety of vegetables in his farm.

Organic Farming: New weapon in the carbon fight

It is not usual to think of soils in the context of climate change. Policy is usually focussed on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the electricity sector, transport and industry. There has, however, been a renewed interest in understanding how soils can serve as a sink for carbon dioxide since atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have crossed 410 parts per million and oceans are already turning acidic. Besides, increasing soil carbon offers a range of co-benefits and this would buy us time before other technologies can help us transition to a zero-carbon lifestyle.

Significant carbon pools on earth are found in the earths crust, oceans, atmosphere and land-based ecosystems. Soils contain roughly 2,344 Gt (1 gigatonne = 1 billion tonnes) of organic carbon, making this the largest terrestrial pool. Soil organic carbon (SOC) comes from plants, animals, microbes, leaves and wood, mostly found in the first metre or so. There are many conditions and processes that determine changes to SOC content including temperature, rainfall, vegetation, soil management and land-use change.

Approaches to increase SOC include reducing soil erosion, no-till-farming, use of cover crops, nutrient management, applying manure and sludge, water harvesting and conservation, and agroforestry practices. Rattan Lal from Ohio State University estimates that an increase of just 1 tonne of soil carbon pool of degraded cropland soils can increase crop yield by several kilograms per hectare. Moreover, carbon sequestration in soils has the potential to offset GHG emissions from fossil fuels by up to 15% annually. In contrast, it has been estimated that SOC in India has reduced from 30% to 60% in cultivated soils compared with soils that are not disturbed.

3-day organics and millets trade fair from Jan 19

Bengaluru will host Organics and Millets 2018 International Trade Fair from January 19 to 21 at Bangalore Palace to promote organic and millet food.

Talking to reporters, Agriculture Minister Krishna Byregowda said: “Karnataka is a major producer and exporter of organic foods. However, there is an immense potential and opportunities in diversifying the product range to include coconut, pulses, aromatic crops, fruits, and other crops.

“The International Trade Fair will be the forum to explore this potential, and help us meet the growing needs of the future,” he added.

Radha Mohan Singh, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will inaugurate the event.

Organic twist to Sankranti

Patna: Students of various schools and colleges indulged in pre-Makar Sankranti celebrations in a slightly different way at Tarumitra Ashram on Saturday. They ate organic chura (made with rare varieties of rice) along with curd, jaggery and tilkut (sweetmeat prepared with sesame seeds).

Over 100 students from St Xavier’s High School, AN College, Patna University and Don Bosco Academy participated. The celebrations be-gan with participants singing a Mother Earth song followed by a presentation about organic farming at Tarumitra campus and the Dahi-Chura feast.

HP Guv pushes for zero budget natural farming

SHIMLA: A committee would be set up to conduct a study on zero budget natural farming and to submit a detailed report on it, Himachal Pradesh governor Acharya Devvrat said on Tuesday while presiding over a meeting with senior scientists of Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Agriculture University, Palampur, in Kangra district.

Saga of Indian Farmers

Farmers have a distinct place of their own in Indian society; they burn their skin, feed the nation, and yet live a life of poverty and backwardness. They comprise 48% of the total population, so no political party can afford to neglect them. They are remembered at the time of elections with much fanfare and huge number of assurances are given to them for voting . They lack irrigation, finance, marketing skills, storage facility etc for improving their productivity but their high rate of illiteracy makes them content with lollipops they have been enjoying with all humility in the last seventy years of independence. They have very less people to speak on TV channels for their cause. They are glorified with glamorous words like Ann Data, Jai Kisan etc. Their agitations are rustic without any definite goal and are mostly swayed by political parties with their own ends. They have become an example to showcase poverty or extravagant decisions of the Governments. Farmers of India get space in the media either when they commit a suicide or when a politician gets a higher position, in order to justify his credentials he positions himself as the son of a farmer.

Ladakh being promoted as organic region: Dir Agri Kashmir

SRINAGAR: To review the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) in fertilisers for J&K State, Additional Secretary to Department of Fertilisers, Government of India Dharam Pal chaired a high level meeting at New Delhi on Tuesday.

Director Agriculture Kashmir asked the Additional Secretary, Department of Fertilisers, Government of India that extension in the date for completion of installation of POS machines may be given to Kashmir division, which was agreed upon by the additional secretary.
Andrabi informed the meeting that the department is gradually promoting both the districts of Ladakh region as organic districts and efforts were in full swing to minimise the fertiliser supply to these districts.

Denied land, Indian women stake claims in collectives

PALLUR, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Fed up with local officials denying their demand for land, 40 women decided to form a collective and simply start farming a plot near their village of Pallur, in Indias southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Andhra farmers taste success with Zero Budget Natural Farming

The Andhra Pradesh governments unique initiative to improve farmers livelihood through zero budget natural farming (ZBNF) is the right solution to fight climate change in the drought-prone Rayalaseema region.

Districts like Anantapur, Prakasam, Kadapa, Kurnool and Chittoor have traditionally been drought-prone. The only advantage Kurnool has is the occurrence of black cotton soils over a greater portion of the district that can retain moisture for a longer period of time. However, the western part of the district has dry, red soil. There are villages in Kurnool which witness dry spells for over a month. For such villages, ZBNF has come as the right solution.

ZBNF was initially launched in September 2015 under the Centres Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana. Initially, 50 villages across 13 districts of the state were selected for the pilot project. It has been so successful that the government wants to scale it up, according to T Vijay Kumar, who is in charge of the project. Last year during the Kharif season, work started in 704 villages to bring farmers under this practice. There is a plan to cover an estimated 6 million farmers by 2025-26.

Organic farmers claim natural pesticide saved paddy from pests

NAGPUR: Amid paddy growers of east Vidarbha reeling under a major pest attack, some of them who have adopted organic farming claim they could prevent losses in their fields using natural pesticides.
They had gathered at a meet organized in the city by Bijotsav an organization promoting organic agriculture. As each of them spoke about their experiences, the farmers from Gondia and Chandrapur districts claimed to have reaped a rich harvest of paddy this year.

Maha Agro kindles entrepreneurial dream among farmers

Aurangabad: State-level agriculture fair, Maha Agro 2018, saw a glittering conclusion on Monday after an impressive response from farmers in the region.
According to the organisers, an estimated 30,000 people visited the three-day event.
The fair was inaugurated on January 5 by Assembly speaker Haribhau Bagade in presence of dairy development and fisheries development minister Mahadev Jankar and other political and industrial bigwigs.
The event was aimed at developing an entrepreneurial mindset among farmers. Various sessions were held to encourage and guide farmers to venture into agro-processing industry and less explored areas like bamboo plantation, animal husbandry and fishery business.

Vasantholsavam draws huge crowd

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: ‘Vasantholvam 2018’, the state tourism department’s annual flower show being organized at Kanakakkunnu Palace premises is drawing huge crowd including local residents and visitors, thanks to a huge collection of colourful flowers, a large variety of seeds and saplings and presentation of tribal cultures and Kerala’s rich heritage.
The show, which is being held till January 14, is offering a totally different experience to the visitors as it showcases three ‘concept layers’ including tribal life, medicinal plants and honey. The forest department and Haritha Keralam Mission have erected their stalls to make it different from usual flower shows.

New agricultural exports policy is required: Suresh Prabhu

Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Monday that India needs a new agricultural exports policy focussing on enhancing the exports of agricultural products from the country and to increase the incomes of the farmers.

A new agricultural exports policy is required that lays focus on increasing exports of value-added agricultural products so that farmers can access international markets and increase their income, Prabhu said while speaking at the 3rdmeeting of Council of Trade Development and Promotion in New Delhi.

ICAR backs use of cow urine in organic farming

NEW DELHI: Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the autonomous body responsible for co-ordinating agricultural education and research in the country, has put a stamp over the use of cow urine in organic farming.

Under its Network Project on Organic Farming, ICAR observed that cow urine can supplement the nutrient value of the soil and help in the management of insects, pests and diseases under the organic production systems. ICAR evaluated cow urine in different cropping systems.

Modernization of organic facility to gain market share in India and international markets

Ecolife, the organic foods brand of Nature-Bio Foods Limited which is a wholly owned subsidiary of LT Foods, a global Indian food brand with presence across the globe, today announced the modernization and automation of its existing organic facility that it believes will help EcoLife gain more market share in India as well as international markets. The Company already has a diverse organic food portfolio. Nature-Bio Foods Limited has upgraded and modernized its manufacturing facility in Sonepat, Haryana to produce a wide range of organic foods. Mr. Sudhir Rajpal, Principal Secretary, Industries & Commerce, Government of Haryana inaugurated the plant as Chief Guest and Dr. A.K. Yadav, Advisor (NAB), Organic, APEDA graced the occasion as the Guest of Honour.
Nature Bio Foods Limited is working with more than 80,000 farmer families across 15 states in India to produce organic food products & ingredients. The facility has processing facilities and quality control processes.