Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Request K Chandrasekhar Rao to look into organic farming: Kalvakuntla Kavitha

Hyderabad: Heavy usage of pesticides is a major issue across Telangana state and India and the government has to incentivise production of organic food to counter it, said MP Kalvakuntla Kavitha at the valedictory function of ‘Women of India Organic Festival’ at Shilparamam on Sunday.

The Nizamabad MP said, “I want to request union minister Maneka Sanjay Gandhi to ensure that Central government incentives reach small and marginal farmers. Organic farming has to be taken up like a movement on a large scale.”

‘More crop per drop’ should be mantra: Vice President

New Delhi, Feb 11 Vice President Venkaiah Naidu Monday emphasised on the importance of sustainable agriculture as a part of sustainable development and said more efficient systems of irrigation with “more crop per drop” mantra should be used .

Speaking at the inauguration of the three-day World Sustainable Development Summit 2019 here, he said, “There is a need to make use of the endless possibilities of biotechnology and nanotechnology to develop a range of green products, including nano-fertilisers.”

How Can Agritourism Transform Rural India?

Recently, I got an opportunity to attend a three-day certificate training program on agritourism at the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, Noida. It was a wonderful experience to learn about the relevance and scope of agriculture tourism in India.

Agritourism is a novel concept in the Indian tourism sector, which provides vast opportunities for tourists to experience the authentic ethnic culture of rural societies and actively engage in agricultural activities. Agriculture and its allied activities, which can be harnessed to promote agritourism may include organic farming, floriculture, sericulture, pisciculture, apiculture, medicinal plantation, pottery, so on and so forth.

15-yr boy’s millet Youtube videos will make you healthy while helping farmers

When I was in Class 10, all that I was worried about was passing my board exams with a good percentage, and fortunately, things worked out in my favour.

When I look back on those days, I realise that my life rarely stretched beyond the school-tuitions-exams routine.

In sharp contrast, many of today’s driven youngsters are an inspired (and inspiring) lot. They attend school, but also utilise their spare time to come up with fantastic initiatives which make an impact.

Bengaluru boy Arka Pudota is one amongst them.

The 15-year-old has embarked on a mission to bring back millets to the mainstream by raising awareness about their consumption and production.

2019 Budget ignored organic farming: Environmentalist

Faridkot: At the time of growing momentum toward sealing an ambitious deal to save the environment, soil health and larger issue of food security in a sustainable manner, India’s interim Budget for the coming financial year, presented by Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday, admitted the need for organic farming, but environmentalists said it was more of a lip service rather than pointing to some concrete steps and appropriate allocations to promote sustainable agriculture in the country.

“Funding for the organic farming sector in 2019 Union Budget has been decreased from Rs 360 crore to Rs 325 crore. Even out of Rs 360 crore allocated in the last budget, the government could spend only Rs 300 crore to promote organic agriculture,” said Kiran Kumar Vissa, an IIT alumnus and national co-convener of the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA).

TN organic farmer-scientist

From growing 17 ratoon cane crops to selling branded jaggery and flattened rice flakes, V Antony Samy shows what farming for the future can be

Sugarcane, unlike most crops, yields not one, but two or even more harvests. The first one is the cane that grows from the seed (basically stem cuttings or “setts”), which is planted and harvested in about 12 months. But there is also a “ratoon” crop that sprouts from the leftover stubble of the harvested “plant-cane” and matures earlier within 11 months. In Uttar Pradesh, farmers take one ratoon in addition to the regular plant-cane, while their Maharashtra or Tamil Nadu counterparts generally harvest up to two ratoons.

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Viyagappa Antony Samy from Puliyangudi in Sivagiri taluk of Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district is an extraordinary farmer. The 1943-born fourth-standard pass claims to have grown 17 ratoons – including the crop now in the field – from the ‘Co 86032’ sugarcane variety that he originally planted on a seven-acre plot in 2003. Further, his average cane yields, at 62 tonnes per acre, is way above the corresponding 30 tonnes figure for all-India and 42 tonnes of Tamil Nadu. And he is a 100 per cent organic agriculturist to boot.

‘Green’ masala brand is helping 2000+ farmers, students in Pune manage their waste

An endeavour that began as the CSR initiative of a spice-manufacturing brand has resulted in helping over 900 farmers and 1500 students rethink waste management strategies.

Anand Chordia, the Director of Suhana Spices, a popular spice brand, has started India’s first Waste Management Park in Pune.

He has done this with the aim of bringing together sustainability and urban farming with the collective goal of managing waste at its source.

Six months after floods, Kerala’s farm sector makes a come back

Six months after a devastating deluge washed away thousands of hectares of land parcels—under cultivation of all kinds of agriculture crops including paddy and banana, vegetables and plantations crops like coffee, cocoa, coconut, tea, rubber, cardamom, pepper and other spices—that ruined the life and livelihood of thousands of farmers, Kerala’s agriculture sector is now on a road to remarkable  recovery.

The deadly deluge that left a trail of destruction had almost crippled the state’s agriculture production. As per official figures (conservative), 3.14 lakh farmers suffered huge losses of over Rs 2,000 crore as close to 60,000 hectares of cropped area was fully destroyed in the floods during July-August last year.

US organic farming advocate Enid Wonnacott dies at 57

Enid Wonnacott, longtime executive director of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont and a deeply committed advocate for organic farming and the agricultural community at large, died Saturday morning at her home in Huntington surrounded by family and close friends.
Wonnacott, who was 57, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. In early October of last year, she stepped down from the position she had held for more than 31 years due to progression of the cancer. News of her death was confirmed by Kim Mercer of NOFA-VT, who said plans to honor Wonnacott are still being determined.

ICAR launches national agricultural higher education project (NAHEP)

New Delhi: Skilled human resources in agriculture must become the basis of agricultural advancement and in view of this, the Modi government has given special emphasis on the upliftment of agricultural education. This was stated by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh while addressing inaugural function of the fourth Convention of 2-day “Agrivision-2019” organized by Vidyarthi Kalyan Nyas in Pusa, New Delhi.

The Minister said that in order to make agriculture education useful, the recommendations of the 5th Dean Committee have been implemented in all the Agricultural Universities under which amendment of agricultural degree courses has been done to include biotechnology, information technology, bio-informatics, remote sensing, organic farming, agriculture business management etc. Emphasis has been given on experiential learning, skill and entrepreneurship development. Along with this, four new programs, B.Tech (Biotechnology), B.Sc. Community Science, B.Sc. Food Nutrition and Dietetics and B.Sc. Sericulture have also been included.

After Darjeeling tea, Darjeeling coffee is the next big thing

The North East of India, with its rolling hills and verdant plantations, has long been synonymous with tea. Coffee – that dark, moody brew, lightened with milk, and frothed to perfection by rigorous pouring and mixing – largely remained a South Indian phenomenon, with most of the plantations located in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. But as the Indian economy opened up, global café chains such as Costa Coffee and Starbucks set up shop and took coffee to various parts of the country.

They were followed by entrepreneurs who rode the artisanal wave and introduced Indians to pourovers and Chemex. And now, in the North East too, there is a silent coffee storm brewing, thanks to a handful of cafes, roasters, government-backed guilds and organic farmers, who are betting big on locally-grown coffee.

Hyderabad Man Develops App That Helps 1,17,000 Farmers Get Better Yield!

In December 2016, Hyderabad-based Naveen Kumar decided to travel to his hometown Hanamkonda in Warangal. Little did the founder of ‘ApnaLoanBazar,’ (an online retail loan aggregation platform) know, this trip would change his life.

Speaking to The Better India, he recalls, “The incident is clear in my head. A farmer was found dead. He had committed suicide by consuming pesticide after being cheated by a dealer who sold him adulterated cotton seeds, for a profit of Rs 300. And while the crop had grown in all its beauty, it failed to yield anything. With no option to recover the loss or repay the cost incurred for the crop, the farmer took the drastic step of killing himself.

“To me, it was an absolute shocker that a measly profit of Rs 300 had costed a farmer’s life. It wasn’t the only one. In hushed whispers, every day the news of farmer suicides in the nearby villages would travel to ours.”

Retired TN banker sells home to turn barren land into model organic farm!

When most people around him were selling their land to invest in homes and migrate to cities, 63-year-old Senthamil Selvan made a different choice.

The banker with an illustrious 36-year-old career opted for voluntary retirement, sold his home in Katpadi for Rs 40 lakh and bought a three-acre land.

150 km away from Chennai, nestled in the village of Kalampattu, located in Vellore, is Arivu Thottam, the lush green model farm that this retired banker built.

This farm has over 110 coconut trees, 90 mango trees, 25 chiku trees, 33 lemon trees, a banana plantation and a dedicated horticulture space where brinjals, tomatoes, chillies and a variety of greens are grown. It has attracted over 150 farmers, parent groups and 2,000 school and college students.

Among Padma awardees: farmers, gau sevaks, doctors

At a time agrarian issues have taken centre stage in the country’s politics, the central government has announced Padma awards for 12 farmers, including two women, from nine states. Kamala Pujhari, Rajkumari Devi, Babulal Dahiya and Hukumchand Patidar have been conferred the prestigious award for conserving old, traditional seeds and promoting organic farming.

Kamala Pujhari has been preserving local varieties of paddy and promoting organic farming in Odisha. Known as ‘Kisan Chachi’, Rajkumari Devi has been helping the rural population with tips on kitchen farming and developing agro-based products for business. Bharat Bhushan Tyagi, Ram Saran Verma and Venkateswara Rao Yadlapalli adopted technology and scientific methods in cultivation. Two other farmers were selected for work in animal husbandry.

From MBA to organic farmer, earns Rs 7-10 lakh yearly!

You often come across parents who proudly say that my son is an engineer, a doctor, a professor, a civil servant. But there are only a few who would proudly exclaim, ‘My son is a farmer. And I am proud of him.’ My parents do that for me every single day,” beams 25-year-old organic farmer Amogh S Jagthap.

As a child, Amogh recalls how his weekends were spent happily at a farmhouse his father bought in 2004. About 100 km from the chaos of the city, in Mandya district, this farmhouse is tucked away on a 20-acre plot.

From successful engineer in USA to organic farmer in Kothagudem district

KHAMMAM: At a time when more and more youngsters are turning away from agriculture, engineer-turned-farmer Devarapalli Harikrishna’s story stands out as a beacon of hope. As a software engineer, the 37-year-old has worked both in India and the United States.

Now, he is a successful farmer creating wonders in the field of organic farming in the tiny village of Mandalapalli in Bhadradrikothagudem.

TN organic farmer uses aquatic fern to increase paddy cultivation by 35%!

Mounting debts and land turning unsuitable for agriculture after being doused with chemical fertilisers!

While it may seem like the Indian farmer’s dependence on chemicals helps increase productivity in the short term, consequences, in the long run, are irreparable.

Besides, the cost of these chemical fertilisers continues to burn holes in their pockets.

But one organic farmer from Tamil Nadu has proven how Azolla (considered a weed in most parts of the world) can effectively be used as a bio-fertiliser to increase the production of paddy by 30 to 40 per cent.

Saudi, UAE may cut Indian agri imports on quality issues, $2.6 bn at stake

At a time when the government is emphasising on the need for increasing agriculture exports, there is a threat of the $2.6-billion Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) markets lowering imports from India due to the contravention of quality standards.

Both countries contribute $1.3 billion each to India’s $40-billion annual agri exports; out of which, products registered with the Agricultural and Produce Exports Development Authority (APEDA) account for a 50 per cent share.

Agri-marketing: DTH from Farm

The ultimate dream for any farmer is to sell his produce directly to consumers for a maximum retail price fixed by him. There are some in Punjab trying to realise this utopia. Tarsem Singh turned full-time farmer in 2008, after retiring as principal of a government senior secondary school.

Sugarcane farmers struggle to cope with climate change

Jaikumar Gouda of Khavatakoppa village in Belgaum district of Karnataka is a worried man. Just 10 to 15 years ago, he used to harvest 80 to 90 tonnes of sugarcane per acre, which has now slumped to 40. Variable rainfall, prolonged dry spells and frequent droughts influenced by climate change are affecting the lives of Gouda and other sugarcane farmers in Karnataka and Maharashtra in western India.

The erratic monsoon in 2018 characterised by long dry spells, followed by short spells of heavy rainfall, has affected sugarcane cultivation in Belgaum, Bagalkot, Mandya, Bijapur and Haveri districts of Karnataka and Kolhapur, Ahmednagar, Pune, Sangli and Satara districts of Maharashtra.

“During drought years, sugarcane area and production are going down drastically. Now it has become a routine feature in the tropical climatic zones of coastal Karnataka and Maharashtra,” says Sanjay Patil, Sugarcane Breeder and Principal Scientist and Head, Agriculture Research Station (ARS), Sankeshwar, Karnataka. “During the drought years to maintain the sugarcane crop is quite tough in a situation where groundwater is depleting extensively.”

With 35+ Varieties of Veggies, MP Couple Grows Organic Paradise on Terrace

Until about four years ago, Archana Bhargava, a resident of Bhopal, had never engaged in gardening. Furthermore, she had no idea about how to pursue it in the limited confines of her home.

Today, if you visit her, you will be astonished to see a terrace that is replete with several varieties of vegetables—local and exotic—fruits, herbs and even spices!

The bounty includes radish, ladies’ finger, bitter gourd, pumpkin, carrot, beans, spinach, fenugreek, tomato, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, knol khol (wild cabbage), chaulai (amaranth), bathua (pigweed), lettuce, coriander, mint, sweet potatoes and fruits like pomegranate, strawberries, grapes, sweet lime, and figs.

The best part is that everything is organically grown!

UP farmers reduced their carbon footprint by 22 lakh kilos

Several parts of North India continue to move towards the red zone of the air quality index, majorly due to stubble burning. A commonly used method, it involves intentionally setting fire to the straw stubble remains of crops, after the harvest is complete. Due to its adverse effects on the environment, it was banned by the state governments of Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.

While sections of farmers continue to protest against the ban, claiming that the alternative options are not effective enough, farmers in Meerut have proved them wrong.

As reported by The Hindu, in the last two years, more than 250 farmers from 50 villages in western Uttar Pradesh have successfully prevented the release of almost 2,250,000 kg of carbon dioxide using an environment-friendly method of making organic manure from sugarcane leaves and paddy waste.

This unique alternative is the Lalit-Raman (L-R) Model, which was designed by two friends, Lalit Tyagi and Raman Kant.

Nepal organic tea farmers deprived of state facilities

Organic tea farmers in Dhankuta, Nepal complained that they were deprived of state facilities as per the government’s plan.

The farmers said it has been eight years, but the Nepal government has yet to provide them organic fertiliser and subsidised loan, among others. They added that local farmers had been financially burdened after the government did not provide incentives for organic tea farming.

A local farmer Nil Bahadur Ghimire of Dhankuta Municipality said they were compelled to search for other alternatives as they could not run their families selling organic tea. He said there were three industries in Dhankuta. “Organic farmers are facing  problems as the government has yet to determine the price of organic and chemical tea,” he added.

Andhra to setup global knowledge centre on natural farming

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu  announced setting up of a global knowledge centre on natural farming at Amaravati, which could be a leading centre in the world in promoting natural farming that would take on the climate change to the benefit of humanity. He invited experts in the field to guide the his government in this endeavour for the benefit of humanity at large.

The zero budget natural farming (ZBNF), which is also known as organic farming, is slowly catching all over world, Naidu said and added that but in India, it is spreading fast due to the initiative taken by the AP government. He said in India the organic farming registered the growth of 0.6 per cent while the world average is 0.5 per cent and the Asian average is only 0.3 per cent.

Ways through which farmers’ income can be increased

The aim of the Modi government is to diagnose the problem of farmers and make arrangements for increasing their income. Therefore, the government is not indulging them in adopting populist schemes. For example, in 2008, the slogan of agricultural debt waiver was given, but only Rs. 52, 500 crore of loans were waived off from the eligible debt of Rs 5 to 6 lakh crore, whose actual benefit only a few farmers could get. Most of the benefits went to the rich farmers who had no concern with farming.

It is clear that farmers cannot be benefited with agricultural debt waiver. So, by looking at the negative consequences of agricultural debt waiver, the government is avoiding populist schemes of agricultural debt waiver. The government wants a strong initiative to increase the income of the farmers.

According to the Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, the Modi government has been trying to increase the income of farmers for the last 4 years. The government is considering alternatives to which the difference between the minimum support price (MSP) and the market value can be sent directly to the bank accounts of the farmers. According to Singh, before 2014, the MSP of many crops was about 10 to 15 per cent less than the cost of production, but due to the increase in the financial burden, previous government did not pay attention to increasing MSP, while the Modi government increased the MSP as well as taking concrete steps to increase the procurement of produce.