Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Acclaim for votary of organic farming

A city-based farmer has won a coveted national award in recognition of his efforts to promote organic farming with less-known techniques.

Sixty-year-old R. Raveendran of Kochulloor is one of the five farmers who have been selected for the prestigious IARI Fellow Farmer Award 2017, instituted by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) that functions under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. He was presented the award by Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Parsottam Rupala at the Krishi Unnathi Mela-2017 held in New Delhi a week ago.

An automobile engineer by qualification, Mr. Raveendran has been selected for the award for his unparalleled achievement in farming in which he has developed a model in terrace gardening with paddy, vegetables and fruit crops.

Puthimari Bapubheti farmers set an example in organic farming

Tezpur, March 26: At a time when high-pesticide laced agricultural produce from across the State, including Lalpul, Sikunmati, Bechimari and Kharupetia areas of Darrang district, is flourishing in the vegetable market, thereby creating health concerns, the farmers of Puthimari Bapubheti and its adjoining areas have been able to create records with production of organic vegetables on the bank of the River Brahmaputra under the Bihaguri development block in Sonitpur district.

Punjab Agri Export Corporation, TrendyBharat signs MOU to promote organic products

New Delhi [India], Mar 27 (ANI): Punjab Agri Export Corporation Ltd. (PAGREXCO) has signed an MOU for an Exclusive Alliance for Ecommerce Enablement of PAGREXCO in association with Under this agreement, will market, promote and sell Punjab Agro’s organic products across India and overseas.

EU nations vote against GM crops

A majority of EU countries voted on Monday against allowing two new genetically modified crops to be grown in Europe, batting the contentious decision on GM cultivation in Europe back to the EU executive, according to two sources. EU governments were asked to vote on the future of two grades of GM maize, Pioneers 1507 and Syngentas Bt11, which kill insects by producing their own pesticide and are also resistant to a particular herbicide.

However, the votes against were not decisive in blocking their introduction because the opposition did not represent a qualified majority also including countries that make up at least 65 percent of the EU population. The governments were also asked to determine whether to extend authorisation for Monsantos MON810, an insect-resistant maize that is grown mainly in Spain, but banned in a number of other counties. More countries voted against than in favour, but again the vote was not considered decisive.

Chhattisgarh earmarks Rs 574 cr for organic farming

Subsidy worth Rs 4,227.42 crore related to agriculture, animal husbandry, horticulture, water resource, bio-technology and religious trust endowment departments for fiscal year 2017-18 was approved on Monday in the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly.

Agriculture Minister Brijmohan Agrawal said that National Krishi Mela is being organized since last two years with the objective of doubling the income of farmers, under the scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Organic Farming Mission has also been started to promote organic farming in the State. Agriculture and Horticulture Department has chalked out Five-Year Action Plan worth Rs 574 crore for implementation of this Mission in the State, he said.

Centre to have model organic village in all Punjab districts

AMRITSAR: Taking a step towards ecofriendly living, the Union government has initiated a project to make a model organic village in every district of Punjab to promote organic farming, beginning with the villages adopted by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs.

The assistant director of Regional Centre of Organic Farming, R S Harish Srivathsa, told TOI on Friday that they have begun the process of making clusters of farmers interested to adopt ecofriendly farming. He said the model organic village would set a precedent for others to follow.

Skill development training program on organic farming organised by CSIR

Lamphelpat, March 22: The North Eastern states Manipur in particular, where comparatively very less amount of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are used for agriculture, has immense potential for organic farming, Agriculture experts reiterated.

But to lack of awareness about organic food, its certification and marketing of the produce, the region which has the enough potential to carve a niche in the organic foods market, is still yet to come forward.

Otherwise the region will achieve a lot in organic food market across the globe not to speak of improving the socio-economy condition of the people. This was conveyed by Agriculture experts during a day long skill development training program on organic farming organized by CSIR: North East Institute of Science & Technology, Branch laboratory, here on Saturday.

No Name Calling Please, Give Us Evidence Which Proves GM Crops Are Safe

By Viva Kermani

Shanthu Shantharam has called my article on the problems with genetically modified seed and crop “half-baked” and in “total ignorance”. While my article, Lets be honest about GM crops was published by Swarajya on 23 February 2017, Shantharam’s ill-tempered rejoinder was appeared titled “Genetically-Modified Crops Are The Future: Here’s Why”.
Swarajya and Shantharam, himself, have presented his qualifications as being those of a scientist, however, his marked reluctance to confront the substance of the points I raised in Lets be honest about GM crops is typical of supporters of the bio-technology industry. Such supporters do science a disservice by refusing to, or side-stepping with name-calling (Shantharam’s sorry tactic with my article) the issues. Another tactic, seen in his reply, is to refer vaguely to reports from Europe or the USA and tell the reader that these are all for GM.

Dalit widow in Warangal consistently making profits from organic farming

Warangal in Andhra Pradesh has borne a morbid and consistent association with crop loss, drought, debt traps and farmer suicides. Each suicide sends households into a downward spiral of further destitution, as families struggle to survive with meagre compensation for the loss of the only working member in a household. It took Pushpa, a Dalit widow in Damera village, ten years to break the pattern.

Pushpa lost her husband when she was 22. Bikshapati, a debt-ridden cotton farmer, ended his life with a bottle of pesticide 28 years ago until then, Pushpas world had consisted of her home and farm. She cooked food for her husband and son, Sumanth, assisting Bikshapati in the farm when needed.

In 2004, an NGO in Warangal called the Sarvodaya Youth Organisation started to work with debt-ridden cotton farmers, with the objective of promoting organic farming. When they approached Pushpa to help her financial situation, she gave them no positive response. Fortunately, they didnt give up. It took time to convince Pushpa the organisation offered her organic cotton seeds, natural fertiliser and pesticide in the guarantee of harvest. They insisted that she keep away from BT seeds, chemical fertilisers and pesticides.

Cgarh made 11.23L MT of city compost during 2015-16: Centre

Chhattisgarh produced 11.23 lakh metric tonnes (MT) of city compost during 2015-16 being used as organic fertilizer, the Central Government has informed.

Notably, in the month of May last year, the Chhattisgarh Government has decided to establish composite production unit in vegetable markets of cities across the State for manufacturing organic fertilizer using fruits and vegetables.

State Urban Development Agency had issued directives to all 168 urban bodies to send information about the vegetable markets in respective areas, where significant amount of fruit-vegetable waste is found.

Notably, in February last year, the Chhattisgarh Government had also sent a proposal to the Central Government for setting up an Organic Farming Research Centre in the State.

Techie to quit job and turn organic farmer

TIRUCHY: Leaving a well paid job to pursue his passion for organic farming, this 34-year- old youth has set an example for many. From developing new software for corporate firms, M Gokul, a software engineer, has taken up organic farming in his native village in Perambalur district.
The techie who used to involve in farming during weekends and holidays earlier, is now all set to develop a self-sustainable model for organic farming in his native village. He also aims at sensitising the fellow farmers about the importance of practising organic farming methods to preserve soil fertility.

7 Fabulous Farmstays in India That Allow You to Learn Organic Farming While Vacationing!

If your idea of a farm begins and ends with Animal Farm, chances are you are not alone. While India may still be called an agricultural country, a vast number of urban dwellers have little or no exposure to life in a farm. With the rise of sustainable tourism, a number of properties have emerged around the country that offer an authentic experience of living, and even working, in the farm. Here are seven of our favourite Indian farmstays.

Sikkim Could Reap Far Greater Benefits From Organic Farming

By Athar Parvaiz

Overlooked by Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak, the tiny Himalayan state of Sikkim has achieved many distinctions in recent years, including that of being the cleanest state in India. The state has also earned praise for making its agriculture free of chemicals, achieving its target in January last year of becoming 100% organic after 13 years of sustained efforts.

Indian Startup Brings Organic Farming to Your Rooftop

Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba was heavily dependent on the USSR for petroleum, fertilizers, pesticides and farm products. But when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and eventually sanctions were imposed on Cuba, the country was left in the lurch. According to, the country lost nearly 80 percent of its imports and exports and the GDP plummeted by 34 percent.

The effects were seen almost immediately. There was acute food shortage. Calorie intake fell to less than half of what it was before. In such a situation, Cubans had no choice but to grow food themselves. Tiny pockets of land emerged all across the country. What started as a concept called Organoponicos is now being replicated around the world as a sustainable urban farming solution.

Its as simple as converting your terrace, backyard or balcony into a small farm. And at a time when almost every fruit and vegetable being grown is sprayed with pesticides, what if you could control what goes into growing your food?

This is what inspired 26-year old Manvitha Reddy to start Homecrop a startup that helps you grow pesticide-free vegetables at home. Reddy designs rooftop and backyard kits that have everything you need to make your own farm at home.

The main technique used here is square foot gardening. In areas as small as 15 square feet, Homecrop gives you a kit that includes a high intensity polystyrene trough, a leak proof support structure for trellis, a shade net, a mat for drainage, garden tools, natural growth enrichers and service from the Homecrop team.

Burkina Faso settles dispute with Monsanto over genetically modified cotton

BOBO-DIOULASSO, Burkina Faso Burkina Faso’s cotton companies and growers have settled a dispute with Monsanto Co. over what they claimed were revenue losses caused by the introduction of genetically modified cotton.

The agreement, which includes the dividing up of royalties withheld by Monsanto’s Burkina Faso partners, brings to an end a collaboration that had at one time promised to offer the company a foothold in Africa.

3 filmmakers from Chizami win community media award

A 14-minutes documentary film, MilletsSecuring Lives (2015), from Chizami village, Nagaland, has bagged the first prize at the first ever National Community Media Festival organised by the Community Media Trust of Deccan Development Society (DDS), Telangana, in February this year. A communitys telling of the growing, picking, harvesting and promoting millets, the film has been produced and made by three young people from the community.

This is a matter of great pride for a community that has been working hard with its young and old, women and men, alike to bring back a shared cropping culture that has been weakened over the years.

TN farmers dig out skulls of colleagues who committed suicide, hold it up for New Delhi’s attention

It was a shocking sight that awaited political leaders who reside in Lutyen’s Delhion Tuesdaymorning. Dressed in loin cloths and dhotis, 174 farmers from Tamil Nadu stood outside the residence of former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma, while women were wearing only their petticoat. The objects in the hands of the agitators however, lead to even more attention. While some of these men and women carried begging bowls made of clay, the others carried skulls of dead farmers.

These farmers from Trichy, Karur and Thanjavur belonged to the Desiya Thenidhiya Nathigal Inaippu Vivasayigal Sangam. They had arrived at the Delhi station at8amon Tuesdaymorning and immediately left to protest outside the Prime Minister’s 7 Lok Kalyan Marg residence. They were, however, stopped well ahead by authorities. They had left Tamil Nadu on March 12, with three demands for the centre.

To make organic sustainable, must include environmental best practices in regulations

By Natasha Gilbert

Its easy to think that buying organic food helps to support local communities and protect the environment from the heavy hand of big agriculture. But the reality is not so clear cut. A detailed new analysis finds that organic farming is not always more upstanding than its conventional counterpart.

One of trickiest challenges facing society is how to produce enough food for growing populations without wrecking the environment and local communities. A study published on March 10 in the journal Science Advances finds that organic agriculture is not the holy grail of sustainable agriculture that its image suggests.

Its not enough just to do organic, said Verena Seufert, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, Canada, and a lead author of the study.

There is not a single answer to whether organic performs better or worse than conventional agriculture, she added.

The study finds that organic farming is better than conventional agriculture in some important ways.

Monsanto Isnt Feeding the WorldIts Killing Our Children

By Katherine Paul

Two new reports published in recent weeks add to the already large and convincing body of evidence, accumulated over more than half a century, that agricultural pesticides and other toxic chemicals are poisoning us.
Both reports issue scathing indictments of U.S. and global regulatory systems that collude with chemical companies to hide the truth from the public, while they fill their coffers with ill-gotten profits.
According to the World Health Organization, whose report focused on a range of environmental risks, the cost of a polluted environment adds up to the deaths of 1.7 million children every year.

Organic farming in Karnataka to go the Nandini way

14 regional federations of farmers preparing to brand and sell their produce in retail market

With an ever-growing market in urban centres, organic farming in Karnataka is on the verge of going big by following the Nandini model (the brand name under which Karnataka Milk Federation sells its products) of co-operative marketing.

Data put up by the Agriculture Department shows that nearly 2.82 lakh tonnes of organic produce is being cultivated in over 94,000 hectares of land across the State. Much of this is being procured by the 14 regional federations and sold in the regional market without brand recognition. However, now, these federations are preparing to brand and sell their produce in the retail market, particularly, in Bengaluru.

One of the early birds is the Shivamogga District Regional Cooperative Organic Farmers Association Federation Ltd., which is expected to start branding its products pepper, paddy, sugarcane, cashews, vegetables and soapnut powder in Bengaluru by next week. We are cutting off the middleman, and so both farmers and customers can get a good rate. The Shivamogga brand will expand beyond the local market, said K. Ramappa, president of the federation.

Left an established business to champion organic farming – Arjun Suri

By Vishal Krishna

After three years of hard work and convincing 1,500 farmers to go organic, Arjun Suri, sees light in his search for a new green revolution.

Twenty-five-year-old Arjun Suri was heir to a large family-owned enterprise called Suri Enterprises. The agro arm of the closely held business had a turnover of Rs 2 crore, and a clientele of over 2,000 farmers. For over 30 years, his family supplied chemical fertilisers and hybrid seeds to farmers and built a sizeable business in the small hillside town of Solan in Himachal Pradesh. The family also has business interests in the distribution of pharmaceutical products as well as a stake in real estate in the region.

After finishing college in Delhi in 2013, he decided to spend time with farmers in the region. That’s when it dawned upon him that the pristine green belt that Solan was known for was being destroyed by tonnes of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. “I realised that while farmers were increasing the yield of the land they were underestimating the impact of chemicals on the land and soil,” says Arjun.

Meet held on protection of plant varieties

DIBRUGARH, March 8 – Farmers varieties have been utilised in developing improved varieties of various crops, both by private and public seed producing sectors. However, very little is known to most of the farmers about the registration procedure of their own variety and the financial benefit out of it.

In this context, a daylong awareness programme and training on Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act, 2001 was organised at Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Dibrugarh.

The programme was held with the financial support from Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights (PPV&FR) Authority, Government of India. Altogether 101 farmers and farm women from 15 villages of six blocks of Dibrugarh district participated in the training programme.

How this mother-daughter duo is improving the lives of 5K farmers

By Bahar Dutt

Hand-pounded rice, fresh organic strawberries these are amongst the many items that a Pune-based online store plans to deliver to your doorstep. Of the many e-companies out there bringing fresh groceries to you, this one stands apart for placing the farmer who is growing them right at the centre of its intervention. Three years ago, Kavita Mudhoot Kowshik, a social worker, who has worked on human rights issues, decided to collaborate with her daughter and set up a social enterprise that would help farmers. Kavita, who is based out of Pune, set up Maitreya Agro, in response to the agrarian crisis that is gripping farmers across the country.

80% of farm suicides by cotton growers: Study

Ruchika M Khanna

Chandigarh, With the rural indebtedness in Punjabs predominant agrarian economy touching Rs 80,000 crore, each rural household in the state is under a debt of an average Rs 8 lakh. Or simply put, 89 per cent of the 10.53 lakh households in Punjab are under debt.

This also shows how rural indebtedness in the state has more than doubled over the years. It was around Rs35,000 crore in 2009-10.

These are some of the grim findings of a survey conducted by the states three premier universities Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana; Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar; and, Punjabi University, Patiala to study the incidence of farmer suicides between April 2010 and March 2013, across Punjab.

UN experts denounce ‘myth’ pesticides are necessary to feed the world

The idea that pesticides are essential to feed a fast-growing global population is a myth, according to UN food and pollution experts.

A new report, being presented to the UN human rights council on Wednesday, is severely critical of the global corporations that manufacture pesticides, accusing them of the systematic denial of harms, aggressive, unethical marketing tactics and heavy lobbying of governments which has obstructed reforms and paralysed global pesticide restrictions.

The report says pesticides have catastrophic impacts on the environment, human health and society as a whole, including an estimated 200,000 deaths a year from acute poisoning. Its authors said: It is time to create a global process to transition toward safer and healthier food and agricultural production.