Archive for the ‘News’ Category

FSSAIs move regarding organic foods certification not wise: CSE

Delhi-based non-profit, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has disapproved of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)s move to make certification of organic food sold in India mandatory. It says that not only will such a move promote just the certification industry but also strike a blow to the organic farming movement in India and impact country’s food safety.

On March 31, 2017, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had issued a notice asking for comments on a proposed regulation titled Draft Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017 (Draft Regulations). The regulation seeks to make certification mandatory for any food that claims to be organic in the domestic market.

Currently, certification for food sold as organic in India is not mandatory.However, there are two prevalentcertification systems which are voluntarily followed by those who want to sell food under this category.

The first system, which is governed by the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is mandatory for exports. It is called the National Programme for Organic Production and is also referred to as Third Party Certification.

The second system, governed by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, is called the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) and is meant only for the domestic market. The Third Party Certification system is applicable to individual farmers or farmer groups, while the PGS is applicable only to farmer groups and works around the collective responsibility of the group.

Fertilizers & pesticides mean the world has only 60 harvests left: Prince Charles

Prince Charles has warned that the very future of humanity may depend on organic farming.

Speaking as he celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Soil Association in London, the heir to the throne insisted that eco-friendly practices, which had once seemed so controversial, were now backed by sound science.

And he warned that they may be our only hope of reversing the drastic damage being caused to the environment, which could see large swathes of farmland destroyed forever within sixty harvests.

1 In 3 Farmers In Punjab Below Poverty Line: Study

Chandigarh: Pal Singh, 55, a resident of Sowhna village in Patiala who grows maize and paddy, owns two acres of land. With a monthly ‘saving’ of Rs. 2,000 after selling the harvest and paying for his land lease, Mr Singh does not have enough to provide for his family. He has no money to buy medicine for his ailing sister and pay his sons’ school fee, apart from meeting other sundry agrarian dues.

He carries a debt burden of Rs. 8 lakh that has been accumulating for the last 10 months with borrowings from money-lenders and a local bank.

Mr Singh’s plight is not an anomaly in Punjab, although multiple agrarian indices would have people believe otherwise. Punjab has the highest crop productivity and the largest irrigated area among the states, but such productivity puts pressure on small and marginal farmers, who together comprises 10.5 lakh farmers in the state.

According to a study by the state-run Punjabi University in Patiala, 86 per cent farmers and 80 per cent agricultural labourers in Punjab are facing indebtedness. The study said one in three farmers in Punjab earns less than Rs. 2,500 a month — or nearly a third of Punjab’s farmers lives below the poverty line, based on an estimate by an expert group of the now-disbanded Planning Commission of India. The university’s study covered 2015-16.

Forced into farming after husbands death, she brought relief to drought-hit Cauvery Delta

Farming is not something that came naturally to 65-year-old S Ranganayaki. Widowed at the age of 45, with three children to take care of, and 23 acres (9.3 hectares) of cultivable land along the Cauvery delta region, she had no choice but to take up farming.

Now, with Tamil Nadu in the midst of a drought said to be the worst in decades, she is wondering whether she made the right decision.

Ironically, it was Ranganayakis efforts around a decade ago that brought water to over 1,400 acres of land, spanning 13 villages and benefiting dozens of farmers.

Organic farming is an important contributor to economic growth in E Africa

This week in Tanzania, UNCTAD co-organized an event aimed at helping East African countries leverage the benefits of sustainable tourism and agriculture.

The event called the East-African Organic Policy Forum (EAOPF) is organised as part of the United Nations Inter-Agency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity.

The objective of the forum is to gather local and regional stakeholders to discuss strategies for developing organic agriculture in East Africa.

Organic farmer by chance, she now helps connect farmers directly to consumers

After finishing her masters in 1999, Purvi came back to India and started working for several NGOs for sustainability and development. It was in 2002 when she joined the famous Environmentalist Bina Agrawal to work on one of her research projects that Purvi happened to get her first brush with the farming community. The research took her to a small tribal area of Netrang and Dediyapada in south Gujarat.

She was surprised to know that these illiterate women had all the knowledge of the plants and the trees available in the jungle. They knew what plants has medicinal values and what should be consumed for a particular disease or illness.

Purvi had no clue that just a weekend a couple of weeks later would give answers to all her questions. Her mother and grandmother were always enthusiastic kitchen gardeners. They would always plant herbs and greens for the familys consumption. Taking the legacy forward, Purvis mother had planted several vegetables and fruits in the 5 acres of land acquired by them in Matar village, 45 km from Ahmedabad. She would visit the farm every weekend and look after it.

Organic products are in high demand in Kolkata

Spend whatever amount you may, but the rice you buy from the market will have some amount of pesticide in it. The two types of rice polished and super-polished go through multiple levels of refinement with chemicals and pesticide. On the one hand, the process drains nutritional value from the grains and on the other, pesticides and chemicals do what they usually do harm the body in every possible way. A third category, however, is fast gaining popularity. Organic rice, free of artificial food additives, has come as a boon. Similarly, organic vegetables considered healthier than conventionally grown counterparts are not only in high demand but also sold regularly in five markets in and around Kolkata, including Behala Senhaati, Naktala Udayan Sangha and Garia chalpatti.

You are what your mother ate

By Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

In 1930, Dr. Pottenger conducted a study to find out more about the effects of raw versus cooked meat, as well as raw versus pasteurized milk on cats and whether they had any impact on growth and development.

Nine hundred cats were studied in ten years in order to not only see the short term effects of the food, but also the influence the cats diet would have on their kittens over three generations. The results of this study were stunning: a simple modification in diet raw vs cooked meat and milk-impacted cats health over four generations!

Pune-based Earth Food makes residue-free vegetables available at market price

Making chemicals-free fresh fruits and vegetables available at market prices might soundunreasonable, but this Pune-based startup is proving it can be done.

From their 307 acres of land in a state infamous for droughts and farmer suicides, this one-year-old agri-tech startup (part of VTP Group) is striving to change the concept of farming. It grows a wide range of fruits and vegetables without using harmful chemical fertilisers or pesticides, which are then sold to customers without adding preservatives and synthetic food enhancers.

Activists to exhort farmers along Gomti to adopt organic methods

LUCKNOW: Gomti activists will teach farmers living along the banks of the river to practise ‘gau-adharit’ (organic) farming. Conservationists say it would serve a dual-purpose. On one hand, it will prevent chemicals used in farming from flowing into the river, while on the other, it will help stray cattle find a home. Farmers who don’t own a cow can adopt a stray and use its dung for manure.

Rajasthan Govt pitches organic farming to double farmer income

What was once a barren land is covered with the lush green cover today! Were talking about Rajasthan: the desert state of India, a state that was struggling with droughts, water scarcity and extreme climate for several centuries. Over the years, the hard-working farmers of Rajasthan scripted new success stories in agriculture.

Even Rajasthan government lent them a helping hand by introducing rainwater harvesting, modern agriculture, and water savvy irrigation techniques. Now, the government is committed to developing a green, organic Rajasthan. Organic farming seems to be the new way of life in Rajasthan.

Nine districts selected for organic farming project Assam

GUWAHATI, June 17 – The Assam Government has identified 10 clusters across nine districts of Assam for implementation of the Centrally-sponsored Mission Organic Value Chain Development for the north-eastern region (MOVCD).

Officials told this newspaper that the nine districts where areas having feasibility of organic farming have been selected are Golaghat, Nalbari, Kokrajhar, Kamrup Metro, Sonitpur, Majuli, Dhemaji, Cachar and Chirang.

Palekar roped in to promote organic farming in AP

Noted agriculturist and inventor of Zero Budget Natural Spiritual Farming, Subhash Palekar, has been appointed as advisor by the Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu to promote organic farming in the state.

As part of the mandate, Palekar will be responsible for formulating agriculture related policies and look after knowledge sharing with the farmers.

House panel questions need to develop GM Sorghum

EVEN AS the controversy over GM Mustard rages on, another row is in the offing over genetically modified (GM) crop version of jowar or sorghum, said to be the poor mans food in India as some members of a Parliamentary committee is learnt to have taken strong note of it.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests, headed by Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury, has decided to seek clarifications from Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, and also ask the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) to do a comparative analysis of the nutritional values of GM and non-GM sorghum.

Increasing income of Bihars farmers a priority: Nitish Kumar

Patna, June 16 (IANS) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday said the main focus of the states agriculture road map is on increasing income of farmers and ensuring sustainable development of the sector. He also assured farmers of providing them minimum support price (MSP) with 50 per cent additional incentive.

Kisano ki aamdani mein vriddhi karna hamara lakshya hai (Our target is to increase the income of farmers), Nitish Kumar said while addressing Kisan Samagam after a day-long meeting with hundreds of farmers from across the state in the newly-constructed International Convention Centre -Gyan Bhawan.

Plan to make Kottayam literate in organic farming

KOTTAYAM: The MG University here has launched a unique project to make the district complete literate in organic farming.
The campaign was launched by water resources minister Mathew T Thomas on the university campus on Friday.

Go organic to beat drought, says seed reviver

Nel Jayaraman has some advice for farmers struggling to grow high-yielding varieties of paddy during drought: Go organic. Having switched to growing indigenous paddy in an organic manner some 15 years ago, Mr. Jayaraman said farmers need spend only a little on input costs and can get good returns on their investment if they grew traditional varieties of paddy. Some of these rice varieties require less water compared to high-yielding varieties developed under the System of Rice Intensification (SRI).

India is home to around 100,000 varieties of indigenous paddy, but the Green Revolution wiped out everything. I have managed to revive around 150 indigenous varieties, and these crops grow very well with no fertilisers and chemicals, he said. Though the yield may be low compared to varieties such as IR-8, Mr. Jayaraman said organic farmers could earn more with less, unlike farmers now who produced higher yield but got less returns for their produce from the government.

FSSAI plans labeling of GM foods

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is planning a regime of labelling genetically modified (GM) foods, which do not exist in India as of now.

The move comes after India’s apex regulator for GM foods, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), approved India’s first transgenic food crop GM Mustard for commercial cultivation last month. The environment ministry has to take a final call.

Horticulturists tag states home grown veggies, fruits

BENGALURU: K Ramakrishnappa is busy through the week, monitoring his heirloom crops at his Mysuru farm and training farmers in organic farming. Meanwhile, his former colleague SV Hittalamani travels to rural pockets in Kolar, Ramanagara and Yelahanka to offer free consultation to farmers before returning to Bengaluru.
“After retirement I work with farmers and help my former colleagues identify new varieties of crops,” says Hittalamani, former additional director, horticulture department. Their post-retirement lives are fulfilling except for one thing. Their pet project, helping indigenous fruits and vegetables get GI tags while in service, seems stuck in a limbo.

SJVN to develop skill of 1600 farmers in HP

Public Sector SJVN Limited has undertaken to provide skill development training to 1,600 individuals from Himachal Pradesh as a part of Skill India Initiative of the Government of India (GoI).

The youths will be given skill training in the fields of horticulture, floriculture, vegetable, mushroom farming, bee-keeping, medicinal and aromatic plants, nursery plant protection, organic farming and environment impact assessment, etc.

The preference will be given to the needy persons who were already engaged in farming and inclined to increase their income. In 2016, the SJVN had provided training to 1,000 farmers in these two universities for enhancing their skills in various fields.

Loan waiver necessary, but alternative farm practices the need of the hour

Mumbai: Economist and former member of Maharashtra State Planning Board H.M. Desarda, on Tuesday termed the recently announced farm loan waiver by the State government as a necessary but not sufficient condition to deal with the problems related to agriculture.

Prof. Desarda linked todays problems in agriculture to ecology and traced their origins to the techno-economic model of farming ushered in by the Green Revolution.

Thailand Aims To Become Organic Farming Leader In ASEAN

BANGKOK — Thailand has set a goal to promote organic agriculture under its five-year plan by extending organic farming in the country to cover one million rai (400,000 acres) of areas in the next five years, Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.

Agriculture Minister Gen Chatchai Sarikulya said that the 2017-2021 national organic agriculture development strategies were approved by the Cabinet.

Under the strategies, the ministry will support researches and disseminate knowledge and innovation on organic farming as well as develop organic products and service and raise the standard of certification processes.

Arunachal farmers keen to go organic

Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh) [India], June 13 (ANI): Arunachal Pradesh would turn totally organic soon with global organic scientist Dr Nilmadhab Nanda offering progressive farmers the required mantra.

Dr.Nanda, who arrived here on June 7 at the invitation of Chief Secretary Shakuntala D Gamlin and prolonged his stay, gave a presentation to state Agriculture Secretary Ajimul Haq on June 8 on his organic product Win (Shree) Crops, besides holding a series of meetings.

Centre to utilise tribal farmers’ skill to push organic farming

Acknowledging the role of farmers of tribal areas in generation and conservation of biodiversity, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that new technological innovations in agriculture must reach to the fields of tribal areas as they contributed a lot in protecting the environment.

Stressing on utilisation of their knowledge of natural resources, Singh said, “The tribals have unique knowledge of climate suitable varieties. We must utilise their expertise that they have earned while living in the same area for ages, roaming around forests and living in close contact with nature. Their knowledge would be utilised to promote organic farming in tribal areas as lands in tribal areas are best suitable for sustainable and organic farming.”

Shift to organic farming, increase vegetable production

SRINAGAR: Principal Secretary Agriculture Production Department, Sandeep Kumar Nayak, Friday chaired an officers meeting to review the progress on various agriculture related state and centrally sponsored schemes.
He called for shifting from inorganic to organic farming and increasing of the production in vegetables. He also laid stress on increasing the Seed replacement rate of paddy, maize, oilseeds, fodders to give boost to production.