Archive for the ‘News’ Category

India needs to focus on implementation of GM regulations

Agroecology and environmental biosafety expert Angelika Hilbeck on Tuesday called for better enforcement of biosafety norms in agriculture.

“It has been my observation that most countries have good regulations, but it is implementation that they usually lack and I don’t think India is any different in this regard,” said Hilbeck.

She was speaking at a press conference at the Gujarat Vidyapith on the genetically modified crop scenario in India and its implications. When asked about one of the arguments in favour of GM crops that their productivity is better, she said it was because the whole system in place is such that the capacity installed is geared towards fertiliser- intensive crops.

Farmer rush to get organic stamp

Patna: More than a dozen farmers have approached the agriculture department to get their produce certified as organic.

The department has signed an agreement with Sikkim State Organic Certification Agency (SSOCA) for issuing certificates to farmers who use organic method for cultivation.

Sources in the agriculture department said so far 15 such farmers had approached the department to collect details about the certification process.

Most of these farmers belong to Nalanda district or the areas falling along the southern bank of the Ganga where the government has decided to develop an organic corridor.

Sikkim shows growth in organic vegetable output

Sikkim has produced about 80,000 mt of various organic vegetables in 2016-17 after it became a fully organic state. “We produced 80,000 mt organic vegetable in the state last year to showcase our commitment to organic farming,” said Horticulture and Cash Crop Development department, secretary, Khorlo Bhutia. “These vegetables were 100 per cent chemical-free and grown over farm area of 14,000 hectares out of the certified land of 76,392 hectares for organic farming in the state under the first year of the Mission Organic Value Chain Development (MOVCD) in the North-East region,” he said.
Despite this quantity of organic vegetable produced in Sikkim there was shortfall of 1000 mt to achieve self-sufficiency, he rues but said that the target will be achieved through phase-wise implementation of the mission and the utilisation of the remaining farming land holdings. In the first phase of organic farming done in 14000 hectares in the first year to meet end-to end programme beginning from production to post harvest management, processing, branding and marketing, which will be completed in 2018, the Horticulture & Cash Crop Development secretary said.

₹20 Bottle of Solution Is Punjab Farmers Answer to Stubble Burning

One of the primary reasons contributing to hazardously high levels of smog in Punjab and NCR belt is the age-old practice of stubble burning followed by farmers with the onset of winter.

While the contaminant fog has been causing not just visibility crisis but various health issues, government and non-government agencies have repeatedly been advocating against the practice and raising awareness amidst the farmers in the region.

Seeing the dangerous effects of smog for themselves, many farmers in Punjab are switching to an alternative method that takes care of stubble disposal responsibly, without eliciting any threat to the environment.

The method involves a waste decomposer, a solution concocted with effective microorganisms that propel in-situ composting of the crop residue. This is done by spraying the preparation on the post-harvest stalks of crop plants and leaving it for a month.

Deaths of farmers from pesticide genocide by state, says farmer welfare task force chief

Kishor Tiwari, the chief of the Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swawlamban Mission, a Maharashtra government task force set up for the welfare of farmers, has termed the deaths of farmers from pesticide inhalation in Vidarbha as genocide committed by the state and sought criminal action against the manufacturers as well as corrupt government officials hand in glove with them.

Addressing a press conference here Monday, Tiwari claimed more than 40 farmers had died and at least 2,000 more hospitalised from pesticide inhalation in Vidarbha and Marathwada.


With passion, this teacher promotes organic farming

Vizianagaram: After 10 years as teacher in government service, D Pari Naidu one fine day decided it was time to practice and propagate organic farming for the health of current and future generations.

The 58-year-old from Thotapalli village in Garugubilli mandal in Vizianagaram district, started an organic farm on the banks of River Nagavali in Thotapalli village and began cultivating various crops using only organic pesticides and fertilisers and has been setting an example by achieving wonderful results by way of yield and quality of produce.

Public flocks to Punjab to do this sweaty task! And they are loving it

As trends go, this is not only unique, but also never-heard-of-before initiative. What is more, it is quite productive and good for the economy. To boost agricultural knowledge, a farm resort in Punjabs Hoshiarpur is offering hands-on experience to its visitors in order to learn how farming is actually done. The visitors of the farm can get a week-long package where they can learn several farming activities including sowing seeds, harvesting crops, ploughing fields, milking cows and even drive a tractor.

The farm also takes the visitors on a ride to the nearby forest and rivulet in a tractor-trolley. Speaking about this unique concept, owner of Citrus County farm resort, Harkirat Ahluwalia explained about the package to The Week in detail. He said, Be a farmer on weekends at Citrus County Hoshiarpur. Get your kids to the farm to give them a unique experience in a typical farm in Punjab. Let them come and indulge in plucking fruit and sowing vegetable seeds in the fields on their own.

Pune woman grows her own food organically and feds her family of 14

An organic wave is sweeping through Pune, as people increasingly buy food grown without the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides.

However, Sujata Naphade is far ahead of this wave she grows enough organic vegetables and fruits to feed her family of 14, sells what they cant consume and connects farmers who grow crops naturally to enthusiastic consumers.

Sujata isnt a farmer and her plot isnt in rural India. She is a city woman in Pune the second largest city in Maharashtra and her 3,300 square feet plot is right in the middle of an affluent housing society, surrounded by concrete buildings and bungalows.

PwC India Foundation provides relief to drought battling village under CSR

NEW DELHI:As part of its disaster relief, rehabilitation and response effort, the PwC India Foundation, through its partner NGO Savitribai Phule Mahila Ekatma Samaj Mandal, has restored defunct water structures and groundwater recharge for the farming community of Shelgaon village in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

Our intervention has so far benefitted 1183 people and 43 wells in the region. Today, the structures have created a storage capacity of 212.87 lakh litres and created capacity of 900 lakh litres of groundwater., statement said.

Maneka inaugurates the 3rd edition of Women of India Organic Festival

New Delhi : The Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi inaugurated the 3rd annual ‘Women of India Organic Festival’ at Dilli Haat (INA), today, in the presence of Minister of State, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Shri Virendra Kumar.

The festival, which will be held till October 15, has on display India’s most varied offerings of organic products ranging from food, wellness, personal care, home improvement, kitchen composters and solar products by nearly 530 participants.

Using herbal agricultural recipes to protect farm biodiversity

With rapid urbanisation, people in metro cities are becoming increasingly health conscious. According to India fitQ 2016, a report by health and lifestyle company GOQii, which surveyed over 50,000 respondents, Mumbai was found to be the most health-conscious metro in the country, beating Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai. It is widely known that the residual effects of synthetic chemical pesticides are harmful for the human body, and switching to natural inputs is beneficial for soil, plants and human population.

Ex- CA is earning far more through organic farming

A few years ago, Rajeev Bittu, a chartered accountant, took his wife, Rashmi, and toddler Ritwika to his village in Gopalganj for a leisurely trip. But little did he know that the holiday was going to change his life forever.

Ever since Rajeev wondered what he could do to change the unconscious prejudice urban residents have against farmers. His solution was to become a farmer.

He scoured the internet and spoke to many local farmers. He even consulted professors at agriculture universities.But Rajeev says, it was an employee of a seed company who helped him set the ball rolling.

Ladakh Organic Farmers Meet advocates for sustainable agriculture development

LEH: The first ever Ladakh Organic Farmers meet held here at Leh Polo Ground on Monday was chaired by United Nations Ambassador for Mountain Development Partnership, Drigung Skyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche.
The grand event was organised by LEHO, LEDeG, Ladakh Womens Allaince, Amchi Sabha, SECMOL and Go Green Go Organic in association with the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh with an aim to promote sustainable agriculture development in Ladakh.

Closing the food loop

Up until 2014, Kern Agarwal and Ranjani Prabakaran held steady jobs at Standard Chartered Bank. But one fine day, we decided to quit and plunge full time into organic farming. Wed set up The Urban Farmers, a start-up incubated at Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA). One thing led to another and today we have Carbon Loops, an initiative that works with large institutions to segregate waste, create compost and then send it back to organic farmers, in a bid to close the loop in the food industry, says Agarwal, whose first project at Loyola College is set to be inaugurated on October 2.

MP village women teach organic farming in Haryana, UP

Bhopal: In the fertile farms of Madhya Pradesh, a new kind of job has sprung leaves. Tribal women are being hired by other states as ‘agri coaches’ and reaping handsome returns.
Trained under Madhya Pradesh State Rural Livelihoods Mission, some 4,000 Krishi Sakhis have brought home over Rs 72.8 lakh in just 10 months. This quick cash has helped them break out of BPL shackles.

Step towards sustainability

In the age of cooperative federalism, farmers in the villages of Ajjampura hobli in Tarikere taluk, Chikkamagaluru district have taken cooperative farming to a whole new level. They are fast changing the perception of rural development by keeping scientific sustainable rural development as their motto and ensuring active participation of the farming community.
This form of development came as a blessing in disguise to these drought-hit villages through the coming together of Shivaprasad, a BBM graduate, Lohith and Kiran, both software engineers and Nagarajappa, a retired engineer. These like-minded people formed a team with the dream of empowering the local communities through various agricultural practices and agro-based activities which could lead to self-sustenance. This dream took flight when they established Mythri International at Katinagere village a year ago.

Navadarshanam An Example Of True Development Right Outside Bengaluru

Navadarshanam is a small community founded in 1990, located in rural Tamil Nadu adjoining a reserve forest about 50km from Bangalore. They have been exploring alternatives to the modern way of living and thinking, seeking both ecological balance and inner peace.

They dont accept funding from agencies and run on donations and the revenue it generates from selling the food products. They also adhere to the principles of non-individual ownership of land and property.

The community members have experimented in the areas of eco-restoration and wilderness preservation, alternative energy, sustainable organic farming, water harvesting, health and healing as well as in promoting healthier and traditional foods.

Mother-daughter duo is reaping the profits of organic farming

Numerous initiatives by various state governments to promote organic farming in India have promptedbiotech engineerLikitha Bhanuto seek options in the agriculture sector for building a career.

While her batchmates were busy finding corporate jobs in biotechnology, Likitha preferred to take chances in organic farming.

To create awareness on healthy eating habits and make organic food accessible to all, Hyderabad-based Likitha started Terra Greens with her mother Padmaja Bhanu in 2013.


Nod for GM mustard unlikely

Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan has indicated that a decision on releasing genetically modified (GM) mustard commercially was unlikely any time soon.

There are compelling arguments from those who support it and those against it, he said responding to a query from The Hindu. The government however will only take a decision based on common good.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, who holds the Science portfolio, took over the Environment Ministry after the death of Anil Dave. That makes him the final government arbiter on allowing GM mustard to be made available commercially. GM mustard was developed by scientists at Delhi University and the project was part-funded by the Department of Biotechnology, a division of the Science Ministry

NGOs to form Organic Farming Clusters in UP.

UP Govt has circulated an Open Request for Expression of Interest By NGOs to form Organic Farming Clusters in UP.

Tata Power organises Swavalamban Drive to train framers towards self-sustainability

Mumbai: Tata Power, Indias largest integrated power company, has always been committed to the well-being of the communities that surround its areas of operations. In continuation with this objective, Tata Power organised Swavalamban Drive for farmers in villages of Maval (Khopoli and Bhivpuri division), Maharashtra. The objective of the drive was to self-sustain the farmers towards seed requirement for major crops in Kharif and Rabi seasons. The drive benefitted around 1,642 farmers from 42 villages.

Farmers have been trained for paddy seed plots development, seed plots cultivated in 41.5 acres. 330 farmers adopted the SRI (System of Rice intensification) practices, SRI cultivation in 303 acres. Around 66 farmers have been supported for organic farming that requires bio-fertilisers and fungi. As many as 91 farmers were supported for ground nut cultivation. Nachni / Vari seed plots were introduced among 25 farmers

Agriculture as part of climate mitigation and adaptation

Discussions on agriculture in the context of climate always focus on productivity and yield under global warming and temperature extremes. While rice, wheat, maize and soybean yields are expected to go down due to warming, there is optimism that genomics will deliver drought-and pest-resistant varieties.

Time-tested methods for sustainable agriculture still have a big role to play in terms of crop rotation, crop diversity, drip irrigation, traditional and genetic breeding, integrated pest management and so on.

Villages must adopt organic cultivation, integrated farming: Experts

Nagpur: Aiming to promote awareness regarding the current condition of agriculture in the Vidarbha region, Vigyan Bharti Vidarbha Pradesh Mandal (VBVPM) organized a lecture on ‘Agricultural Development in Vidarbha and India’ at Persistence Auditorium, Gayatri Nagar on Monday.

The event was conducted under the banner of ‘Confluence of Agriculture and Science’. Former chancellor of Kamdhenu University, Gujarat and Agriculture University, Gujarat, MC Varshneya was invited as the main speaker for the event.

Using green credits to promote sustainable agro-forestry

Green Credits is an incentive framework or a reward-scheme for sustainable, eco-friendly behaviour.

With respect to agriculture and farming, there is already a lot of progress in certain parts of India, like Sikkim which has become an almost 100% organic farming state. By using the standards and practices of sustainable farming methods, one can make adjustments to them based on the local, state-wise or region-specific factors (like crop variety, soil quality, weather, demographics of employment and income, minimum price laws etc.), and award Green Credits based on verified, achievable progresses made on effective use of those updated practices (as determined by the modified metrics of the Green Credit system). However, combining agriculture and farming with forestry becomes extremely integral due to two factors.

Banker turned herbal farmer helping 22000 farmers

Rajaram and his six brothers grew up learning about farming from their father. His family, although successful, were no strangers to the hardships farmers faced.

As Rajaram was the eldest of the seven brothers, his parents did not want him to leave a government job. However, according to Rajaram, he was confident that farming could be a profit making sector.

While farming, Rajaram was always looking to see how the sector could be made more profitable. After much deliberation, he realised marketing was the weakest link in the agricultural industry; one in need of desperate attention.

In the first year, Rajaram failed to make a profit on his vegetables, as they were perishable items that had to be sold as soon as they were harvested. The market rate depended on the amount of vegetables that reached the market on a particular day.

So if the yield were right, the rate would be low, and the rate would be better only when there was a smaller quantity. In both ways, farmers were the ones at a loss. The first lesson that Rajaram took from this is that he needs to find a non-perishable item to grow and something which is highly in demand but not grown by many farmers.

The much-needed break came when he met Dr G.S. Jarial of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, Bhopal, who introduced him to the world of herb farming.