Archive for the ‘News’ Category

AnnaMaya, Andaz Delhi introduces market edition of its Lazy Sunday Breakfast

In line with the motto of “Eat Mindful. Shop Artisanal. Raise Awareness”, AnnaMaya at Andaz Delhi has introduced the Market Edition of its popular Lazy Sunday Breakfast where you can shop from a wide variety of fresh seafood, organic vegetables and healthy food grains, thoughtfully sourced for you, to help you eat well even at home.

Like many European food halls, AnnaMaya at Andaz Delhi, is a place where food is served and interesting, locally sourced artisanal produce and items are available for sale. The food hall follows the ‘Made in India’ concept, as all products used have to be produced in India, must have a socially inspiring story behind the business execution, and their current business module must be socially relevant in order to help communities and their respective environments within India.

Kitchen Garden: “Don’t panic, it’s organic”

For all those fitness freaks, and clean eating food lovers, Suzette opened its organic restaurant with a new Kitchen Garden in Juhu. The most awaited organic retro-salad bar headed by Antonia Achache, Jeremie Sabbagh, and Pierre Labail, set up an exclusive farmer’s market for the opening weekend. Kitchen Garden’s homegrown organic farm, managed by Offering Farms, the latter itself, and Zama Organics, helps to make every meal a healthy one.

Antonia Achache, head chef and partner says, ‘On the opening weekend pop up one could find: all salad leaves and greens (romaine, baby lettuce, kale, micro greens), cherry tomatoes, orange sweet potatoes, butternut squash, French beans, edamame, colourful beets, edible flowers, and ancient grains. Kitchen Garden Juhu’s outdoor section will host several pop-up farmers markets where our organic suppliers/partners will offer their amazing selection of products and talk to Juhu residents about the benefits of organic farming.’

Agriculture, horticulture, tourism are backbone of J&K economy: Govt

SRINAGAR — The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan Saturday termed Agriculture, Horticulture and Tourism sectors as the backbone of State’s economy.

The Divisional Commissioner made these remarks while inaugurating the mega Kisan Mela 2019 in the premises of Agriculture Complex, Lal Mandi. The mela was organized by the department of Agriculture under ATMA scheme.

On the occasion, the Divisional Commissioner urged the farming community to adopt scientific methods to enhance their crop yield. He said that the new farm techniques will also create huge employment potential and Kashmir can become a self sufficient in rice and vegetables. He urged the farmers to approach agriculture department and SKAUST for latest trends, techniques and schemes in Agriculture sector for their better crop yield.

White Organic Agro Ltd receives exports contract for Indian white steam rice

White Organic Agro Ltd will export 1280 MT of Indian White Steam Rice to Rebat Al Houda Trading Est, Saudi Arabia.The management has again successfully bagged a direct exports contract in the international market and this would help widen the horizon into the vast scalable business of Organic Rice internationally.
In the indirect farming business, the management is focused on expansion in the northern states for cultivation and business of Organic Basmati Rice. Real or perceived advantages in sustainability, openness, self-sufficiency, autonomy/ independence, food security and safety, although the match between perception and reality is continually challenged in the field of organic basmati rice business.
Going forward with a scope of converting the one time order into same into a long term contract, the management would soon finalize in the indirect farming business in the northern states for cultivation and business of Organic Basmati Rice. Amongst northern states of India Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan are the major basmati rice cultivating states. To facilitate the same the company has already established setup in New Delhi, from which the management intends to carry out the business of organic basmati rice.

At 91, this army veteran turned to mushroom farming. the reason will move you!

He is 91-years-old but retired Honorary Army Captain Lekh Raj Sharma is driven by an unparalleled passion that many a youth may find difficult to replicate.

Every week, he travels four hours one way from Chandigarh to his native village of Nari in Himachal Pradesh’s Una district.

Why? To spend three days a week overlooking mushroom cultivation in a large enclosed hall at Vikas Sadan.

As a band of women rushes through the chores of watering the fruit-bearing fungi, monitoring their growth and plucking, he assists them in packing the newly-reaped button mushrooms in 200 g packets.

This psychologist & her all-women counsellors team are preventing farmer suicides in Telangana

The urban privileged section of the population might not feel any direct implication of farmer suicides, but the truth is that it wreaks havoc in the lives of our cultivators and their families.

Amid the prevailing anguish, depression and helplessness, a Telangana psychologist and her team are instilling hope in these distressed souls and saving their precious lives. In a conversation with Efforts For Good, psychology expert Shruti Naik shares her experience of working with the Kisan Mitra rural distress helpline, which aims to prevent farmer suicides. Presently active in Vikarabad, Adilabad and Mancherial districts of Telangana, the organisation has saved many lives with their active intervention and consistent support system.

Shruti shares that the iron-willed and resilient farmers resort to suicide when they find themselves overwhelmed with the economic or social crises in their lives. “For most of them, the financial crisis at times becomes too much to handle. Neck-deep in debts or battling a crop failure, they choose to end their lives as they see no way out. We have seen so many people reaching for a bottle of pesticide to commit suicide,” she shares.

How phones are turning into plant doctors for thousands of farmers

Until one and a half years ago, Devidas Lonkar from Chakan town of Pune district had to depend on local fertiliser and pesticide sellers to resolve diseases and fungal issues in his crops.

Hailing from an agrarian background, the 26-year-old farmer grows sugarcane, cabbage, cauliflower as well as beetroot and groundnuts across a 7-acre plot.

“I would describe the symptoms of fungus or disease to the shopkeeper, to which he would then suggest various pesticides and add-ons. It took me a while before realising that these shopkeepers only suggested chemicals with short-lived efficiency that would inevitably bring farmers back to them within a couple of months,” he says.

Tired of spending ridiculous amounts of money with no returns, Devidas decided to do some research online and stumbled upon a mobile application named Plantix.

India needs policies to regulate ‘bad food’ and produce food sustainably

New Delhi: At a day-long National Conclave on Food organized here today by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the New Delhi-based research and advocacy think tank, about 50 experts from across the country deliberated upon pressing issues related to the way food is produced and promoted in the country and its linkages with the growing burden of diseases. In her opening remarks, Sunita Narain, director general of CSE, said: “Food is linked to nutrition, nature and livelihoods. We need strong regulations which can stop the ingress of chemicals, pesticides and antibiotics into our food and protect us against ‘bad foods’ high in fat, sugar or salt.”

‘Waste Decomposer’ on day 2 at National Seminar on post harvest for onion, garlic, potato

A National seminar held at B.P. Pal Auditorium at I.A.R.I. with group of farmers from M.P., Haryana  and U.P was organized by National Horticulture Research & Development Foundation, New Delhi in collaboration with Division of Vegetable Science, ICAR-IARI, Pusa on 11th and 12th March, 2019 under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture, Dept. of Agriculture, Co-op. & Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers welfare. The seminar was organized to discuss production and post harvest technologies of onion, garlic and potato for uplifting the livelihood of farmers.

Day 2 of the seminar begin with the lecture of Dr. Jagat Singh, National organic farming Centre, with the details about waste decomposer, how to use and its composition etc. Different questions and queries were also attended and contact details were also provided to farmers for future references.

President confers Padma Award on seed saver Babulal Dahiya

Babulal Dahiya of Pithorabad village in Satna District of Madhya Pradesh has been conserving 125 Folk Rice Varieties as well as a number of indigenous varieties of Wheat, Barley, Millets etc.

Babulal ji is an accomplished poet & author of a number of books on Folk History of Baghelkhand; many of his books are now part of the curricula of universities in the region.

While studying the folk history, he realized that many of the crop varieties mentioned in the folktales have become extinct or very rare; he then decided to get into conservation of some of the varieties that were still being cultivated by farmers in remote areas of the district.

Wheat & Barley varieties that are being conserved by Bhairab Saini in Bankura, West Bengal.


Ways through which farmers’ income may increase

The aim of the Modi Government is to diagnose the problem of farmers and do an arrangement to increasing their income. Therefore, the government is not indulging them in adopt populist schemes. For example, in 2008, the slogan of agricultural debt waiver was given, but only Rs 52, 500 crore of loan was waived from the eligible debt of 5 to 6 Lakh crore, whose actual benefit only a few farmers could get. Most of the benefits took by the rich farmers who had no concern with farming.

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

Working for 35 years, ex-banker grows lush 2 acre forest in the middle of Kochi

Approximately 650 years ago, when the inquisition of Goa by the Portuguese led to mass conversions, a huge group of people fled the state in rickety boats, hiding in gigantic cooking vessels. They settled in the coastal areas of Kerala.

AV Purushothama Kamath’s ancestors were among this group, and when he was a child, his mother would narrate stories about how the former Maharaja of Kochi welcomed their community.

In the late 19th century, his father purchased a resthouse from the king in Ernakulam and converted it into a family home—the same one that Kamath currently resides in.

Evidently, the 130-year-old home has a rich history attached to it. However, its ancient windows and intricate tiles are not what we wish to focus on.

Located in the bustling metro city of Kochi, Alungal Farms is Kamath’s labour of love and sweat. It  boasts over 2000 varieties of rare medicinal plants, 400 varieties of fruits, different flowers, vegetables, herbs, and even spices—all of which thrive in wild harmony!

Despite being a stone’s throw away from a metro station and the Vyttila Mobility Hub, its canopy of lush greens is home to several migratory birds and butterflies.

Cancer ravages rural Punjab due to chemicals in pesticides; govt assistance fails to improve situation

Sangrur: It is difficult to imagine Jasmine Khan’s pain and agony at losing her 14-month-old son in 2016. Living in a two-room concrete house in a labyrinth of bylanes in Handiaya village of Barnala district in Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency, she wells up every time Bilal intrudes on her thoughts, no matter that it has been two years since he succumbed to blood cancer. She often tries to hide her tears, but her trembling voice gives her away and makes it clear that the family is far from recovering from this loss.

“He used to cry and get fever quite often; so we took him to a local doctor who referred us to a local hospital. There, after some tests, we were told that Bilal has cancer; we then went to Kolkata for his treatment, but doctors there told us to admit him at PGIMER in Chandigarh,” recalls Jasmine. She says the family managed to admit him somehow, despite their limited financial resources, but he died within a month.

Green thumbs get an organic imprint

Kamal Singh and his wife inspect a ber fruit plant at their organic farm in Bharatpur, Rajasthan.

The couple has collaborated with Lupin Human Welfare and Research Foundation to convert their six-acre farm in Bharatpur into a model integrated agriculture development project.

The idea is to showcase to the farmers in the area how they can make agriculture more sustainable, generating income all year around and without using chemical fertilisers and pesticides.

Sangita Sharma: ‘seed’ no evil; organic farming’s one-woman army

How do we eat safe, pesticide-free food? Sangita Sharma, fondly called the Jewel of Karnataka in farming circles, arrived at the source of the issue: seed. She founded Annadana, a movement to promote the use of non-hybrid, non-GMO seeds, bringing relief to farmers who had become reliant on MNCs for chemically-enhanced, expensive seed. Over the last 20 years, she has distributed millions of packets of organic seeds to thousands of farmers, writes Mini Tejaswi

She’s fondly called the Seed Guardian and the Jewel of Karnataka in organic farming circles. Meet Sangita Sharma, who criss-crossed India in search of an answer to the question: How do we get to eat safe, pesticide-free food?

School mistress spearheads a turmeric farming movement in Meghalaya

Fifty-two-year-old Trinity Saioo in Meghalaya has never heard of turmeric lattes that have gained a cult following in the ever-expanding list of healthy beverages. But every day, after the school she teaches in gets over, Saioo the teacher diligently tends to her farms of the ‘golden spice’ that is the core ingredient behind the latte trend.

Far from the madding crowd that has jumped on to the turmeric-wellness bandwagon, Saioo, an award-winning turmeric farmer from Mulieh village in the northeastern state, has been silently leading 800 women in her state to cultivate and boost the popularity of the indigenous, high-curcumin content Lakadong variety of the spice.

Saioo has been hand-holding women to blaze their own trails to success, reaching out to women farmers from her own village first. Mulieh and several other adjoining villages, that form the epicentre of the Lakadong variety of turmeric, lie in the eponymously named area in the rugged terrains of Meghalaya’s West Jaintia Hills, the notorious coal-belt of the state.

Story of curating native seeds

The quest to collect seeds of native plant varieties has proved to be never ending for C. Yoganathan, a farmer of Thinnakonam village, near Musiri in Tiruchirapalli district of Tamil Nadu.

He started collecting the seeds in 2008 with the objective of preserving native breeds of vegetables, fruits, millets and pulses.

After a decade, he is now providing tonnes of seeds to farms and kitchen gardens through Agathiyar Farmers Producer Company, supported by NABARD. This is one of the few companies involved in native seed production in the State.

The company, which has 550 small and micro farmers as members, has seed production as one of its main objectives. It was formed in 2017 as a culmination of a series of seed festivals organised all over Tamil Nadu and in a few other States. “The inspiration to preserve native seed varieties came to me while meeting farmers along with Nammalvar, a green crusader.

“Identification and selection of native breeds took several years,” he says

Honey doesn’t harm the bees & helps empower thousands of tribals

Maheshwari is a former daily wage labourer in the tea estates of Kottagiri, in the Nilgiri District. While tea plantations look inviting during a holiday, there is no vacation for labourers like her. They toil on the deceptively beautiful but treacherous terrain of the estates.

While the opportunities for labour are many, their wages are uncertain. For all the hard work she put in, Maheshwari earned just Rs 60 per day.

So after many years of this instability, when the opportunity for a steady income came her way, she was excited and weary. Maheshwari joined Last Forest Enterprise, a company that believes in shifting power to the producers. Since then, things have changed dramatically for her.

Today, she is on a regular payroll, earns a steady income between Rs 200-400 per day, and is able to support her son’s education

The collection of non-timber forest produce (NTFP), mainly silk cotton in a sustainable manner, is the credo of Last Forest.

The brainchild of Mathew John, Pratim Roy, and Snehlata Nath, Last Forest was incubated by the NGO, Keystone Foundation. It was primarily created as a marketing platform for the indigenous communities, and self-help groups.

Managing Director Mathew John says, “Last Forest started to support local and marginalised communities in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. We pioneered the concept of recognising different kinds of honey based on taste and bee species. We are working to empower and enrich communities and facilitate the connect with the market through sustainable practices.”

Turns 200 acre land into organic farm, saves 2 cr litres of water/year!

It has been 11 years, and 73-year-old Jayachandran’s routine has not changed. He travels 675 km from his home in Chennai to his farm once every week. He spends four days working there before returning home.

It was upon retiring from a 40-year-long career in the sugar industry that K. Jayachandran decided to choose a road many would not take.

He set up Jaycee Agro Farms, with the help of his family, to tackle the issues of chemical-based farming, and bust the myth that organic agriculture is loss-making.

Nature Organic bags ‘Brand of India 2019’ award

Nature Organic, from Delhi, was launched by Sonia Sharma who left her Big 4 career in London and returned to India to make a difference at the grass root level.  She founded Nature Organic with the sole purpose of promoting ethical, sustainable and planet friendly farming practices and produce.Nature Organic works with farmers in Kerala, Uttarakhand and West Bengal to export rice and other organic produce to USA and Europe.

Cureveda bags ‘Brand of India 2019’ award

Pune-based brand–Cureveda– which offers premium herbal, organic and nutraceutical supplements was awarded ‘Brand of India 2019’ in the healthcare category. Giriraj Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for MSME, Dr Arun Kumar Panda, Secretary, Ministry of MSME and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

Farmers urge TS Govt to set up organic agriculture university

Hyderabad: The Organic Agriculture Farmers urged Telangana State Government to set up an Organic Agriculture University in the state.

Speaking on the occasion of inauguration of 3-day Natural and Organic Products Mela on Friday at Night Bazar at Shilparamam at Madhapur, Dinesh Dattatreya Kulkarni, All India Organising Secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh said that it would help promote Organic Farming and Products Education, Research and Promote organic farming.

Organic India to launch new supplements, tulsi infusions at Expo West

BOULDER, Colo.— This year at Natural Products Expo West, innovative wellness leader Organic India showcases the latest additions to their line of organic herbal solutions with a focus on fermented adaptogens, green superfoods and three new flavors of stress relieving Tulsi herbal infusions. Organic India offers comprehensive support to wellness seekers with a versatile product line that can be sipped, stirred, blended into one’s daily diet or added to a convenient capsule routine.

Consistent with Organic India’s entire product line, the three newest infusions boast USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified certifications and are blended with Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil, for functional stress relief benefits that only serve to enhance the exquisite flavor of each infusion. As the essential base of each Organic India herbal infusion, Tulsi (Holy Basil) is an adaptogen that combats the negative effects of stress, uplifts mood and supports both the immune system and the body’s natural detoxification process.

Farmers warned against yellow rust & karnal bunt

The two-day research and extension specialists’ workshop for kharif crops, organised by the Directorate of Extension Education, PAU, concluded at the Pal Auditorium here on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr BS Dhillon dwelled on the role of the university in empowerment in agriculture. “We have been entrusted with the responsibility of feeding the nation and we accept the same with pride. ,” said Dr Dhillon.

Dr Sutantar Kumar Airi, Director of Agriculture, Punjab, discussed the target, production and problem of kharif crops in Punjab. Dr NS Bains, Director of Research, PAU, shared the salient findings of research in kharif crops. He also discussed new cultivation techniques and protection technologies and warned wheat farmers to against yellow rust and karnal bunt attack.

Family that made a forest, an eco-village and lives medicine-free

Drive down 45 kilometres southwest from the city of Pune and you will see a beautiful man-made forest in the Sahyadri range. But when Dr. Pravin Chordia bought this property in the year 2000, it was still barren land. The natural forest had been destroyed, despite Sahyadri being a region that receives heavy rainfall. Dr. Chordia decided that this would be the place where he would reclaim his life by getting close to nature.

Dr. Chordia was a general surgeon who ran his own hospital in Pune. But a flourishing career of 22 years still left him feeling disturbed. The illnesses that he saw on a daily basis, the increasing dependency on medicines, and the mad rush of a city that was becoming increasingly polluted – all these made him conscious that something was not right with the way we live. “I felt we are getting alienated from nature, which is catastrophic. We cannot sustain our lives if we continue to throng our cities and shun nature. This feeling was reinforced when my son was diagnosed with asthma. I decided to change things,” he says.