Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Guide for organic farming, courtesy Kerala Agricultural University

THRISSUR: Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) on Saturday released a document on organic farming practices, detailing cultivation methods that need to be adopted. Vice-chancellor P Rajendran said that though there were 73 agricultural universities in India, KAU was the first one to prepare such an exclusive package on organic cultivation.

Agriculture minister V S Sunilkumar – who released the document at the preparatory meeting of the forthcoming Organic World Congress (OWC) – said that his department would now depend on the document to aid organic farmers. “Kerala will be a partner at the forthcoming event in New Delhi and we will use it as a platform to showcase the state’s progress in organic farming,” he said. OWC coordinator Claude Alvares said the event is held every three years to discuss current issues.

Training sessions on organic farming held at Jammu

JAMMU: Department of Horticulture in collaboration with Regional Centre of Organic Farming (RCOF), Government of India organized training programmes on Organic Farming here on Thursday.
Dr. Chander Shekhar, Junior Scientific Officer, Government of India at Regional Centre of Organic Farming, Kissan Bhawan, Panchkula, Haryana was the mentor and Prabh Dayal was the resource person from RCOF.
Director Horticulture, Bhawani Rakwal inaugurated the training programme for officers and progressive farmers for sensitizing them on the growing needs for adoption of Organic Farming practices. While stressing on the need of Organic Farming in present day scenario of unabated use of chemical fertilizers and plant protection chemicals, the novel way of clean and simple farming can lead to a good lifestyle, he said.

Kerala opposes commercialisation of GM mustard

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala assembly passed a resolution, demanding that the Centre withdraw the decision to grant permission for production and cultivation of Genetically Modified Mustard seed for commercial purposes.

Moving the resolution, Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar said it was unfortunate that the Centre’s Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) had accorded sanction for production and cultivation of GM mustard.

Quit MBA to be an organic farmer, lifts farmers out of debt

In an age where people are chasing B-school placements and those big pay cheques, few choose to tread a different path and follow their passion.

For Raghav Baldwa, a 24-year-old from Indore, growing food organically, farming, and leading the lifestyle that it entails meant much more than pursuing a degree in business administration. And thats how Mangalam Organic Foods was born.

Experts dwell upon organic farming

Patiala, May 15 Experts from various fields related with agriculture and farmers have advocated adopting the organic farming through scientific methods to save the future of Punjab.

The experts were here to attend Innovative Farmers Meet organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The meet was a part of a campaign to promote modern farming practices. Sessions on Sustainable agriculture through organic farming and Innovations to enhance farm productivity and sustenance were organised and a meet-cum-exhibition of farm products was held on the occasion. Over 1,000 farmers attended the meet

Panacea for sustainable farming

Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. So, how is it different from conventional agriculture? Conventional farming is about monocropping one crop, one yield. Alternatives are more about diverse yields.

Production levels in both cases are not very different; its more time-dependent sometimes the yield is equal, sometimes higher, and sometimes slightly lower. But in Permaculture, we look at bonuses while introducing other elements like fodder, fuel, food, perennials, bee keeping, composting.

Urbanites to be made aware of organic farming

Giving stress on terrace farming, initiative is being taken to make urban populace aware of the techniques of cultivating organic crops in rooftops.

A unique initiative has been taken to set up a model rooftop organic farming facility at Bidhan Sishu Udyan in Ultadanga, where the West Bengal Agriculture department recently organised a three-day Jaibo Krishi Mela. If everything goes as planned, then students from different schools and colleges will be brought to have a look at rooftop farming at Bidhan Sishu Udayan where organic farming will be carried out with technical support of the West Bengal Agriculture department.

Organic farming and millets help restore soil ecosystem

With climate change wreaking havoc on agricultural land through increased temperature and water shortage, and the chemicals used in conventional farming practices only compounding the problem, sustainable organic farming and millet cultivation is the last hope to produce food without destroying the environment.

Telangana pushing for organic farming, but focus is now on giving respite to farmers

“Spurious inputs and deficit rain are the major reasons why Telangana farmers are suffering,” says Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister of Telangana, Jupally Krishna Rao while addressing the audience at the Natural Farming Summit 2017organised by the Sri Sri Institute Agricultural Sciences & Technology Trust (SSIAST) in Bengaluru.

Listing out the government programmes that are aimed at helping drought-hit farmers, Rao said that besides loan waiver programme, the government has revived 45,000 minor irrigation tanks in the last three years. The government, according to him, offers subsidy of Rs 4,500 per acre to each farmer. It is utilising MNREGA to provide support to farmers.

Thiruvananthapuram district panchayat to introduce organic farming in 1000 acres

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Thiruvananthapuram district Panchayat plans to implement organic farming in 1000 acres in the district. The project was announced during the development seminar conducted by the panchayat. The seminar, which discussed plans to the tune of Rs 115.89 crores focused on water conservation and organic farming. The projects __ Jaivasamridhi and Jalasree __ will be implemented with the support of three-tier panchayats and national rural employment guarantee scheme.

Chennai Designer Quits Job to Work For Organic Farmers

Just two years after he quit his job as an instructional designer at a multinational IT firm, Chennai-based Vishnu Vardhan is engineering a silent organic revolution in the state.

The 27-year-old has started a one of a kind rent-a-farm training programme for people interested in growing their own food in a bid to popularise organic farming.

Vishnu claims that learners will be able to not only recover their course fee at the end of the program but also earn more by selling their crops.

Major Farmer Unions Of India Reject GM Mustard

We are writing to you from the Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements, which is a network of farmers movements that is committed to dignity and self-respect for farmers. Several of our members also are part of the international peasants movementLa Via Campesina. We represent thousands of villages in South India and hundreds of thousands of farming families. Our member movements, such as Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, have taken staunch action against the giant enemies of farmers since its founding in the 1980s (For example Operation Cremate Monsanto in 1993, which created an international fervor).We have, and continue to, reject the so-called benefits of GMOs to our farmers, environment, and citizens.

US Govt Runs Propaganda Campaign To Sell GMO Safety

The recently passed US Congressional budget that averted government shutdown will allocate $3 million to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to promote the environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic and humanitarian impacts of biotech crops and genetically modified (GMO) ingredients in food to consumersmany of whom are wary of the products.

While the specifics of the campaign are yet unclear, the measure calls for the publication and distribution of science-based educational information.

According to the Washington Post, more than 50 agriculture and food industry groups said the funding is needed to counter a tremendous amount of misinformation about agricultural biotechnology in the public domain.


How a CA and lecturer duo are now transforming this Karnataka village by helping farmers

This story is of Vishalakshi Padmanabhan and Prof Kishore Kumar, and their two children. In 2008 Vishalakshi, a chartered accountant was working at a corporate company, earning ₹20 lakh per annum. Kishore taught Kannada literature in the citys Sharada College. They had two sons and a seemingly perfect life.

NITI Aayog pitches for GM seeds; RSS-linked body accuses it of serving interests of MNCs

NEW DELHI: Even as the government has been quite cautious of taking its final call on the fate of genetically modified (GM) food crops in India, its think-tank NITI Aayog has pitched for opting transgenic seeds arguing its importance in ensuring agricultural growth in the country. The Aayog, however, favoured only those varieties which are developed by Indian research institutions and companies.

Hungarians Just Destroyed All Monsanto GMO Corn Fields

Hungary has taken a bold stand against biotech giant Monsanto and genetic modification by destroying 1000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds, according to Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar.

Unlike many European Union countries, Hungary is a nation where genetically modified (GM) seeds are banned. In a similar stance against GM ingredients, Peru has also passed a 10 year ban on GM foods.

RSS dries up GM crops issue

NEW DELHI: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJPs ideological patron, has won the GM crop war with the governments premier policy think-tank Niti Aayog. In the first authoritative indication, the planning bodys draft on the three-year action plan, a copy of which is with The Sunday Standard, admits that other alternatives (to GM crops) should be explored.

KCRs Efforts to Revamp Telangana Agriculture May Not Help Alleviate Farmer Misery

Researchers and farmer groups have lauded the KCR governments proposals, but grass-roots level workers have questioned their sustainability, calling for a more holistic and eco-friendly approach instead.

Ecological farming, mantra for rich reap in Sundargarh

SUNDARGARH: Ecological farming has benefited several farmers of the district and elsewhere with many of them reaping profits through use of organic seeds.

Speaking about their experiences during the two-day Desi Chasi Sammelani here, a woman farmer, Nirmala Barla of Sundargarhs Balishankara block, said ecological farming brings more benefits and profits compared to the conventional method. By using indigenous seeds and natural manures, she managed to produce about 12 quintals of millets per acre.

Burkina Faso Ditches GE Cotton, Non-GMO Cotton Output Rises 20 Percent

By Heather Callaghan, Editor

Burkina Faso is a Western African country located under Mali.

It also happens to be Africas biggest cotton grower, so a gamble on GMOs is a risk for the whole nation.

Although Burkina Faso (BF) did in fact make that gamble already with Monsantos genetically engineered cotton variety, but reverting back to non-GMO cotton has garnered greater yields.

An industry official has since stated that the country is seeing output rising by as much as 20 percent to 820,000 metric tons in the 2017-18 season, starting this (next) month.

Odisha mulling organic farming policy for 15 districts

BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha government is working on an organic farming policy that will be implemented in 15 districts of the state in the first phase, Odisha Agriculture Minister Pradip Maharathy said on Sunday.

At several places, villagers still practice organic farming. It is a proven fact that organic farming can help increase productivity of crops. Conventional farming has not only led to crop loss, but also has several health hazards, the minister observed. “We are planning to implement the policy in 15 districts in the first phase for the smooth transition from convention to organic farming,” said Maharathy.

There will always be a seed for everyone

In the early summer month of April, around the magnificent Niyamgiri range in southern Odisha, the desi mango trees are already fruiting and mahua flowers have begun to blossom. Soon Kondh women will squeeze out the mango juice and dry it to make ambosoda, gather the mahua flowers to sell in the market while of its fruit they will make flavourful alcohol. These women have also harvested some forest turmeric and after boiling it, are beginning to dry and pound it. While the forests are replete, providing the adivasis of this area a nutritious diet in the midst of extreme heat and dryness, field work is at a lull and will only resume closer to the promise of the first rains.

Palestinian mans mission to make urban agriculture more sustainable

Around the world, urban agriculture is playing a role in feeding a growing global population from mid-America to the Middle East. This video introduces Said Salim Abu Naser, a proponent of sustainable agriculture living and working in Gaza City, Palestine along the Mediterranean Coast.

Abu Nasser has created a 200-square-meter (2,153-square-feet) micro-farm using homemade organic pest-control solutions consisting of garlic, pepper, soap and more. Each year, he produces approximately 3,500 kilograms (7,716 pounds) of food enough to feed 30 people.

Indigenous Rat Traps

Indigenous pied pipers amid lush green paddy fields to set up traps to catch rats at Swarna village in Prakasam district.

While the rice producing nations across the globe are spending millions of rupees on controlling the rat menace in paddy fields, Jangalus, a nomadic tribe from Nalgonda district (Telangana), use traditional traps made up of palm tree leaves to catch the rodents. They offer their services to farmers and earn their livelihood.A 3-member Jangalu team, who was on their way on two bicycles in search of livelihood, was spotted on the Nagarjunasagar-Nalgonda road near Haliya.Ramaesh Jangalu, a member of the team, said that he, along with his elder brother Mallaiah and 12-year-old nephew left home some 15 days ago to earn some money by offering their services to farmers. The Jangalus, residents of a hamlet near Nereducherla mandal head quarters, travel during the cropping season and visit hundreds of villages. They carry about 200 rat traps made up of palm leaves along with them.Palm leaves are safe because rats cant cut through them, he said. We place about 100 traps in each acre of land for which we get Rs. 250 per night and the farmers feed the team for the day. We carry spare clothes and take bath in the fields itself, he said.Despite the availability of modern techniques to control rodents, the Jangalus are still popular among the paddy farmers, says Assistant Joint Director Agriculture M.D. Jameel Shamed Siddique

In East Godavari, they weave a small basket using palmyra leaves. Two bamboo strips and rubber clips are fixed to the basket. Paddy is put inside the basket. Once the rodent enters the trap it will get stuck in a rubber loop and get killed. The traps are fixed usually in the afternoon and are removed next day morning. Rodent catchers Palivela Sattiraju and Chittibabu said that their business has been booming this year. According to Agriculture department officials, the rodenticide has been supplied to the farmers twice so far. In fact, 2,529 kg of rodenticide has been supplied for use in 2.52 lakh hectares.

Indian women expats promote organic farming in Dubai

Indian women expats organised an event in Dubai on Friday where they gave tips about organic farming practices. These women have formed a Facebook group named Vayalum Veedum (Farm and Home) which stresses on organic farming.

Other highlights of the programme was be speeches by Malayalam film actress Aswathy Menon and social activist Honey Bhaskaran.

In the programme, women experts gave advice on organic farming and they also supplied plants and seeds free of charge. It also discussed toxic foods, wrong dietary practices and lifestyles that cause diseases and encouraged women to keep a better lifestyle and eat healthy food.