Archive for the ‘News’ Category

NITI to take organic tips from Giriraj

NEW DELHI: Senior officials of think-tank NITI Aayog are making a beeline for Giriraj Singh, who owes his national recognition to his rabid anti-Pakistan and Hindutva comments, to take lessons on organic farming.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told NITI Aayog officials to consult the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, on popularising organic farming in the country.

Singh has been engaged in organic farming and has been working in Bihar to persuade farmers to adopt the farming method by making use of cattle stock, said an official. The minister believes cow urine is a better alternative to fertiliser and five times more productive if used after processing.

Make own strategy to double farmers income: centre to states

New Delhi: Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh on Tuesday urged states to chalk out their own strategy to achieve the target of doubling farmers income by 2022.

The centre has already come out with a four-volume report suggesting ways to boost farmers income, which states will have to study and see how it can be best implemented in each state, he said. Not only does crop productivity need to be raised, but also focus on allied farm activities like timber cultivation and honeybee cultivation is required, he added. Addressing a two-day national conference to evolve a sowing strategy for the upcoming winter (rabi) season, Singh said, The governments aim is to increase productivity and ensure farmers get the remunerative price for their produce.

Bihar all set to get organic farm corridors

From October onwards, officials of Bihars agriculture department have been told to start working on creating an organic corridor along the banks of Ganga and the national highways passing through the state.

The states Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, agreed to the proposal at a review meeting and identified organic farming as a core area that needs to be promoted.

According to Hindustan Times (HT), organic farm clusters will be created along the rivers banks and the highways, and the corridor will give easy access to markets for organic farming purposes.

5 lakh farmers will go organic: Andhra CM

Visakhapatnam: Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said nearly 5 lakh farmers in the State would shift to organic farming to cut down the pesticide and fertiliser usage as well as to produce hygienic food.
He was addressing the gathering at NGT’s regional conference on environment organised by Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) and Telangana State Pollution Control Board at Visakhapatnam on Sunday.

Raj govt agrees to waive farmers’ loans up to Rs 50,000, Sikar stir called off

New Delhi: The Rajasthan government has agreed to one of the central demands of the agitating farmers in Sikar and promised to waive farm loans. The agreement was reached last night in Jaipur in a meeting between representatives of the farmers and government officials.

Vasundhara Raje government has agreed to waive farm loans of up to Rs 50,000 and has constituted a committee to look into the total size of the farm loan waiver package.
With this, Rajasthan joins Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Karnataka in waiving farm loans. What impact it will have on the state exchequer is unclear.

The other demand of the farmers was the implementation of the Swaminathan committee report of giving farmers 50% above the cost of production of food crops. This demand can only be implemented by the Union government.

The agitation that was called by farmers in Sikar has now been called off.. The road blocks set up by the farmers in more than 400 locations across Northern Rajasthan have been dismantled.

Hoping for healthy India

Twelve years ago, Satish Kumar Burra was riding high on a successful career travelling across the world while working with Cap Gemini, just a few steps away from getting on to the directorial board when a personal tragedy brought him back home. His brother, just a few years elder to him working with an IT firm, died of cancer just like that.

An active youngster, just of 34 years, who was a National champion swimmer with no history of smoking or drinking alcohol had just one vice. He enjoyed food and very often ate outside food and from what Satish could see it could only be the pesticide ridden food that we consume today that is our undoing and cause of an increased number of cancer patients.

The personal tragedy affected Satish in more than one way. He couldnt get back to his routine without reflecting on the food scene back home, which is when he made a decision. He began to grow organic grains in his agricultural land in Karimnagar with the help of his now retired father. They toiled hard, but from managing farming in the not so familiar surroundings to supplying to supermarkets and other retail outlets that was neither yielding any tangible profit nor was it serving his purpose could not be continued for long.

This is when he introduced the concept of Organic Thali (a Start-Up) wholesome lunch thali that has in addition to salad (sprouts/ boiled nuts), a sweet like millet laddu, korra payasam etc, two vegetarian curries, dal with leafy vegetable, sambar and rice all at the cost of just Rs 75. He took a space off the HITEC City road, closer to IT district, and opened his kitchen using the best industry practices of quality and cost efficiency.

Bhagwat asks RSS Shakhas to conduct organic farming camps

Jaipur, Sep 14 (PTI) RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat today asked the Shakhas, the Sangh fountainheads smallest units and the backbone of the organisation, to help bring about a change in the society by engaging more in social work.

Bhagwat said while continuing to strengthen themselves, the Shakhas should engage with other Hindu organisations to start ventures that are beneficial for the society, Bhagwati Prasad, head of RSS Rajasthan unit told reporters after a meeting addressed by their chief.

Prasad said Bhagwat suggested that the Shakhas should open family counselling centres, and hold organic farming, water conservation, plantation and health awareness camps.

GM Mustard not approved, Environment minister tells Supreme Court

The environment ministry told the Supreme Court on Friday that it has not granted approval for the commercial cultivation of Genetically Modified Mustard (GM Mustard).

The bench is hearing activist Aruna Rodriguess petition asking for a stay on the commercial release of GM mustard, which was cleared by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, Indias apex biosafety regulator, in May.

On Wednesday, Environment Minister, Harsh Vardhan told Hindustan Times that the ministry was still studying the issue. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests, headed by Congress leader, Renuka Chowdhury, had urged the ministry to postpone the decision till the committee had completed its own hearings on the matter.

Go organic, Minister tells Nilgiri tea plantation owners

Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Giriraj Singh has called upon plantation owners to adopt organic farming practices to ensure that the Nilgiris teas remained unique and environment-friendly, and also to prevent chemical fertilizer-induced diseases among plantation workers.

Addressing the annual conference of the United Planters’ Association of Southern India (UPASI) here on Wednesday, Mr. Singh said the use of large amount of chemical fertilizers cancer among tea estate workers. This had led to a rise in cancer cases among agricultural workers of Patiala in Punjab.

Stressing organic farming and conservation of water in large tea estates, the Minister said unsustainable farming practices led to the depletion of soil quality and fall in the yield and quality of teas.

Snack it right

Indians love their snacks and millets are now increasingly being consumed for good health.

The Orgtree community knew this, then, to be a perfect match and brought them together in line of pure millet-based snacks under the label Kiru (named after the Kannada word for millets kirudhanya).

The Orgtree community is trying to bridge the gap between consumers and farmers. Working with a group of over 25 farmers in the Thenkahalli village in Karnataka, which is located over 110 kilometres from Bangalore, the organisation is encouraging them to grow more millets commercially. We then procure them from the farmers and make them in the form of snacks, explains Siddhant Sarkar, who heads operations and business development for the organisation.

Kangana Ranaut to leave Bollywood and do organic farming?

Kangana Ranauts recent interview left everyone stunned. Just after the interview where she talked about Hrithik Roshan and Aditya Pancholi,she made some more revelations. Now, yet again, Kangana has made one of the boldest statements and she seemed quite serious about it! Kangana Ranaut might leave Bollywood and do organic farming. So, thats her plan B!

NCOF wants Jr Scientific officer for Organic Farming

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is inviting applications for the post of Junior Scientific Officer to be hired by National Centre of Organic Farming (NCF), Ghaziabad.

See link for details.

Voice against GM Crops

Jalandhar, September 9 Founder and Director of Kheti Virasat Mission, Umendra Dutt, who has been working in the field of organic farming and raising his voice against the Genetically Modified (GM) crops gave his views on environment.

Recently, an awareness rally against the GM sarson (mustard) was organised, where activists of different NGOs, along with the Kheti Virasat Mission, apprised people of the ill-effects of the GM crops and asked them to sign post cards that would be sent to the Prime Minister

Green Sainikpuri heralds new wave

Secunderabad: They call themselves Green Sainikpurians and live by the anthem Green Sainikpuri. Staying true to their name, 79 families got together and have taken to rooftop vegetable gardening in a big way. Each family gets 60-70 per cent of the weekly vegetable needs from the rooftop.

With twelve types of vegetable seeds, these families get their weekly supply of brinjal, tomatoes, bottle gourd, cabbage, chillies, coriander and other green leafy vegetables.

TAFE focussing on expanding Jfarm in Africa

Coimbatore, Sept 9 (PTI) Tractors and Farm Equipment Ltd (TAFE) was focusing on expanding its Jfarm, a model of integrated farm practises aimed at enhancing production and productivity, in African countries, a top company official said.

There was good potential for agriculture in some of the African countries, with good yield, particularly organic agriculture and the company wanted to expand its activities there, TAFE Chairpeson an CEO Mallika Srinivasan said.

Jfarm was successfully implemented in Rajasthan, in a replication of the pioneering efforts of the initiative in Tamil Nadu. It was beneficial to farmers of Rajasthan and subsequently to those from nearby states.

AP man leaves lucrative job to help farmers

ANANTAPUR/ VISAKHAPATNAM: Kadapas Aneel Kumar Ambavaram, holder of a Masters Degree in Organic Agriculture from the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands was not happy with his profession even after working with renowned multinational companies like Dow Agro-Sciences and Dupont for 15 years, even though he had a high-profile career and a handsome pay package.

During his trips to his motherland, in the district of Kadapa Mr Aneel realised that his work made him successful and contributed to the farmers abroad progressing, but the farmers in his native land were languishing. He began introducing the produce of the drought-hit areas of Rayalasema and Vizianagaram districts of North Andhra to the international markets. This mission proved successful and improved the financial condition of the local farmers.

This rice variety is now a sought-after brand

Ernakulam : TK Kathir is cultivated in accordance with organic farming methods in Ernakulam village

A local brand of organic rice named after a farmers grandfather and promoted by a political leader. But there is more to TK Kathir than just that.

Grown by T.D. Robert, a relatively newly converted paddy farmer of Kanjoor village, the brand was much sought after at the recently concluded organic Onam Mela organised by the Jaiva Jeevitham farming collective at Rajendra Maidan.

UP Govt to promote organic farming in 30 districts

Bareilly: So far, 11 lakh soil tests have been done and the target is 49 lakh, the UP agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi on Sunday said. In a bid to promote organic farming, the state government has selected 30 districts, including Pilibhit and Badaun from Bareilly division, where clusters of 50 acre of land will be developed for organic farming under a pilot project. Farmers in Bareilly division will get 893 such pumps.To ensure soil health, each and every field will have a soil card. Seeing the success of solar pumps for irrigation, the government has decided to set up 10,000 more pumps at a cost of Rs 200 crore. He added that for the next three years, the government would spend Rs 15 lakh on each cluster every year.

Sikkim CM gets One World Award for work in organic farming

Gangtok: Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling was honoured for his pioneering work in the field of organic farming during a ceremony at Germanys Lagau on the occasion of the One World Festival.

Chamling was conferred the Grand Prix Award during the One World Award ceremony on September 8 at a mega event attended by nearly 700 guests who had arrived from different countries, said a statement.

7-point plan on anvil to double farmers income: Union agriculture minister

Increasing productivity is a key component of the strategy formed by the ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare in order to double farmers income by 2022, Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh wrote in a blog post on his personal website on Friday.

For the first time, a Prime Minister has put such a target in front of the nation for the welfare of farmersThe ministry is working on a seven-point Strategy to double farmers income by 2022. We are working in a planned manner. The first point is to increase productivity,he wrote.

Do farmers markets in cities really benefit farmers?

In the Indian context, any discussion around marketing agricultural produce of farmers begins with depressing statistics. It tells us of loss of so many thousand tons of fresh produce rotten and wasted in the post-production and post-harvest cycle. It is then argued that the country needs to invest heavily in post-production infrastructure and ensure reforms in the marketing of agricultural produce so that farmers have options to sell outside the existing channels of agricultural produce marketing committees (APMC), popularly known as mandis.

Some experts even go a step further in arguing that farmers should actually time their produce and produce what the market wants. They propagate dreams such as from farm to the fork or plough to plate. While these are important macro-economic discussions, a small experiment is underway in Pune for the past one year. These are weekly farmers markets that are now catching the attention of the current and aspiring political class too, besides getting increased patronage from both farmers and urban consumers.

To a rural citizen, this urban phenomenon of a weekly market might not sound interesting at all. There are thousands of weekly markets, popularly known as rural haats, which are organized in each and every corner of the country. A weekly haat offers time and space to hundreds of small and marginal farmers and other small and micro-enterprises to market their agricultural produce week after week. The place and time is pre-determined. Some of the hawkers move from one day to another day to market their produce. The same concept seems to be catching up in cities such as Pune.

Forum of, by and for organic farmers sows ideas, reaps benefits in Karnataka

MANGALURU: Picture overworked farmers hauling organic produce in small, rickety trucks to the market. At the end of the day, they may not get a good price for their produce. But all this is changing quietly in this region with a CSAlike initiative which started four years ago. This community supported agriculture (CSA) collective, a grassroots organisation based in local, organic farming in Mangaluru, acts as a bridge between farmers and consumers. Working together, they not only increase their market reach, but also increase the variety and consistency of the products they supply to markets.

Initiative to promote organic products

Some 16 farmers under a city based organisation, Rythu Mitra, came together to sell their organic produce under a first-of-its-kind initiative of Organic Farmers Market organised by Women in Society through Engagement (WISE), a newly formed womens wing of the Vizagapatam Chambers of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) here on Sunday. The initiative saw an overwhelming response from visitors.

From vegetables and fruits to a variety of flavoured honey and products for home gardening assistance, the organic market came as a one-stop-solution for health conscious people who seek to eliminate the presence of pesticides from the food chain by going organic.

Soil health improves with organic farming in long and short terms

When we think of nature at its vibrant best, our tendency is to think of tall trees, charismatic mammals, reptiles or a coral reef. The ground beneath our feet rarely makes the cut. A humble mixture of minerals, organic matter, gases, liquids, and thousands of organisms ranging from tiny bacteria to foot-long earthworms, the top soil nurtures life as we know it. It provides water and nutrients for plants to grow, making it critical for agriculture.

Better quality soil ensures better yields; and exactly for this reason, we have been manipulating the natural soil with the reckless use of chemical fertilizers that provide additional nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK), leading to over fertilization and diminishing yields. The short-term increase of yield in response to added chemical fertilizer was encouraged previously to gain food self-sufficiency in developing countries like India. However, continuous use of chemicals in the intensive (aka conventional) farming system also caused slow down (or fatigue) in productivity because of a declining response to applied chemical fertilizers, points out Dr. Debjani Sihi, a researcher at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, USA.

Okra in a cement bag: former cop is now an innovative organic farmer

Raju Ganiga, 53, is a public works department inspector in Karnataka and an innovative farmer.

He cultivates paddy, areca, and coconut on his farm in the coastal town of Kundapur via traditional farming methods, as reported by the Bangalore Mirror. But, its how he chooses to grow okra, or ladies finger that is interesting in cement bags.

Raju fills the bag up to a feet with mud and manure and sows the seeds in them. Cement sacks are made using a resilient type of plastic and are able to survive rough filling, conveying, and loading conditions. These sturdy sacks prevent water stagnation and are ideal in regions that receive heavy rainfall.