Archive for the ‘News’ Category

School auctions organic produce to encourage farming

KOCHI: There have been several initiatives to promote organic farming at schools, but these projects often fall short when it comes to sustainability. Naipunnya Public School, Thrikkakara, has figured a way to overcome this crisis.
Here, the school auctions produce of its terrace farming among teachers and reinvest the earning back into farming.

Making lakhs from Mushroom farming

How can farmers earn extra income in a limited space through organic means?

Pragnesh Patel, an MBA graduate who became a farmer, has come up with a fantastic solution mushrooms. His small 18 x 45-foot mushroom shed is producing 700 kilos of oyster mushrooms every four months, earning him an extra Rs 4.2 lakh per year.

Only research benefiting farmers will be recognised: HP Gov

SHIMLA: Researchers and students in farm universities in the state will no longer be able get the doctorate or higher degrees on the basis of abstract and survey-based research with no link to the issues concerning the farmers on field.

Governor Acharya Devvrat, who is Chancellor of Dr Y S Parmar University for Horticulture and Forestry (Solan) and CSK Agriculture University (Palampur) and also an exponent of organic farming, has instructed the authorities concerned that only basic and applied research is promoted and its result should be visible on the ground.

Quits job to bring organic jumbo guavas to our homes

Neeraj Dhanda would have remained a software engineer all his life had he not visited the VNR nursery in Raipur, where he saw the Jumbo guava for the first time.

Neeraj was born in a farmers family in Sangatpura village of Jind district in Haryana. Although no one in his family wanted him to become a farmer, Neeraj had an instinct right from childhood that he could do well in farming.

His family was against his wish to become a full-time farmer, so Neeraj kept trying to settle down in the software world. However, due to his lack of interest in the work he was doing, the software firm he started had to bear a considerable loss. In 2004, Neeraj finally decided to quit his well-paying job and switch to full-time farming.

Initially, he stopped the traditional farming of pulses and vegetables at his farm and started growing the Allahabad safeda variety of guava.

The quality of the produce was superior to the ones available in the market, as Neeraj had grown them using organic methods. However, when he took his produce to the wholesale vegetable and fruit market, he found out that a farmer has no right to decide the price.

Neeraj had declared that he would be selling his guavas for ₹ 15 per kg, but the middlemen informed him that they were buying it at the price of ₹ 7 per kg from others and would be giving the same to him. When Neeraj did not budge, the middlemen refused to buy anything from him. As these guavas had a shelf life of only day or two, Neeraj suffered a loss and was offered only ₹ 3 per kg for the guavas.

After this incident, Neeraj concluded that farmers could prosper only if they ditch the middlemen and sell their produce directly to the consumer. Thus he decided to set up his own counter at the market after much resistance from the middlemen.

Neeraj was also in search of a fruit that would have a longer shelf life.

His quest ended at the VNR nursery, where he stumbled upon the VNR-Bihi variety of guava, which often weighs more than half a kilo and has a shelf life of longer than 15 days.

Neeraj does not sell his produce in the market and uses his website, Door Next Farm, to take orders and delivers them to the doorstep of customers.

Neeraj now has a team of 6 farmers, and his friend, Rajesh, has also recently joined him in the venture.

Neeraj claims that one can earn a minimum of ₹ 10-12 lakh per acre by growing these guavas and conducts classes to train the youth of the village.

Haldi doodh is now turmeric latte !

Sweet potato is the new avocado. It is nutrient-dense, good for the gut and much lighter on the pocket when compared to the latter. And so the indigenous shakkarkandi which we have grown up eating during winters as a spicy, salty, lemony street-side snack, will be replacing yam as part of a traditional thanksgiving dinner at Colabas fine-dining restaurant, The Table.

The humble tuber is also available in the form of toast, fritters, au gratin, mash and fries on the menus of some of the most innovative restaurants in the country.

In the past couple of years, traditional grains and produce like fox nuts or makhana, sunflower seeds, amaranth, moringa or drumsticks, millets and coconut oil have been resurrected in new avatars. The renewed interest largely follows the trends in the West which is looking at the East for identifying new health foods.

Increasingly, menus at restaurants like Bombay Canteen, Sequel, Kitchen Garden by Suzette, The Table and Masque are being built around heritage grains and fresh vegetables and produce from India and around the world.

Vandana & her struggle to take back control of seeds

Dehradun December 1, 2017 Crop varieties have been selected and reproduced over thousands of years by farmers, creating great diversity. India, for example, used to have 200,000 varieties of rice. Seeds were kept each year for replanting and exchanging in what was a free or low-cost system for many farmers.

After the end of World War II, with the sudden availability of nitrate fertilisers used in munitions and pesticides developed for protecting soldiers from lice and mosquitoes, corporations saw great opportunities in agriculture. New crop varieties were developed that responded well to nitrate fertilisers and were more susceptible to pests and diseases.

These new varieties were often hybrids that either failed to germinate in the next generation or reverted to one of their parents, meaning they have to be purchased each year. Some, however, do reproduce well, so plant breeders rights legislation, under various names, was introduced to legally prevent seed saving of those patented varieties.

Consequently, huge numbers of crop varieties have been lost as control over genetic resources is transferred from farmers to corporations.

Reviving Vegetable Diversity A seed savers guide

The book is a delight for organic farmers and gardeners who are eager to work with traditional vegetable varieties. Heavily illustrated with gorgeous colour photographs, the comprehensive text contains an extensive directory of traditional as well as rare and unusual vegetables. Each profile contains a listing of traditional bred vegetable diversity and demonstrates how to practically save and revive seeds. As growing your own produce becomes more popular, this book is most welcome, for it is certain to have the answers for almost any question relating to vegetable seed saving.

While you can bring Reviving Vegetable Diversity a Seed Savers Guide into your garden, there’s nothing like getting the advice straight fromDeepika, the author of the book. The book in its second edition contains notes in simple language; it presents the principles and practices needed for the production of pure seeds of excellent quality.

To order now contact Akshay 8970798114

Kisan Pathshalas to educate 10 lakh UP farmers on soil nutrition

BIJNOR: In a move aimed at improving soil health, the state government will be organising ‘Kisan Pathshalas’ across the state from December 5. The step was taken after the agriculture department raised the alarm over rampant use of pesticides and other chemicals in agricultural produce directly affecting the health of both soil and consumers. Experts and agricultural scientists will train selected farmers on soil health and other aspects of improved agricultural techniques.
Pesticide poisoning has been a pressing concern in the country, with more than 40 deaths reported in Maharashtra alone in October this year. More than 700 other farmers affected by the poisoning were admitted in hospital.

Thavinjal tribesmen float firm to export organic coffee

KOZHIKODE: In what be a milestone in tribal empowerment, a group of 250 tribesmen at Thavinjal in Wayanad have floated the first tribal farmer producer company in the state. The farmers under Adima (denoting primitive) Tribal Farmers Producer Company Ltd would start exporting organic coffee, grown by them, to European markets from this harvest season.
The export would be handled by the not-for-profit company Biowin Agro Research, a company set up by Wayanad Social Service Society under NABARD’s Umbrella Programme For Natural Resource Management (UPNRM).

Organic farmers tap native cotton variety

A group of organic farming enthusiasts of Perambalur have launched an attempt to revive a native cotton variety of Tamil Nadu, karunganni.

They have made a modest beginning this year raising the crop on about 40 acres in the district. Organised under a group, named Karunganni Cotton Cultivators Group, about 30 farmers keen on organic farming have raised the crop in small fields spread across the district.

The organic farmers hope to prove that by taking to the native variety, they can make as much profit as from BT cotton. Besides, by raising the native variety, farmers can produce their own seeds and need not buy expensive seeds every season, said Ramesh Karuppiah, an organic farm enthusiast, who has been acting as facilitator for the farmers.

K’taka seeks support from states to popularise millets

New Delhi, Karnataka sought support from north Indian states in popularising millets as it prepares to hold the international trade fair on the forgotten grain in Bengaluru in January.

Karnataka Agriculture Minister Byre Gowda called upon nutritionists, chefs, food processing companies and other stakeholders to spread awareness about the health benefits of millets so as to generate demand and develop the market.

“Once there is market for millets, farmers will respond. Right now, they are not keen to scale up as they are not sure of…the market,” Gowda said.

“We are advocating millets as we see huge opportunity both in domestic and global market,” he said while announcing the ‘Organics and Millets 2018’ global trade fair, to be held from January 19-21.

Why India continues to use lethal pesticides

One more evil has reared its ugly head in Maharashtras arid Vidarbha region, which has so far been infamous for farmer suicides. Some 35 farmers in the region have died of pesticide poisoning in last four months.

Most of them were working in cotton and soybean fields and had inadvertently inhaled pesticides while spraying on crops. The death toll is highest in Yavatmal district, where 18 farmers died between July and the first week of November. Similar incidents have also been reported from Nagpur, Akola and Amravati districts.

Goverdhan village gets award for environment conservation

Thane, Nov 23 (PTI) The Govardhan Eco Village, set up by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in Palghar district, has won an award for its contribution in preserving the environment.

It received the Acqa Congress award, instituted by Aqua Foundation Group in the category of green housing- social sector in New Delhi earlier this month, a release issued by ISCKON said.

The village, at Wada taluka, is located 108 kms north of Mumbai at the foothills of the Sahyadri mountains.

Biodynamic farming to solve India’s agricultural woes

When 29-year-old Nasari Chavhan took to the stage at the Organic World Congress (OWC) – an international conference dedicated to organic farming – held on the outskirts of Delhi in the second week of November, it was little expected that the diffident young woman andan Adivasi (tribal) from the interiors of the western Indian state of Maharashtra, would end up as one of the prized speakers at the event.

Chavhan is a farmer from Akola, a district known for two things: cotton production and farmer suicides. The suicides are caused by an endless cycle of debt, drought and low yields. And as with all other agricultural families from the area, Chavhan’s father was deep in debt when she took over his farm.

About seven years ago, she attended a workshop on biodynamic farming organized by SARG Vikas Samiti, a non-profit organization that promotes biodynamic agricultural systems in India.

Bringing organic produce from the lap of nature to your home

Just Organik aims to make organic food more accessible and affordable to the consumer, and create new opportunities for farmers by motivating them to adopt organic farming practices.

Launched in 2013 by Pankaj Agarwal and Sandeep Agarwal, Just Organik started out from the basement of Pankajs home. Today, the brand operates out of two offices in Delhi and Rudrapur, along with a processing unit based in Delhi.

Currently, Just Organik offers products across a range of categories, including pulses, millets, cereals, spices, sweeteners, oils and tea among others. The brand has been certified by India Organic, USDA and EU organic standards, and is also recognised by DIPP, Government of India, under the Start Up India initiative.

Cattle to meet manure needs can aid farmers in distress

Baskaran, a young farmer, owns a very small patch of land of two acres. He growsgroundnut in 1.5 acres and cultivates different kinds of vegetables like snake gourds, bitter gourds and seasonal vegetables on the rest of the land.

For the last ten years, he has been cultivating the entire area using organic methods andhas inspired around 15 farmers in his villageto do the same.

He has three native cows primarily for making farmyard manure using their dung and urine. About 50% of his farm manure needs are met by this and the remaining he purchases from the local market.

Vizag-based start-up trains farmers for organic food

Visakhapatnam: Vizag-based start-up 19Farms teaches farmers the traditional way of farming. The process is based on Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) model introduced by Indian agriculturist Subhash Palekar. The company also procures the organic produce from them and provides marketing support and technical assistance to them. The ZBNF model is a holistic method of farming in which farmers enrich the soil fertility using natural bio-degradable components such as cow-dung, urine and friendly earthworms to grow healthy plants within zero-budget.

Left His Job to Fight Against Chemicals in Farming

It was in 2012 when Pawan Tak visited a hospital in Ajmer and came across a girl who had tried to commit suicide by drinking a harmful pesticide. This incident changed his entire course of life!

The family belonged to a remote village. The doctor wanted to know the name of the chemical that the girl had consumed so that they could start the treatment. I coordinated with the doctor and her parents and gave him the information. The girl had consumed two capfuls of a pesticide used by most farmers and was in a critical situation. I kept thinking about what happens to those who consume vegetables and fruits that are grown by using tonnes of this poison, says Pawan.

However, Pawan was never encouraged to take up farming. To find a midway between his passion and his fathers wish, Pawan opted to complete a bachelors degree in agriculture and decided to take up a job after that. However, when he saw a girl dying of pesticide and thought about the ill-effects of it on everyone who eats chemically grown vegetables, he felt a responsibility to put an end to this.

He began to research the ill effects of chemicals in agriculture. According to him a formal degree in agriculture only gives knowledge about the positive effects of chemicals in farming, completely skipping the negatives. He searched for the ancient methods of farming when chemicals did not exist, and would also meet organic farmers who had entirely given up chemicals.

Organic push to tilling

Patna: The thrill was evident on the faces of over a hundred students who took part in the organic rice harvesting festival at Tarumitra on Saturday.

For many, it was their first visit to a farm. Even teachers and other participants tried their hand at harvesting. Students from St Joseph’s Convent High School, Don Bosco Academy, May Flower School, St Michael’s High School, Litera Valley School, Veena Vidya Niketan, St Xavier’s High School and others took part.

Agriculture minister Prem Kumar inaugurated the festival. After aarti in reverence to Mother Earth, he started dhan katni in Tarumitra’s organic farm amidst harvest songs and slogans sung by students and Tarumitra officials.

Imphal opens organic store

Imphal: Manipur opened the region’s first organic store here on Monday under the Centre’s Mission Organic Value Chain Development in the Northeast.

Opening the store, named Organic Outlet, at the gate of the horticulture directorate here, horticulture and soil conservation minister Th. Shyamkumar Singh said organic food products reduce health problems.

Andhra plans big to promote organic farming

VISAKHAPATNAM: Reiterating the governments resolve of according a high priority to food security, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday said that many initiatives had been undertaken to improve the organic farming in the State. Inaugurating the first edition of the three-day AP AgriTech-Summit (Agri Hackathon) in Visakhapatnam at the APIIC Grounds on Wednesday, in the presence of Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu and a galaxy of delegates from across India and abroad, the Chief Minister said that the government was working tirelessly to make AP the top State in organic farming in India.

Traditional seeds need to be conserved for organic farming

According to popular perception, organic farming is a system where crops are grown without chemical fertilizers. What many dont know is that if a seed is genetically modified or even a hybrid variety, then the produce cannot be claimed organic. At an ongoing conference to highlight the importance of saving traditional seed varieties in organic farming, farmers and non-profits gathered to share their experiences on conserving indigenous seeds.

The conference, the 19th IFOAM Organic World Congress brought together more than 55 groups from across India, which work to save indigenous seeds. Farmers from over 15 states have displayed their seed collection till November 11. Organised by IFOAM Organics International, the conference aims to bring policy level changes to encourage community-based in-situ conservation of traditional seeds.

Encourage Telangana farmers to take up organic farming

Mahabubabad: Encourage the farmers to adopt organic farming, which will enrich the fertility of the soil without harming the environment, advised District Collector Dr Preethi Meena. She was the chief guest at a training programme for farmers on Param Paragath Krishi Vikasa Yojana (PPKVY) in Parvathagiri village of Mahabubabad district of Telangana on Tuesday.

Speaking on the occasion, the Collector said that the Central government had introduced PPKVY scheme for encouraging the farmers to adopt organic farming in their fields. There is no harm for the environment with organic farming, moreover the soil will get enriched with fertility with organic farming.

ICAR maps out best regions for organic farming in India

Nagpur: The government is planning an organic revolution for the country, and the ICAR-National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning (NBSS&LUP) has come to its aid by identifying areas holding high potential for the same.
After completing scientific research that started in 2011, the bureau along with ICAR-Indian Institute of Soil Science, Bhopal, and Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has prepared a geo-spatial digital map showing organic carbon stock in the soils of all states.

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.