Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Birds suffer ‘collateral damage’ as pesticide use booms in Kutch

Acres after acres of land, developed into fruit orchards of different kinds, break the wiry brown monotony of the Kutch landscape in Gujarat. This ‘transformation’ of the semi-arid land has been in the making for the last decade and has brought in much cheer to the farmer communities who have replaced their traditional crops with horticultural produce, thereby garnering a good margin of profit. What is almost going unnoticed, however, is the concurrent increase in the use of pesticides for these plantations that is affecting the local bird population, including the endangered Great Indian Bustard.

According to Falgun Modh, deputy director of the Gujarat horticulture department, in the period 2007-2017, the total fruit-growing area has increased from 59,000 acres to 100,000 acres in Kutch. “The total fruit production has trebled to 10 lakh (1 million) tonnes,” he said. With the government offering 70 percent subsidy on drip-irrigation that addresses the problems of water scarcity and saline groundwater, farmers are obviously happy at the profits garnered by making more space for fruit trees such as pomegranate, mango, papaya, even banana. While dates are a part of the local flora, there are more varieties introduced.

This growth in horticultural produce, however, has not spelt good news for the local bird population, according to Kutch-based ornithologist Jugal Tiwari. “The increase in the use of pesticides in fruit farms is depleting the overall insect and bug population, which is in turn affecting the bird population because that is their food source,” he said.  Kutch has nearly 375 species of birds, including raptors, waterfowl, waders and lark. It is also one of the last remaining abodes of the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard (GIB). Most of these bird species are insectivorous.

“Governments are Starting to See that Organic Food Policy Works”

ROME, (IPS) – Many countries and farmers around the world are not readily making the switch to organic farming. But the small Himalayan mountain state of Sikkim, which borders Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan, is the first 100 percent organic farming state in the world.

Earlier this month, Sikkim, won the Future Policy Award 2018 (FPA) for being the first state in the world to declare itself, in 2015, 100 percent organic.

Its path towards becoming completely organic started in 2003, when Chief Minister Pawan Chamling announced the political vision to make Sikkim “the first organic state of India”.

Goa govt to set up centre of excellence for organic farming

Panaji, The Goa government will set up a Centre of Excellence for organic farming to encourage farmers to stop using fertilisers and adopt conventional methods, Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai said on Wednesday.

The government has already floated an expression of interest (EIO) inviting bids from international companies for the project, he said.

“The centre of excellence is being created so that people will see and believe the plus points of organic farming,” Sardesai said.

Seed savers, forest food on display at 4th Kisan Swaraj Sammelan in Ahmedabad

The fourth edition of Kisan Swaraj Sammelan to be held in Ahmedabad from November 2 to 4 will have seed savers from over 15 states displaying the rich agro-diversity wealth of India. It will also have farmers and other organisations showing over 4000 varieties of crops apart from forest foods. A khadi and spinning workshop and a kitchen gardening workshops are also in the offing at the sammelan which is being held at Gujarat Vidyapith.

Kapil Shah of Jatan that works to promote organic farming and is one of the host organisations said that the sammelan is aimed at giving people a confidence in farming. “We want policy-makers, farmers, common people and everyone else to see that sustainable farming is a viable operation and that it is the answer to our unhealthy, weather prone conditions.”

He said that over 1000 delegates from 20 states will be taking part in the biennial event as part of the 150th year of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth celebrations.

3-Feet-Long Carrots to Cauliflowers that Weigh 25 kg! Meet 4 Innovative Farmers

Sitting on his haunches amidst the cauliflowers growing on the field bed on a September afternoon, Jagdish Prasad Parikh talks proudly about his crop, which has given him an entry into the Limca Book of Records.

One day, he plans to enter the Guinness Book of World Records.

A farmer since 1970, he mainly grows cauliflower as an intercrop on his 2-hectare plot, among fruit trees like pomegranate, lemon, wood apple, karonda (Bengal Currant) and rose—using self-made organic fertilisers and pesticides.

Turning land into farming gold mines

KOCHI: At a time when land has become one of the most critical inputs for economic development, the district administration in association with the Tourism and Agriculture departments have started ‘Samrudhi’, a project to reclaim unused residential plots in the city and convert them as arable land. This programme has been linked with the district administrations’ project — C power 5 (Change for Change Climate Change) that aims at promoting a sustainable lifestyle to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The Samrudhi project is the extension of C power 5’s Udhyanam project which aims to clean major dump sites in Thiruvananthapuram district and propagate the practice of sustainable waste management system and implementation of green protocol. The main activities in Udhyanam include segregating organic and inorganic waste, converting the organic waste to grow bags and later being transported to material recovery centres.

Agri-budget enhanced by 74.5%: Radha Mohan

Union Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh has said  that with an aim to double farmers’ income, the budget outlay of the agriculture sector has been enhanced by 74.5% to Rs 2,11,694 crore during 2014-2019 as compared to Rs 1,21,082 crore during 2009-2014.

On the occasion of inauguration ceremony of Krishi Kumbh 2018 organised in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh today he said that the Government is implementing various schemes to ensure higher gains for farmers.

Kudumbashree to bring 800 acres under organic farming in district

The district unit of Kudumbashree Mission has launched a programme to bring 800 acres under organic farming to obtain certificate for the produce which will include vegetables, banana and paddy. An official of the Kudumbashree Mission said 16 clusters had already been identified for the purpose under the 14 blocks in the district.

The organic farming programme is being undertaken in collaboration with the Manarkad Social Service Society, which will provide training to the farmers as well as help in obtaining organic certification for the produce. The official said Kudumbashree’s group of artistes under Rangashree was organising street plays across the district to spread awareness about organic farming.

Assam Governor felicitates pioneers of organic farming in State

Assam Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi on Tuesday felicitated progressive farmers Nabanita Das and Deepika Rabha in recognition to their inspiring role in the field of organic farming at a function held at conference hall in Raj Bhavan in Guwahati.

Speaking on the occasion, the Governor said that the activities of Nabanita Das and Deepika Rabha have the potential to change the fate of organic farming in Assam in myriad ways.

Championing seasonal produce, Zama Organics brings fine dining into your kitchen

Himalayan barnyard, kodo and proso varieties of millets, a range of alternative flours ranging from cassava to raw banana, virgin avocado oils, organic baby carrots in various colours—this could be the pantry of dreams for hipsters, health enthusiasts and the organic food brigade as well as those interested in exploring India’s diverse produce.

Zama Organics is the latest entrant in the growing organic food start-up sector of India. The initiative of Mumbai-based Shriya Naheta, 25, this food portal launched operations in February with fresh produce like salad leaves and exotic vegetables from an organic farm in Pune.

Andaman steadfast for organic farming in isles

Port Blair The UTATMA in association with Department of Agriculture, has organized “Farmer- Scientist Interactions – on Organic Farming” at Tushnabad Gram Panchayat on Saturday. Mr Dashrath Verma, Up-Adhyaksh, Zilla Parishad, South Andaman, graced the occasion as chief guest and requested the farmers to focus on Organic Farming. Ms. Jasinta Mary, Pradhan, Tushnabad and Mr Mr Sudheer Chandra, Zilla Parishad Member and Smt Ratan Kumari Member Panchayat Samiti also expressed their happiness and views towards organic farming.

Mr R Y Singh, Director of Agriculture, A & N Islands appreciated the Panchayat and the farmers step towards Organic Farming. Speaking on the concepts and prospects of organic farming, highlighted the harmful effects of chemical fertilizer and pesticides on human health. Further suggested to follow mixed cropping system for better production and minimal cost of cultivation. Explaining about the waste decomposer, he shared that more farmers are utilizing and getting benefit from it.

J&K Horticulture Dept organises training on PGS-India

Jammu and Kashmir Department of Horticulture organized a Training Programme on “Organic Certification through Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India)” in technical collaboration with Regional Centre for Organic Farming (RCOF) Panchkula here at its Directorate office.

Director Horticulture, Anuradha Gupta   chaired the Programme.Dr. Shahina Tabassum, Scientific Officer from RCOF Panhkula was the Resource Person in the Programme which was attended by Joint Director Horticulture Jammu S. Tarvinder Singh, Chief Horticulture Officers, Divisional/District Level Officers of Jammu Division besides progressive Orchardists. Dr. Shahina briefed the participants about the Organic Certification and gave a Power Point Presentation about the procedure involved in the Certification through Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India).

Govt working on new agri export policy to boost farmer’s income: Suresh Prabhu

The centre is working on a new Agriculture Export Policy as part of its efforts to double farmers’ income, minister of commerce and industry and civil aviation Suresh Prabhu said in New Delhi on Thursday.

The government, he said, is preparing agro specific zones under the new Agriculture Export Policy which will be unveiled soon.

The minister was speaking at the inauguration of ‘Biofach India’, which is the world’s largest event on organic industry. The event is jointly organised by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and Indo-German Chamber of Commerce.

Foreign buyers show keen interest in Indian organic food products at BIOFACH 2018

New Delhi, (KNN) Foreign buyers from China, South Korea, Vietnam, Mexico, and European Union have evinced keen interest in Indian organic food products to cater to increasing consumption levels in their own countries.

Foreign buyers from various countries including 50 buyers invited by Agricultural Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) currently visiting the ongoing three-day Biofach 2018, the largest organic event of the country, are showing keen interest in Indian organic products including tea, spices, honey, basmati rice, coffee, cereals, dry fruits, vegetables, processed foods and medicinal plants, according to a press release by APEDA.

Mahila Kisan Divas celebrated at Rampur

The ICAR-Krishi Vigyan Kendra, N & M Andaman, celebrated Mahila Kisan Divas on Monday at Panchayat Hall, Rampur in North Andaman. The programme was inaugurated by Smt Nachiammal, Pramukh, Panchayat Samiti, Mayabunder in the presence of Naw Seviah, Pradhan, Rampur, Saw Father Setae, Dr. B.L Kasinath, Sr. Scientist and Head, KVK, N & M Andaman and PRI members.

World Food Day celebrated at Rangat

World Food Day 2018 was celebrated on Tuesday in Rangat Zone in a befitting manner in association with Agriculture Technology Management Agency and Nehru Yuva Kendra, Rangat. On the eve of this day an awareness programme with the theme “Ours Actions are our Future: A Zero Hunger World by 2030 is Possible” was organized at Yeshua Training Academy, Rangat. Mr Anil Bepari, UP-Adyaksh, Zilla Parishad, N &M Andaman was the Chief Guest on the occasion and inaugurated the programme. The chief guest appealed that all the people not to waste food and contribute some amount to the needy and hunger people. He also requested all the people to come together to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030.

Festival to celebrate women farmers, boost organic culture in India, says Maneka Gandhi

To empower rural women and promote organic farming and entrepreneurs, the Women and Child Development Ministry is organising an organic culture festival, Union minister Maneka Gandhi said.

The fifth edition of the Women of India Organic Festival will be held from October 26 to November 4 at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.

“The move aims to empower women to boost organic culture and promote women organic farmers and entrepreneurs,” Maneka told reporters.

The WCD minister said over 500 women entrepreneurs from across the country would be participating in the 10-day-long festival. They will have the opportunity to exhibit and sell their organic products such as cereals, rice, pulses, skin-care products, fabric and jewellery.

Imported masoor, moong dal induced with hazardous herbicide: FSSAI

India’s apex food regulator, the Food Safety and Standards of India (FSSAI) has finally woken up to ensure Indians do not consume the highly toxic lentils imported from countries like Canada and Australia. The lentils such as masoor dal and moong dal are said to be induced with hazardous herbicide Glyphosate which is being used indiscriminately by farmers in some countries to clear weeds in the crop.

While India is yet to have its own standards for herbicide Glyphosate residues in lentils despite importing over 5 million tonnes of pulses, it has now, for the time being, decided to follow the international parameters to ensure that the pulses being sold and imported in the country  are safe for consumption.

Agricultural University offering course on organic farming

GUNTUR: The Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU) is offering a three-month certificate course at the colleges affiliated to the varsity in all the 13 districts state.

Classes for the first batch, to be held on Friday of the third week of every month, will begin on November 10. Professors and experts at the select institutions will teach candidates the basics of organic farming. The Krishi Vignana Kendrams will be organising classes for the same at Amudalavalasa (Srikakulam), Raasthkuntabai (Vijayanagaram), Vundi (West Godavari), Ghantasala (Krishna), Lam (Guntur), Darsi (Prakasam), Nellore, Vutukuru (Kadapa), Kalikiri (Chittoor) and Reddypalem and Kalyanadurgam (Anantapur).

Araku tribals fight deforestation threat with gourmet coffee

Bangkok: Once forbidden by colonialists from cultivating coffee, indigenous people in southern India have won a prestigious award for their bean, which they farm while fighting deforestation.

Araku Valley Coffee won gold in the Prix Epicures OR Award in Paris earlier this month. The beans are grown by Adivasis – or “original inhabitants” – of southern Andhra Pradesh state through a cooperative set up by the Naandi Foundation.

The organic farming model has benefited more than 45,000 Adivasi families, with profits from the high-grade coffee put into schools, healthcare and other needs of the remote community, according to Manoj Kumar, who founded Naandi.

Sikkim CM calls for global effort to make agriculture organic by 2050, gets UN award

Rome: Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling on Monday called for global cooperation to make agriculture totally organic the world over by 2050, citing the achievement of his Himalayan state in north-east India.

Addressing a news conference at the Chamber of Deputies in the Italian Parliament, Chamling said to heed the warnings of climate scientists about impending dangers, the world must adopt farming without chemical fertilisers and pesticides as that would help reduce carbon emissions by 50 per cent.

India celebrates the day dedicated to women on farm

15th October is celebrated as National Women Farmer’s Day or Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas’ in India. Every year, on this day of activities and programmes, are organized – mainly to empower women in the field of agriculture. But, before celebrating and discussing the role of women in agriculture, it is necessary for all of us to think about certain things. What is the position of women in the field of agriculture? Women have always been an important part of agriculture not only in India but all over the world, then why all of a sudden, new schemes and initiatives are being launched for women in this field? Women empowerment is always discussed in all the booming sectors, then what triggered the need of empowered women agriculturists now?

‘Local Food First: Towards Zero Hunger’

DIMAPUR,: Naga women farmers of Phek, Dimapur and Kohima districts along with members of the Self Employed Women Association (SEWA), Nagaland and the North East Network (NEN) have issued the Chizami Declaration, urging the government and local authorities (village councils in particular) to address challenges to indigenous food and farming systems in the context of climate change.

Delhi teen helps grow 6000+ trees, raise farmer incomes in Vidarbha by 25%!

Aarnav Agarwal is only 17, but his work in the last three years has been instrumental in saving hundreds of farmers from losing hope in the Vidarbha belt after they suffered crop failures.

UjjBhav, short for Ujjwal Bhavisha (meaning ‘bright future’), is a unique mentorship programme that the teenager started. It not only aims to get to the root of the agrarian crisis but also helps farmers with their issues, earn profits and become self-sufficient.

Speaking to The Better India, the 17-year-old recalls the beginning of his journey, “I still remember reading a newspaper article three years ago. It spoke about how farmer suicides constituted 11.2% of the total suicides in India. It rattled me.”

It all began when he visited Vidarbha, also known as the epicentre of farmer suicides in India. Even as young as 14, Aarnav knew that he wanted to do something to alleviate their problems.

MP woman turns organic farmer, helps village go chemical-free & now earns lakhs

Lalita was born in the small village of Sirsala in the Manawar tehsil of Dhar, Madhya Pradesh. And even though her parents, late Shankarlal Patidar and mother Shakuntalabai Patidar were farmers by profession, she was never forced to follow in their footsteps. Instead, they encouraged her to pursue her education.

At the age of 19, Lalita was married to Suresh Chandra Mukati. When she expressed a desire to study beyond class 12 at her marital home, her late father-in-law, a champion of women’s education, enrolled her in the open university where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Arts.

This was the same man, who at the age of 25, had given up all the gold in the household for the soldiers fighting the Indo-China war, recalls Lalita.

And while her degree in arts may have little to do with the agricultural field, she is an award-winning organic farmer, who apart from handling the day-to-day activities of her own farm, has also formed an association of 21 women to promote the boons of chemical-free farming.

Situated in the Borlai village of Barwani district, she has freed over 36 acres of farmland from the clutches of chemical pesticides, where she grows all kinds of crops, ranging from amla, custard apple, banana, lemon, maize, cotton, wheat, soybean, chickpea, sapota, etc.