Archive for the ‘News’ Category

NE set to be global organic agriculture hub

GUWAHATI: Sikkim and Mizoram are two states in the region that have embraced organic farming in a big way by saying no to chemical fertilizers and pesticides, while Meghalaya has started discovering the benefits of green farms and is discouraging the use of chemicals. Given the low usage of chemicals in farming in the whole of the northeast, policy-makers have decided to make the entire region a global organic agriculture hub.

Karnataka agriculture dept increases focus on organic farming

By Nandita Vijay,

Keeping in mind the importance of organic farming, Karnatakas agriculture department has planned to extend the organic village site programme to the hobli level, in order to increase the utilisation of organic manure for crop production.

It is now increasing services to farmers to transfer the latest technical knowledge to the farming community.

These include introduction of high-yielding varieties, imparting training to farmers to improve skills and knowledge to boost the agricultural production and productivity.

The objective of the scheme is to increase the agriculture production and productivity by adoption of farm mechanisation.

Madras HC orders waiver of farm loans to all, stops officials from penal action

CHENNAI: The Madras high court on Tuesday asked the Tamil Nadu government to waive farm loans obtained by all farmers, instead of limiting the benefit only to those owning less than five acres of land.
The court also restrained officials from initiating any penal or recovery proceedings against farmers who had defaulted on repayment of crop loans.

Organic wheat dodges mycotoxin

Prairie organic producers defied conventional wisdom last year by escaping fusarium scourge. Cody Straza doesnt understand it. Last year when fusarium head blight plagued thousands of conventional farmers in Saskatchewan, Straza and other organic farmers were seemingly protected from the fungal disease.

Straza grew kamut on his farm near Wood Mountain, Sask., and he had few issues with fusarium or the mycotoxins caused by the disease, such as deoxynivalenol (DON).

It was tested for DON and it was accepted without any question, said Straza, who is vice-president of SaskOrganics. Fusarium hasnt been a big issue this winter at organic production meetings in Saskatchewan, he added.

In the organic world its not a priority issue. People are aware of 
it but its not a hot button topic. The lack of concern is odd because fusarium and mycotoxins were a massive issue for conventional cereal growers in Saskatchewan last year.

The 2016 wheat crop was one of the worst on record for fusarium and DON levels in many crop districts on the Prairies.

HP Gov visits Zero Budget Organic Farm

Dharmshala: Governor Acharya Devvrat today visited Agriculture University Palampur in district Kangra and during his continuous three hour visit on foot to different Centers of the University; he took stocks of various activities being run by the University and also gave direction to the concerned scientists to improve the quality. He interacted with the scientists and got important inputs about their research activities.
The Governor visited Zero Budget Organic Farm working under department of organic agriculture. He expressed satisfaction, the university was doing natural farming under his mission and demonstration farms of natural farming were fully prepared. He was happy to see that the yield of natural farming was much better than organic farming, which showed that natural farming was safe and ensure better results.

Kerala farmer with the green Midas touch

Mavoor: A.N. Marakkar has always been passionate about farming. And he loves to experiment. Working by the sweat of his brow, literally, this man from Mavoor, in Kerala is blessed with a Midas touch. All that he touches turn into goldpure green gold, fresh and unpolluted.

His enduring affair with seeds and soil began at the age of 11. Its this passion that bestowed on him the tag of farmer par excellence.

Bhopal: Experts promote organic farming for more production with less investment

Burhanpur: On the second day of Dhamangaon Navratri Gramodaya fair, a seminar was organised on conventional and organic farming focusing on more production with less investment. The seminar was inaugurated by Madhya Pradesh Women and Child Development Minister Archana Chitnis.

Scientist Dr NK Tambe from Indore highlighted the method and importance of making organic residues and organic manure for organic farming. Dr Tarachand Belji from Narsinghpur described the method of preparation of organic manure pesticides and fungicides by using weeds and other plants. Prakash Singh Raghuvanshi from Uttar Pradesh spoke about the method of making indigenous seeds.

Telangana Jt Collector sets practical example to promote organic farming

Adilabad: Adilabad district joint collector Krishna Reddy has transformed the four-and-half-acre space in his camp office into a farm and practically demonstrated how to cultivate vegetables organically to earn profits. The official till date earned Rs 18000 by selling the vegetables and credited the amount to the government. He is helped by his wife in raising the vegetables.

Panel rings alarm on ‘organic’ food fakes

New Delhi, March 23: A parliamentary panel has accused government enforcement agencies of turning a blind eye to fake organic products that are sold in the domestic food market and have also drawn complaints from the European Union and the US.

The parliamentary committee on estimates said today it had recommended “stringent punishment” for entities involved in sales and export of fake organic products, but is “unhappy” with the response it has received from the Union agricultural ministry.

Centre approves unrestricted exports of organic agri products

New Delhi, Mar 31 The Union government allowed unrestricted exports of all certified organic agricultural products, a move that would help in boosting shipments.

The decision in this regard was taken in the meeting of the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The CCEA “has given its approval for removal of all quantitative ceilings on individual organic products and allowed unrestricted exports of all organic agricultural and organic processed products irrespective of any existing or future restriction/prohibition on the export of their basic product (non-organic)”.

However, the government said in view of acute shortage in the country, the quantitative ceiling on shipments of organic pulses and lentils will continue.

But the ceiling was enhanced from 10,000 tonnes to 50,000 tonnes.

Giving Up a Career in USA for Organic Farming

It is very common for people in India to go to western countries, especially the US, in search of good jobs. But how often does someone who has spent over seven years in the US return to India to start acareer as an organic farmer? Bhagath Kumar Neerudu has done his masters in business administration in the US and has worked as a computer professional with reputed clients. But he has now returned home to a career that isnt in demand and has little competition among educated professionals.

When he first mentioned the idea of becoming a farmer to his friends, they mocked him and called him a lunatic. But Neerudu did not despair and discussed the idea with his family, who were obviously surprised but did not dissuade him. Soon he moved back to India and spent time researching various methods of farming, visited various places, met numerous people, most of whom discouraged him. In a country like India, farming is, unfortunately, not considered a respectable profession. Telangana sees a high rate of farmer suicides and farmers across the country are facing difficulty and fighting for their existence. Neerudu knew that the road to his dream wasnt easy.

Acclaim for votary of organic farming

A city-based farmer has won a coveted national award in recognition of his efforts to promote organic farming with less-known techniques.

Sixty-year-old R. Raveendran of Kochulloor is one of the five farmers who have been selected for the prestigious IARI Fellow Farmer Award 2017, instituted by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) that functions under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. He was presented the award by Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Parsottam Rupala at the Krishi Unnathi Mela-2017 held in New Delhi a week ago.

An automobile engineer by qualification, Mr. Raveendran has been selected for the award for his unparalleled achievement in farming in which he has developed a model in terrace gardening with paddy, vegetables and fruit crops.

Puthimari Bapubheti farmers set an example in organic farming

Tezpur, March 26: At a time when high-pesticide laced agricultural produce from across the State, including Lalpul, Sikunmati, Bechimari and Kharupetia areas of Darrang district, is flourishing in the vegetable market, thereby creating health concerns, the farmers of Puthimari Bapubheti and its adjoining areas have been able to create records with production of organic vegetables on the bank of the River Brahmaputra under the Bihaguri development block in Sonitpur district.

Punjab Agri Export Corporation, TrendyBharat signs MOU to promote organic products

New Delhi [India], Mar 27 (ANI): Punjab Agri Export Corporation Ltd. (PAGREXCO) has signed an MOU for an Exclusive Alliance for Ecommerce Enablement of PAGREXCO in association with Trendybharat.com. Under this agreement, Trendybharat.com will market, promote and sell Punjab Agro’s organic products across India and overseas.

EU nations vote against GM crops

A majority of EU countries voted on Monday against allowing two new genetically modified crops to be grown in Europe, batting the contentious decision on GM cultivation in Europe back to the EU executive, according to two sources. EU governments were asked to vote on the future of two grades of GM maize, Pioneers 1507 and Syngentas Bt11, which kill insects by producing their own pesticide and are also resistant to a particular herbicide.

However, the votes against were not decisive in blocking their introduction because the opposition did not represent a qualified majority also including countries that make up at least 65 percent of the EU population. The governments were also asked to determine whether to extend authorisation for Monsantos MON810, an insect-resistant maize that is grown mainly in Spain, but banned in a number of other counties. More countries voted against than in favour, but again the vote was not considered decisive.

Chhattisgarh earmarks Rs 574 cr for organic farming

Subsidy worth Rs 4,227.42 crore related to agriculture, animal husbandry, horticulture, water resource, bio-technology and religious trust endowment departments for fiscal year 2017-18 was approved on Monday in the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly.

Agriculture Minister Brijmohan Agrawal said that National Krishi Mela is being organized since last two years with the objective of doubling the income of farmers, under the scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Organic Farming Mission has also been started to promote organic farming in the State. Agriculture and Horticulture Department has chalked out Five-Year Action Plan worth Rs 574 crore for implementation of this Mission in the State, he said.

Centre to have model organic village in all Punjab districts

AMRITSAR: Taking a step towards ecofriendly living, the Union government has initiated a project to make a model organic village in every district of Punjab to promote organic farming, beginning with the villages adopted by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs.

The assistant director of Regional Centre of Organic Farming, R S Harish Srivathsa, told TOI on Friday that they have begun the process of making clusters of farmers interested to adopt ecofriendly farming. He said the model organic village would set a precedent for others to follow.

Skill development training program on organic farming organised by CSIR

Lamphelpat, March 22: The North Eastern states Manipur in particular, where comparatively very less amount of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are used for agriculture, has immense potential for organic farming, Agriculture experts reiterated.

But to lack of awareness about organic food, its certification and marketing of the produce, the region which has the enough potential to carve a niche in the organic foods market, is still yet to come forward.

Otherwise the region will achieve a lot in organic food market across the globe not to speak of improving the socio-economy condition of the people. This was conveyed by Agriculture experts during a day long skill development training program on organic farming organized by CSIR: North East Institute of Science & Technology, Branch laboratory, here on Saturday.

No Name Calling Please, Give Us Evidence Which Proves GM Crops Are Safe

By Viva Kermani

Shanthu Shantharam has called my article on the problems with genetically modified seed and crop “half-baked” and in “total ignorance”. While my article, Lets be honest about GM crops was published by Swarajya on 23 February 2017, Shantharam’s ill-tempered rejoinder was appeared titled “Genetically-Modified Crops Are The Future: Here’s Why”.
Swarajya and Shantharam, himself, have presented his qualifications as being those of a scientist, however, his marked reluctance to confront the substance of the points I raised in Lets be honest about GM crops is typical of supporters of the bio-technology industry. Such supporters do science a disservice by refusing to, or side-stepping with name-calling (Shantharam’s sorry tactic with my article) the issues. Another tactic, seen in his reply, is to refer vaguely to reports from Europe or the USA and tell the reader that these are all for GM.

Dalit widow in Warangal consistently making profits from organic farming

Warangal in Andhra Pradesh has borne a morbid and consistent association with crop loss, drought, debt traps and farmer suicides. Each suicide sends households into a downward spiral of further destitution, as families struggle to survive with meagre compensation for the loss of the only working member in a household. It took Pushpa, a Dalit widow in Damera village, ten years to break the pattern.

Pushpa lost her husband when she was 22. Bikshapati, a debt-ridden cotton farmer, ended his life with a bottle of pesticide 28 years ago until then, Pushpas world had consisted of her home and farm. She cooked food for her husband and son, Sumanth, assisting Bikshapati in the farm when needed.

In 2004, an NGO in Warangal called the Sarvodaya Youth Organisation started to work with debt-ridden cotton farmers, with the objective of promoting organic farming. When they approached Pushpa to help her financial situation, she gave them no positive response. Fortunately, they didnt give up. It took time to convince Pushpa the organisation offered her organic cotton seeds, natural fertiliser and pesticide in the guarantee of harvest. They insisted that she keep away from BT seeds, chemical fertilisers and pesticides.

Cgarh made 11.23L MT of city compost during 2015-16: Centre

Chhattisgarh produced 11.23 lakh metric tonnes (MT) of city compost during 2015-16 being used as organic fertilizer, the Central Government has informed.

Notably, in the month of May last year, the Chhattisgarh Government has decided to establish composite production unit in vegetable markets of cities across the State for manufacturing organic fertilizer using fruits and vegetables.

State Urban Development Agency had issued directives to all 168 urban bodies to send information about the vegetable markets in respective areas, where significant amount of fruit-vegetable waste is found.

Notably, in February last year, the Chhattisgarh Government had also sent a proposal to the Central Government for setting up an Organic Farming Research Centre in the State.

Techie to quit job and turn organic farmer

TIRUCHY: Leaving a well paid job to pursue his passion for organic farming, this 34-year- old youth has set an example for many. From developing new software for corporate firms, M Gokul, a software engineer, has taken up organic farming in his native village in Perambalur district.
The techie who used to involve in farming during weekends and holidays earlier, is now all set to develop a self-sustainable model for organic farming in his native village. He also aims at sensitising the fellow farmers about the importance of practising organic farming methods to preserve soil fertility.

7 Fabulous Farmstays in India That Allow You to Learn Organic Farming While Vacationing!

If your idea of a farm begins and ends with Animal Farm, chances are you are not alone. While India may still be called an agricultural country, a vast number of urban dwellers have little or no exposure to life in a farm. With the rise of sustainable tourism, a number of properties have emerged around the country that offer an authentic experience of living, and even working, in the farm. Here are seven of our favourite Indian farmstays.

Sikkim Could Reap Far Greater Benefits From Organic Farming

By Athar Parvaiz

Overlooked by Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak, the tiny Himalayan state of Sikkim has achieved many distinctions in recent years, including that of being the cleanest state in India. The state has also earned praise for making its agriculture free of chemicals, achieving its target in January last year of becoming 100% organic after 13 years of sustained efforts.

Indian Startup Brings Organic Farming to Your Rooftop

Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba was heavily dependent on the USSR for petroleum, fertilizers, pesticides and farm products. But when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and eventually sanctions were imposed on Cuba, the country was left in the lurch. According to cubahistory.org, the country lost nearly 80 percent of its imports and exports and the GDP plummeted by 34 percent.

The effects were seen almost immediately. There was acute food shortage. Calorie intake fell to less than half of what it was before. In such a situation, Cubans had no choice but to grow food themselves. Tiny pockets of land emerged all across the country. What started as a concept called Organoponicos is now being replicated around the world as a sustainable urban farming solution.

Its as simple as converting your terrace, backyard or balcony into a small farm. And at a time when almost every fruit and vegetable being grown is sprayed with pesticides, what if you could control what goes into growing your food?

This is what inspired 26-year old Manvitha Reddy to start Homecrop a startup that helps you grow pesticide-free vegetables at home. Reddy designs rooftop and backyard kits that have everything you need to make your own farm at home.

The main technique used here is square foot gardening. In areas as small as 15 square feet, Homecrop gives you a kit that includes a high intensity polystyrene trough, a leak proof support structure for trellis, a shade net, a mat for drainage, garden tools, natural growth enrichers and service from the Homecrop team.