Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Farm-friendly pests come to farmers’ rescue

Amritsar, The increasing concern regarding agricultural distress and degrading farm health has put emphasis on adopting farm-friendly practices. With many farmers switching to natural farming, new techniques are being adopted to improve soil health and results are encouraging for some. Experts in the field are reaching out to more with knowledge about more natural methods of farming, the latest being using friendly pests to replace pesticides and improving nutritional value of soil.

With Khalsa College establishing the first laboratory in the city to raise farm-friendly pests, regular workshops are being conducted to educate farmers about using insect species to save crop from damage. “Biological pest control has its benefits for ensuring high-yield crop and also rejuvenating the soil. With techniques like trachoderma for controlling soil pathogens, farmers are learning new ways to combat crop infestation,” says Rajvir Singh, an organic farming expert.

Darjeeling’s tea king wants an organic agricultural revolution

Life is chaos; the world is chaos, according to Rajah Banerjee. “The only constant is change. What are we doing here and where are we going? We need to answer these questions to be free, to find our way.”

This is hardly the way one might expect a Darjeeling tea-plantation owner to introduce himself. Banerjee, 70, took over his father’s Makaibari Tea Estate in 1970, creating what has been described as the world’s most expensive tea: It retailed for $1,850 per kilogram in 2014.

Kesar mangoes’ journey from Gujarat to South Korea

RAJKOT: Gir’s Kesar mango has already crossed the border since long but now this Mango will enter into Korean peninsula. South Korea is in the process to import Gujarat’s famous Kesar mango. They had fixed stringent quality standard regarding the cultivation of the crop and representatives of the South Korea’s trade and government came to Gir to see that the standard are maintained.

Rain shelter farming fetches this Kerala cop 12 kilos of veggies every day!

Rain shelter cultivation has become quite a rage in Kerala in recent times.

While one of the primary reasons could be that the method is being used as a measure to cut down on the contamination of commercially-grown food crops by fertilisers and pesticides, and is also a great way of bolstering family farming.

Quite similar to a greenhouse, rain shelters are naturally ventilated and put together using GI (Galvanised Iron) pipes, wooden or bamboo poles with roofs made up of a transparent UV-stabilised low-density polyethylene film that accentuates crop cultivation within your premises around the year.

Organic & conventional way forward

TRICHY: At a time when more farmers are abandoning the conventional method and plumping for organic farming, a farmer from Lalgudi has taken the middle path so as to tap the positive aspects of both. A Vetrivel, 48, says a judicious mix of organic and conventional methods could work wonders in agriculture.

The seeds of suicide: how Monsanto destroys farming (and the lives of farmers)

By Vandana Shiva

Monsanto’s concentrated control over the seed sector in India as well as across the world is very worrying. This is what connects farmers’ suicides in India to Monsanto vs. Percy Schmeiser in Canada, to Monsanto vs. Bowman in the US, and to farmers in Brazil suing Monsanto for $2.2 billion for unfair collection of royalty.

Through patents on seed, Monsanto has become the “Life Lord” of our planet, collecting rents for life’s renewal from farmers, the original breeders.

“MP is committed to saving nature, development”

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that the Madhya Pradesh Government is fully committed towards environment and river conservation. The work of saving nature along with development is being undertaken on top priority. He instructed to take adequate measures to protect the saplings planted under Narmada Seva Mission in the summers. Chouhan was reviewing the progress of works completed under Narmada Seva Mission at the Mantralaya on Monday.

The CM said that Narmada Seva Mission will be completing one year on May 15. On this occasion a meeting of Narmada Seva Samitis should be organized in which citizens should be given a report on the progress made in its works.

Centre may incentivise traditional farming methods like yogic farming, gou mata kheti: Report

The government is planning to give incentives to farmers who take up traditional farming methods like yogik farming, rishi krishi, and gou mata kheti, according to a report by Mint. 

These happen to be ancient practices with little or no scientific evidence to prove they are beneficial, the report stated.

The scheme will be rolled out under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), Mint reported, adding that farmers who adopt these methods will be eligible for assistance of Rs 48,700 per hectare for a three-year period from the government.

“Pesticide use led to increase in vascular diseases”

NAGPUR: Excessive use of pesticides has led to increase in vascular diseases and other health hazards. Although science has not been able to prove it, researchers said farmers have observed this phenomenon, said Dr Ulhas Jajoo, director professor at the department of medicine at Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram, on Sunday.
In his keynote address on ‘Chemical pesticides and related health issues’ delivered on the concluding day of ‘Beejotsav’ held at Mure Memorial Hospital, Jajoo gave examples of lifestyle followed a few decades ago where man was free of the vicious circle of pesticides and compared how the lifespan was gradually decreasing.

Biodiversity campaigner from India addresses ‘Earth Talks’

Dr Vandana Shiva, a world-renowned environmental activist and biodiversity campaigner, recently gave her first ever public talk in Qatar as part of ‘Earth Talks’ programme, organised by Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar (AYCM-Q),  in partnership with Qatar National Library.
On the invitation of AYCM-Q, Dr Vandana Shiva was back to Qatar after 18 years, and she showed no sign of fatigue and her commitment to protecting the biodiversity remained as strong as ever.

Shabri farms in Sawai Madhopur: An organic oasis in Rajasthan

Motivational quotes written on benches greet you as soon as you enter Shabri Farms in Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan. They talk of hope in the midst of darkness and despair. What owners Shrilal Meena and Jaskaur Meena are doing on about 16 acres of their farmland is quite similar – insisting on organic produce and dairy when pesticides and chemical fertilisers are a way of life among most farmers. Interestingly, Shrilal Meena is no farmer. A former LIC official, he and his wife, a former district education officer, took to organic farming after retiring. They had a small parcel of land initially, but bought small pockets from other farmers to finally end up with 16 acres. Seeing the ghastly effects of pesticides and chemicals, they decided to go organic. The soil in the farm was upturned and fresh soil from nearby forests was spread on the farm. A few years later, they are a shining example for other farmers in the region.

From farm to fashion

It’s the age of sustainable fashion. Needless to say, India’s first organic farm to sustainable fashion brand—Ethicus—is making all the right noises. After a successful debut at the Lakme Fashion Week last year, the Pollachi-based brand returned to woo Delhiites with its spring exhibition last month. The brand’s second outing comprises three new collections of saris and ready-made blouses showcasing weaves made from organic cotton—All-Day Elegance, Ratan, and Made by Hand

‘Ezhilam’ to redefine eco-friendly tourism

Kannur: The Ezhom Service Cooperative Bank here is on a mission to declare their village as organic village and also to promote environmental-friendly tourism initiative, Agro River Sustainable Tourism, in the place, which is known for its organic paddy fields, kaipad lands, river, varieties of mangroves and a pristine landscape.

India, Nepal to boost agricultural cooperation

India and Nepal have agreed to give momentum to bilateral cooperation in agricultural sector for the benefit of farmers of both the nations, an official statement said.

Ditch the regular destinations for these sustainable holiday options

Be it the Himalayas, Spiti Valley, Ladakh, or even Karnataka and Odisha, experiential and eco-travel options have are attracting people of all ages.

With the Internet and social media playing a great role in the dissemination of information, people are travelling more than ever before. People from various age groups, even from smaller towns, are choosing experiential travel as an investment on gaining a fresh perspective, for personal growth and holistic enlightenment.

One Onion weights 300 grams – A Miracle occurs in Asrawad Bujurg

Enforcement officers to seize banned non-organic food items

Gangtok, Apr 3 (PTI) The Sikkim government has decided to designate enforcement officers to carry out seizure and disposal of non-organic and horticultural commodities banned in the Himalayan state, a notification issued by the state government has said.

The state has banned the entry of non-organic fruits and vegetables in the state from April 1.

The notification issued by SK Pradhan, Protocol Officer, Home Department, said ” The state government shall designate such number of persons as it thinks fit to be enforcement officers to carry out seizure and disposal of non -organic agricultural and horticultural commodities with effect from April 1, 2018. “

Chamling announces monthly pension for organic farmers

Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling today announced monthly pension for farmers engaged in organic farming in the state.

Sikkim is the first fully organic state in the country.

“Our farmers involved in organic farming will get a monthly pension of Rs 1000,” he said adressing a public meeting at Mangan, the North Sikkim district headquarters.

German beer industry in shock over Monsanto glyphosate contamination

The Munich Environmental Institute (Umweltinstitut München) has released shocking results (February) of laboratory testing it has completed on 14 of the most sold beers in Germany. The carcinogen and World’s most used herbicide – glyphosate – was found in all of the 14 beers tested.

Turmeric farmers suffer due to poor demand, low prices

Shillong: Long known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties due to presence of very high curcumin content, the Lakadong turmeric has the potential to change life of farmers of Meghalaya but the situation in the frontier state is just the opposite as a majority of farmers want to turmeric-growing due to poor demand and market price.

As  Homran Lanio, a member of Lakadong village council, said, “We are no longer interested in turmeric farming as there is no buyer.”

He said,  “Now we are producing turmeric only for domestic use.”

It is significant that Lakadong turmeric is a much sought after because of its high curcumin content (5.5) and benefits in curing chronic intestinal problems and diarrhoea. It is a location specific variety grown in Meghalaya.

Native cattle breeds better suited to climate resilience

Bringing home the prizes his bull had won in a jallikattu event, Kaspar recollected last year’s protests. In January 2017, Tamil Nadu had erupted into protests to revoke a ban on jallikattu, a bull-taming sport.

The protests were an eye-opener for Kaspar from Pudukottai district since that is when he learnt about the importance of indigenous cattle breeds. Only indigenous breeds native to India are used in these sports, held in different forms in many states.

Each region of India has native breeds with distinct characteristics, suited to local conditions. Bargur is ideal as a draught animal for agriculture in the uneven, hilly terrains of western Tamil Nadu. Dual purpose Badri, used as milch and draught animal, is suited for the hilly regions of Uttarakhand. Kankrej is a dual-purpose breed of the tough terrains of Gujarat and Rajasthan.

India has 37 indigenous breeds, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. The other native breeds, lacking in distinct traits, are referred to as non-descript breeds. With signs of climate change clearly visible everywhere, conservation of native breeds that are hardy and better suited to withstand high temperatures has been gaining ground.

Towards organic farming in Kolhapur

In a recent event in Kolhapur , farmers of the city were seen attending the organic farming session at Siddhagiri Karyashala.

They were informed about the importance of organic farming and how it can be implemented in their everyday farming for healthy production.

Chemical fertilizers are harmful and at times leave crops destroyed.

Natural production of crops is the need for the day.

All these were explained by a renowned organic company who conducted the session for the farmers.

Traders decry Sikkim’s move to ban sale of non-organic vegetables, fruits from April 1

The Sikkim government’s decision to prohibit sale of some non-organic vegetables and fruits in the state from Sunday has drawn the ire of traders, who fear the move, apart from affecting their businesses, will also lead to “food crisis.”

Sikkim was declared an organic state in January 2016 after it made the use of chemical pesticides a criminal offence. To give a further push to its organic-farming experiment, the state government headed by five-time chief minister Pawan Chamling had earlier announced a blanket ban on entry of selected non-organic vegetables and fruits into the state from April 1. Later, it modified the decision saying it would not prevent entry of the non-organic items into the state, but would not allow their sale.

Woven in time

When is cotton not just cotton? And why does it matter? Our oversimplification between ‘organic-good’ and ‘non-organic-bad’ cotton only scratches the surface says sustainable fashion designer, and Henri CEO, Henrietta Adams. Native crops could hold the key to a more eco-friendly way to produce fabric.

She swaps her shirt making in London to meet the people in her supply chain face to face, and pulls at the thread of cotton production to discover a heritage story that can help the planet.

Creating a healthy organic market

In the past few years, the terms ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ have emerged as buzzwords among health-conscious people to  both in our country and across the globe.

The organic wave has swept across all things food and India, too, is experiencing the trend. A heightened sense of concern for the environment combined with the disdain of consuming foods with pesticides/preservative are making people switch to organic vegetables, fruits, pulses, dairy, seafood, and meat.

It is the growing awareness towards having a healthy lifestyle, revulsion towards chemically treated foods, and surging income levels that are shifting consumer preferences and giving a push to the country’s nascent organic food market. As per the TechSci Research report, ‘India Organic Food Market by Product Type, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 to 2021’, it is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of over 25% during 2016-2021, and position India as the world’s fastest growing organic food market.