Archive for the ‘News’ Category

May not have cleared his board exams, but he is bringing in an organic revolution

PORBANDAR: Prashant Jogiya grew up in a small village called Aadityana near Porbandar in Gujarat.His family had high hopes pinned on him till he was in Class X, considering he was good at studies. But very soon, he lost connect with the education system and decided to not slog at it any longer. He quit school and started to explore life.

 

Curry leaves contains poisonous pesticides which lead to health problems

HYDRABAD: Curry leaves which are known to be the important spice in Indian dishes and it is a must include in every South-Indian dishes are said to be dangerous claimed by agricultural scientists. The agricultural scientists have warned that the curry leaves are laced with poisonous pesticides that lead to cause cancer and other health problems in the long-run.

A study done by the researchers at Prof Jayashankar Agricultural University in Hyderabad has found that nearly 50 harmful chemicals used to kill insects, fungus and other pests. It is found that unhealthy agricultural practices by farmers have resulted in the contamination of curry leaves. No other vegetable grown in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana has such a high number of contaminants.

The researchers analysed 75 samples of curry leaves from three districts in the two Telugu states- Medak, Guntur and Anantapur. All the samples contained more than one chemical. The chemicals included are permethrin, ethion, chlorpyriphos, quinalphos, monocrotophos and triazophos.

Why Organic Food Might Be Worth the High Price

The most infamous fact about organic food is that its expensiveabout 47% more expensive, according to a recent analysis from Consumer Reports. But a new review study published in Nature Plants analyzed everything research currently knows about organic farming versus the conventional kind and found that organic offers a lot of good that outweighs its sticker shock.

When organic farming first began, it was derided as an idealistic and inefficient way of feeding people. Not surprisingly, there was little research about it. There were just a couple handfuls of studies back in the 80s, says John Reganold, professor of soil science and agroecology at Washington State University and co-author of the new study. Reganold has been studying organic agriculture for more than 30 years. At the turn of the century, it just skyrocketed, and now there are probably at least 1,000 studies, he says.

Reganold analyzed 40 years of available data and focused on how organic farming impacts several types of sustainability: productivity, impact on the environment, economic viability and social well-being.

Governments organic farming dream for NE turns messy

New Delhi: The governments much-touted plan to develop the Northeast region as the countrys organic farming hub has run into rough weather.

The charge for the organic farming plan has been taken away from the ministry for development of north-eastern region (DoNER) and given to the agriculture and farmers welfare ministry.

The DoNER ministry has been sidelined whereas it is supposed to be the nodal ministry. The whole exercise gives a feeling of messing up of the entire scheme. The committee is unable to understand the DoNER ministrys role after the transfer of funds, said a parliamentary panel mandated to study the scheme.

It appears that DoNER has been relegated to the role of an observer, it added, saying that the responsibility to monitor the scheme should rest with the DoNER ministry as originally envisaged.

Under the changed structure, the DoNER secretary will co-chair the meetings on the issue of organic value chain, however, the controlling ministry would be agriculture ministry.

Young Indian farmers spice up market for organic Himalayan crops

GANGTOK: Decades after farmers on India’s plains flocked to the “Green Revolution”, reliant on chemical fertilisers to drive agricultural growth, the northeast Himalayan state of Sikkim is trying its luck with organic farming – a pull for young, green-minded entrepreneurs who could help get the produce to market.
Last year Sikkim was declared 100 percent organic by the Indian government, while across the country, organic farming is growing rapidly.

India has the world’s highest number of organic producers at 650,000, or over a quarter of the global total, according to the Europe-based Research Institute of Organic Agriculture.

Majuli aims to be Indias first carbon-neutral district

Its the worlds biggest river island and the first such in India to be declared a district. Now plans are afoot to declare it the countrys first carbon-neutral district by 2020. It is by no means a mean task, but ambitious projects, with the help of locals, NGOs and corporate houses, are getting underway to achieve this. The roadmap for the project is developed by IORA Ecological Solutions, an environmental finance, policy advisory and project development group. Mitigation through forestry and biodiversity conservation will be the starting points in this carbon-neutral agenda, followed by other interventions over the next three years.

NITI Aayog reaches out to RSS on GM crops

NEW DELHI: In an indication that the Centre has given up on the prospects of any forward movement on GM crops in immediate future, the NITI Aayog has reached out to the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) for a breakthrough in the stand-off. The think-tank panel has reasoned with the top brass of the RSS to consider its tough stand on the GM crops by allowing its trials and roll out under the public sector institutions.

Organic Baby Food in India: Past and Future Trends

The India organic baby food market stood at US$223 Mn in 2014 and is expected to be worth US$638 Mn by 2020. Indias economy has been on the rise post the commencement of economic liberalization policy in 1990. Today, India is one of the worlds fastest developing nations. The transformation of the Indian economy has had a profound impact on the sales of consumer goods.

Baby food includes milk formula, ready to eat baby food, dried baby food, prepared baby food, and others. With increasing consciousness to keep good health, consumers around the world are paying considerable attention to what they eat and what they feed to their children. With the emergence of newer food choices for health and nutrition reasons, the demand for organic foods which include baby food as well has increased considerably.

RSS chief hails organic farming cause for agri produce growth

Hoshangabad (MP), Feb 9 (PTI) Advocating organic farming, RSS sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat today said the practice is not only environment-friendly but it also enhances production of crops.

Organic farming is not only environment friendly but it enhances crop production, the RSS chief said at a function in Govind Nagar of Bunkhedi region in the district.

Stating that India lives in villages, Bhagwat said if farming is carried out religiously the country will turn into a developed and prosperous nation.

He said chemical farming has doomed the agriculture in Punjab.

Health benefits of organic food, farming outlined in new report

A report prepared for the European Parliament, co-authored by Harvard Chan Schools Philippe Grandjean, adjunct professor of environmental health, outlines the health benefits of eating organic food and practicing organic agriculture.

Can going green help pick the slavery out of cotton?

MAYAPUR, India, Feb 10 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Wearing thick gloves and a shawl wrapped around her face, Kanchen Kanjarya is busily picking cotton in the midday sun on her small farm in Mayapur in India’s western state of Gujarat.

Kanjarya, 42, works up to eight hours a day on the six acre plot, one of millions of small holder farms in India supplying cotton to garment factories making clothes for Western brands.

But while the days are long and the heat can hit 35 degrees Celsius (95F), Kanjarya is delighted to be among a small but rising number of farmers being trained to grow sustainable cotton that can cut water and chemical use and improve profits.

With the global cotton industry under scrutiny for using forced and child labour and polluting the environment, more Western companies are starting to work with farmers to clean up fashion’s leading natural fibre – and its complex supply chain.

“With the extra money we can invest in our children’s education, buy equipment, and repair our homes,” Kanjarya told the Thomson Reuters Foundation outside her house in the small, dusty village of Mayapur, showing off her new toilet and shower.

“I have bought a tractor and also a motorbike for my son to get to his job. Two of my three daughters are teachers. This is good for the whole family and my children now have a future.”

Kanjarya is one of 1,250 women farmers in Gujarat, India’s biggest cotton and cottonseed producing state, taking part in one of a number of small initiatives led by companies to combat environmental problems and break the cycle of child labour.

For the past three years these women farmers have had classes and infield training twice a month in sustainable farming methods such as water efficiency, natural pesticides, and soil health, designed to increase cotton yields and income.

The pilot, by social enterprise CottonConnect, India’s Self Employed Women’s Association and funded by UK budget retailer Primark, has pushed up profits more than two-fold and is expanding to 10,000 farmers over six years, its founders say.

Helping children understand food production from the scratch

In an attempt to encourage a change in food habits, Yugaa, an all-women social welfare organisation, held a sensitisation programme Nam Unavu Nam Kayil (Our Food in Our Hands) for students at the Arokiamatha Matric School in Karumandapam in Trichy on Tuesday.

Attended by over 500 students of classes 7,8,9 and 11, the morning programme included demonstrative workshops on home gardening conducted by Krishnamurthy, Tamil Nadu Deputy Director, Horticulture, Tiruchi, and a lecture on millets and their nutritional merits by R.Chandrasekaran, former Joint Director of Agriculture.

Short films on organic farming, hazardous nature of chemicals and pesticides and the need to avoid food wastage were also screened.

Traditional paddy helps strike gold in the time of drought

PUDUKKOTTAI: Drought, unseasonal rains, wilting crops, soaked harvest, suicides and clamour for compensation. These are the words that one associates with farming these days. However, amidst the gloom, a woman farmer, who refused to give in to the vagaries of nature, is a beacon of hope for the distressed. While paddy crops in various districts were damaged, A Gandhi, from Sundarappatti, who cultivated traditional paddy on her one acre field, has bagged a decent harvest of 2,650 kg, and that too, without using fertilizers.

Tribal farmers trained in organic farming methods

BHADRADRI-KOTHAGUDEM: In an effort to encourage tribal farmers take up organic farming the Horticulture Department organised a day-long training in eco-friendly, organic methods of cultivation of vegetables for tribal farmers in the district.

The Horticulture Department organised a training programme on preparation and application of vermicompost and other eco-friendly farming practices at the departments nursery in Garimellapadu village near the district headquarters town of Kothagudem on Wednesday.

Some 50 tribal farmers mainly comprising vegetable growers from Palvancha, Tekulapalli, Yellendu, Lakshmidevipalli and several other mandals participated in the training-cum-demonstration programme.

Crusader of organic farming

Times are changing and things do not seem to be happening for good. With the changing times, climatic conditions are also changing thanks to the callousness of the modern generation. In the mad rush for modernisation and urbanisation, people are utterly disregarding the Mother Earth and digging their own graves. Agricultural sector also is facing hard times due to many reasons and the need to promote organic farming is becoming all the more important.

Perhaps, this was what prompted Suresh Reddy, a landlord and farmer from Warangal district, to take to organic farming and of course advocate the new method among other farmers. He successfully cultivated red rice through organic farming and is busy explaining people about the advantages of red rice.

According to him, there are several benefits regarding red rice produced through organic farming. Suresh Reddy said in the present days there were many new methods which were followed in agriculture and an equal amount of unseen problems hidden in it. He said organic farming was one of the best solutions for the present day situation.

How a Brother-Sister Duo Is Running a 600-Hectare Organic Tea Estate

Richa Gupta

Around one in the afternoon, our car rolled into the driveway of the Chota Tingrai bungalow. Even as we stepped out, a Jeep came up behind us and out jumped a young man dressed in sweats and a t-shirt. Had I not been told, Id never have guessed that he runs the 600-hectare estate that we were now visiting.

Only 24, Mrityunjay Jalan, with his sister Avantika, manages the daily running of the family estate that boasts a state-of-the-art green tea processing plant, and a successful organic garden.

Avantika says she knew that she wanted to work on sustainable farming. So she started a social initiative called Mana Organics, working towards sustainable development in rural India. After a few years in Arunachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, working with farmers, she thought why not take her ideas and apply them at her familys tea estate.

Lights, camera, farm

Pawan Kalyan, Prakash Raj, Naresh and producer Chintalapuri Srinivasa Rao have one thing in common apart from acting organic farming. Though it is a revenue-generating business, the income they receive may not match the actors status, but no ones complaining. These stars are using this as a platform to create awareness about organic farming.

Senior actor and Vijaya Nirmalas son Naresh is actively involved in organic farming for the last few years. As a child, I liked farming. Since my mother, too, is fond of it, during summer vacations she would send us to our farmhouse at Manimangalam village to learn about the occupation, recollects Naresh.

And now, the actor has a 20-acre farmhouse near Shadnagar where fruits are grown. Its semi-organic and we grow mostly mango and other fruits. This year, the yield looks good so far. Last year, the crop got completely washed out and the year before that, I earned nearly `3.6 lakh from the crop, informs Naresh for who farming isnt about the income.

Giving our business to India

By Gerald Pilger

Once again my perception of our agricultural industry has been rocked by international travel. This time it was a visit to India in December that challenged my perception of organic production and marketing.

First on my list was a cashew processor in Mangalore on Indias west coast. Canadians might be taken aback when they see the organic signs in the factory where cashews are shelled, peeled, roasted, graded, and packaged. After all, when consumers think of organic production in Canada, they typically envision an idyllic family farm where the entire production, processing, and packaging cycle is completed on the farm, with the food shipped either directly to a customer or to a farmers market or organic food store.

Haryana to help set up training centre for organic farming: CM

Chandigarh, Feb 3 (PTI) Haryana government will provide all assistance for setting up of a centre to train farmers in organic farming at Gurukul, Kurukshetra.

This would also help them in enhancing their income, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said while addressing farmers at Swarna Jayanti Kisan Sammelan on organic farming at village Mirzapur, Kurukshetra today.

Khattar offered assistance after the announcement by Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Dev Vrat to set up the training centre, an official release said.

The Chief Minister said that state government had decided to bring 10 per cent of the total cultivable area under organic farming in the state, which is being done in a phased manner.

Scientists of the soil

Debal Deb and an intrepid band of traditional farmers grow heirloom varieties of grains and cereals, thousands of which are on the brink of extinction

It is late afternoon when we arrive at Debal Debs farm, only to find him napping on a hammock next to his mud house. The sound of a gurgling stream punctuates our deliberations: Should we wake him? The thick forest around us glistens like green gold in the rays of the sun. Hills in different shades of green frame this landscape in Kerandiguda, Odisha. We had driven for 45 minutes, parked our car at a railway crossing and walked through hillsides and forest paths to get here. The nearest train station is Muniguda, a small town in Odishas mining belt near Lanjigarh, known for Vedantas bauxite mines. Debs home is close to the Niyamgiri hills, which Vedanta has been trying to mine. The companys efforts have so far been thwarted by an active campaign led by tribals living on these hills.

Lack of experts, govt apathy hampers organic farming in Kashmir

Srinagar: Lack of experts at the district Krishi Vigyan Kendras(KVK) to counsel and guide the farmers has left organic farming a non-starter in the valley, despite an initiative by government in collaboration with SKUAST-K to switch over to eco-friendly farming.
Not a single scientist is available at the district KVKs to help farmers take the leap to eco-friendly farming.
In 2012 Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Science and Technology (SKUAST) Kashmir was mandated to produce organic farming package and provide expert advice to farmers for promotion of organic farming in Kashmir.

Buying organic food on a budget

In accordance with the nutritional trends in India, the word organic has been in vogue for quite a while now. However, the one aspect that hinders 100 per cent proliferation of the organic lifestyle is the price point of organic food products. Nevertheless, if one is willing to do some recce of their vicinity and online shopping options and shop resourcefully, he/ she can enjoy the freshness and goodness of organic food, without burning a hole in the pocket.

Only local consumers can make Sikkim’s organic revolution succeed

With 66,000 farmers livelihoods at stake, concern is growing over the Indian states organic farming experiment, with locals reluctant to pay higher prices.

It is mid-morning, and Amrit Pradhan is repositioning the tomatoes on his market stall in Gangtok, capital of the Himalayan state of Sikkim in north-east India. People always want the biggest, reddest fruit, he says. I try to tell them, the flavour is in the smaller ones, but they dont want to know.

Pradhan is one of 66,000 farmers from Sikkim who are part of a far-reaching experiment. Since last year, the states farmers have become 100% organic their produce is free of chemical pesticides or genetic modification. It also means their fruit and vegetables are smaller, less colourful, and more expensive than the imported, non-organic produce from the city of Siliguri in the neighbouring state of West Bengal.

Krishi Mela Inspires 25K Youth to Take-Up Organic Farming

NASHIK: Over 25,000 youths evinced interest in farming at the Krushi Mahotsava that concluded on Sunday evening.

The event culminated with cultural performances and a formal concluding event chaired by Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, leader of opposition in Maharashtra state legislative assembly. Patil appealed to the next generation of farmers to take inspiration from their fathers to innovate in the field.

Taking organic farming to next level

Telangana State Seed and Organic Certification Authority to improve marketing opportunities for organic produce

Ramana Reddy from Nagarkurnool has adopted organic farming 15 years ago.

His 30 acres include the 10 acres he had sold long ago unable to bear the costs of chemical farming, and bought again after he started making profits from organic farming.