Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Amrita University judged Keralas greenest

Kochi: Amrita Universitys Amritapuri Campus in Kollam has emerged as Keralas greenest educational institution by bagging the First Prize in the State Pollution Control Awards by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board. The award, presented by AC Moideen, Minister for Industries, Sports and Youth Affairs, Govt. of Kerala, was received by Brahmachari Sudeep, Director, Amritapuri Campus, Amrita University, and SN Jyothi, Principal, Amrita School of Engineering.

Teaching Agroecology in the Himalayan Foothills

Neha Raj seeks sleep on the night train from Delhi to Dehradun. Its not the soundest slumber, but shes grown accustomed to the sway of the rails. Neha teaches at Navdanyas organic farm in the foothills of the Himalayas. Her teaching props are the hundreds of varieties of rice, wheat, millets, lentils, vegetables, oilseeds, and spices grown at the farm. Since the green revolutionwhen private seed companies entered Indian agricultureIndias agrobiodiversity has shrunk dramatically. Neha teaches farmers how to preserve it.

Organic farming reduces input cost, generates safe & healthy food

Even as organic farming is gaining ground, it is not without challenges. It not only needs patience and perseverance by the farmers, but also a lot of support from the consumers as well as the government to continue the trend. Rashmi Mategaonkar Marpakwar, a lecturer from SB City college and research scholar at Nagpur University, conducted a research titled ‘A study of the economic aspects of increasing production level by organic farming in Nagpur district’ for her doctorate thesis under the guidance of T Kalyani, former vice-principal and head of commerce department of LAD & SRP College for Women. Marpakwar claims that organic farming is profitable only after a farmer has grown the crops for at least 6-7 years. The production varies from crop to crop, she said.

Go Organic Stay Healthy!

By Ruheel Ahmad Mir

Food is undoubtedly the basic necessity of all living creatures. A given eatable only qualifies to serve as an ideal food when it resides in it an intrinsic potential to nourish our bodies, without at the same time causing any harm. Given the present scenario in the age we live in, where the methods of food production and preservation using the pesticides, chemical fertilizers, preservatives, etc. and causing mutations at genetic level only to increase the food production, without caring for the repercussions, may however, challenge and contradict the very basic purpose of the food articles, as source of nutrition and health.

And, unfortunately as a consequence, instead of imbibing energy, proteins, vitamins, minerals and other essential components to nourish our bodies and minds, we are passively taking these harmful chemicals along with the foods only to invite multitude of grave problems that drain us of our energy, time, and of course land us in a state of bankruptcy, thus corrupting us physically, mentally and economically. It is perhaps the gift of present godless modern age that we have adopted this attitude in this regard.

Do not harass farmers to recover loans SC warns banks

Financial institutions should not resort to coercive action for recovery of loans from farmers in case of crop failure and the government should intervene in such cases, the Supreme Court said. The apex court said the governments approach should be preventive rather than compensatory and it should travel the last mile to reach out to the farmers. The remarks were made by a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar while dealing with a PIL filed by farmers from Tamil Nadu.

Food deficit J&K making progress in farm output level:Agri Min

Jammu and Kashmir, a food deficit state, is making remarkable progress in the production of some of the important crops like paddy, maize and vegetables, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said today.

The hilly state imports nearly 7 lakh tonnes of foodgrains annually. The lower farm production is mainly due to mono-cropping system, fragmented land holdings as also geographical and climatic conditions, he said.

How Can You Respond to the Paris Accord ?

Have you ever thought about the ecological stresses associated with modern agriculture? To put it simply, it all starts with our food supply. Specifically, lets talk about my food supply! I spent three hours last Sunday at Seattles largest farmer collective, the year-round Ballard Farmers Market. I wanted to know, in such a progressive city how many of the farms were organic? How many practiced no-till permaculture techniques? The answer to the first question is a full 23% of the 109 farms in attendance. The latter was harder to gauge without a protracted conversation, and Ive left this to a later date in the not-too distant future.

Agricultural roadmap will fulfil dream of organic Bihar: Greenpeace

Greenpeace India has emphasized that the proposed agricultural roadmap would be a major step towards realising the dream of an organic Bihar.

Greenpeace India has in its feedback suggested that all provisions in the roadmap, which aim to help the farmers adopt ecological agriculture, be brought under the single umbrella of the Ecological Bihar Mission.

Government is committed to continuous development of the Indian economy: Singh

New Delhi, July 4 (IBNS): Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers and Welfare Radha Mohan Singh said that the government is committed to the continuous development of the Indian economy. India can become one of the world’s major economic powers by developing the enterprises related to agriculture, where the products can be stored, processed and are brought to the market.

Hence, he has initiated a series of schemes for the betterment of the farmers. In the last three years, the new schemes introduced include distribution of soil health card, expansion in irrigation facilities, low-cost Organic Farming, National Agriculture Market, Horticultural Development, Agroforestry, Beekeeping, Milk, fish and egg production and agricultural education on a priority basis.

Chandigarh govt schools grow veggies in backyard for midday meal

CHANDIGARH: Seven government schools in the city have turned into part time mini-farms, producing seasonal vegetables, onions and coriander to provide children extra nutrition in their midday meal.

Government model senior secondary schools of sectors 10, 15, 26, 44 and 47 and government model high schools in sectors 38 and 42 have chosen small patches of land on their premises to grow organic vegetables for midday meal kitchens -a move the ministry of human resources development has appreciated under best practices in the midday meal programme.

Tribal women are leading the conversion to organic agriculture

Experts urge a shift from conventional to organic farming to combat food shortages due to global warming. Tribal women in India are leading the way.

Farm with over 560 rare and exotic veggies

Chanpreet Kaur

Genetically modified seeds are making hundreds of fruits and vegetables go extinct all over India. Yet, we are not talking about it. One man realised the solution that can save India’s biodiversity.

Dr Prabhakar Rao and his family run a 2.5 acre natural farm in Bengaluru, wherein they grow vegetables that are indigenous and native to India and yet are not grown or found anywhere in the country anymore.

Dr Rao, who holds a PhD in plant breeding and genetics, has spent his entire professional career practicing architecture all over the world. While travelling, he collected 560 native indigenous seeds of endangered vegetable species from the oldest generation of farmers.

The procured seeds were typically open pollinated, heirloom seeds, which means that new seeds can be prepared from the mother seeds, unlike the hybrid and genetically modified seeds which last for just one season.

He kept collecting the varieties and started testing them for their genetic stability and climatic adaptiveness for the Indian conditions and eventually was able to sustain 140 varieties of hyper-exotic vegetables.

Tindas on your terrace are good business for startups

Cooking with fresh produce like tomatoes fresh off the stalk, tender coriander leaves or small succulent bhindi is a rare joy in our urban existence. But who has the time or space to set up a kitchen garden, let alone an organic garden. The easier option is to go down to the colony gate and shop for shiny, chemical-laced, days-old veggies stacked on pushcarts. But now, a few startups have made terrace gardening literally a walk in the park. And they do this through technology that minimises the fuss and mess of cultivation.

Greentech Life, Bengaluru: Smart gardening unit that requires watering just once a month. Cost: Rs 33,900 per unit.

Homecrop Hyderabad: Using the Cuban concept of organoponics, it makes garden units that use 60-70% less water. Cost: Rs 1,800+ per unit for balconies.

iKheti Mumbai: Gardening and composting consultancy. Cost: Rs 1,500-2,000.

Edible Routes Delhi: Provides material and knowledge support to create kitchen gardens. Cost: Rs 5,000 for a small balcony garden.

Creative Natural Farmers Rake in Profit Through Vegetable Production and Cooperative

Nellamangla, Karnataka: Kumaraswamy and his wife Bhaghyambika from Nellamangla have together set up a profitable multilayer Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) vegetable farm. They market their produce through their 250 member organic farmers cooperative which supplies more than 50 organic shops in Bangalore. This combination of ZBNF and the cooperative Kumaraswamy says have solved the two key problems faced by farmers high cost of production and lack of access to markets- and have made him a very happy farmer.

Punjab farmer groups oppose GM maize trials

Jalandhar The Kheti Virasat Mission (KVM), an independent organisation of traditional farming groups, will launch a state-wide movement against the decision of the Punjab government for allowing second-stage field trials on genetically modified (GM) maize in Punjab. KVM spokesperson today, in a press communiqu, opposed the decision of the state government for having allowed an MNC to conduct the trials on GM maize in Punjab. The organisation will keep all options, including legal battle, open to stall the trials of GM Maize in Punjab.

The spokesperson said it would also oppose the move to get an approval for the second-stage field trials of two transgenic variants of maize at the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) of the Union government. He has further stressed that till the GEAC gives its approval for such trials, the state government must stay its decision as it is mandatory to seek the permission of the Central body.

Collective farm gate procurement offers solutions to cover price crashes

The agricultural seasons of 2016-17 (Kharif and Rabi) have not been favorable for farmers across the country. In spite of the near-normal monsoon rainfall in India in 2016 coupled with record farm production, wholesale and retail prices for agricultural commodities have been depressed for most of the year.

The uncertainties associated with the government announced minimum support price procurement (MSP) operations have added to the farmers woes. Added to this scenario is overall desperation and gloom in the countryside, leading to an increasing number of farmers suicides in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and even in the northern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

Amidst this worrisome situation, a few examples of collective action shine as beacons of hope. The MAHA Farmers Producer Co. Ltd (MAHAFPC), the apex organization of over 200 farmer producer companies in Maharashtra, is a case in point. In the recently concluded procurement season, MAHAFPC did business of over Rs 1.68 billion. This was the first year of business operation of MAHAFPC.

Group from TN is helping make agriculture profitable

Do you want to help the farmers in Tamil Nadu, after coming across the alarming number of farmer suicides? Then meet a group of people who came together through social media for a common cause of helping the farmers in the state.

On January 26, 2017, more than 170 people formed an organization, Farmer Friendly Initiative (FFI) aimed at enriching the lives of farmers by enabling them to continue farming in the most profitable and chemical free manner.

Of the 170 people, some have been practising farming, some are retired agricultural officers and some are IAS officers. We had sessions with farmers, we spent the month of February understanding the problems of the farmers; we met farmers who use chemicals, and also organic farmers, said Naveen Subramanium, a member of FFI.

Scheme to revive rice cultivation

MALAPPURAM:The June breeze swaying green paddy stalks among the fields at Puzhambram in Ponnani Municipality have the tale of a great comeback to tell. Through the Ponnaryan Koyyunna Ponnani scheme, the seeds have been sown for the revival of rice cultivation here.

Last year, farmers turned 45 acres of barren land into paddy fields in their first attempt. The enthusiasm soon gave way to disappointment with drought bringing down the yield. This year, though, no rain or drought appear to be able enough to draw them back.We are looking to expand it to another 45 acres this year, says Rajeesh U of the farmers collective here.

While the production stood at 1,200 kg per acre last year, farmers believe the yield could be increased to 1,500-2,000 with better care. Under the aegis of the Padasekhara Samithi, 45 farmers were part of the sceme last year. Ten more have been added this year. These 55 include ten young professionals who have either given up their jobs or found time for farming.

No Tractors, No Pesticides & No Tilling

Hailing from a family of farmers, Raju continued to farm his familys 12 acre ancestral land even after getting a government job. According to him, things were going well before he went with the Green Revolution wave and started using chemical fertilizers and pesticides on his farm. This maximised the yield of his farm but in spite of a quantitative return, the profits were not constant as expected. He applied modern farming techniques more vigorously. As a result, each year the output decreased, the soil was left infertile and his fields were completely destroyed.

Maharishi University of Management Pioneers Farm-to-Fork Program in Regenerative Organic Agriculture

Maharishi University of Management (MUM) has launched the worlds first complete program to train the next generation of farmers in an agricultural paradigm that can fully reverse climate change and provide abundant and healthy food for our planets growing population.

Termed regenerative organic agriculture, this new program is being headed by Professor A. Thimmaiah, who says that few schools or organizations offer even one course in regenerative organic farming systems, which he distinguishes from common organic farming.

Kerala decides to promote Njattuvela markets

KOCHI:Giving a boost to organic farming and traditional agrarian techniques, Njattuvela markets seem to be catching the fancy of people in the state. There has been a spurt in the number of fairs showcasing pesticide-free produce, farm implements, and saplings of crops.Buoyed by the good response to mass planting drives during the recent Thiruvathira Njattuvela (the most favourable time in the agrarian almanac for transplanting crops), the state government has decided to hold such markets from the beginning of this phase in June next year till FarmersDay falling on the first day of Chingam in the Malayalam calendar.

Organic vegetables prove a winner for Bangla farmers

Farmer Ali Hossain from Bodhkhana village in Jessore’s Jhikorgachha upazila in Bangladesh has dedicated the summer months to producing organically-grown herbs, fruit and vegetables. His produce, no matter what he turns his hand to, is in good demand. The farmer who last year received an award from the agriculture ministry for organic farming has built himself a reputation for wholesome, chemical-free vegetables.

I grew coriander on one bigha of land at a cost of Tk 25,000 this summer season, says Hossain. It’s selling at Tk 300 per kilogram in the wholesale market, which means I can earn about Tk 3 lakhs in sales.

GST impact on organic farming will be negative: survey

New Delhi: The implementation of the goods and service tax (GST) may have an adverse impact on organic produce, according to exporters and industry views cited in an online survey by the Indian Council of Food and Agriculture (ICFA).

The current tax rates of 0-5 per cent on bio-inputs are set to rise to a flat GST rate of 18 per cent.

As a result, exporters of organic food are worried that the higher production cost may hit their international prospects.

Farmers, too, are apprehensive about the higher production cost, which they may not be able to recover from buyers, ICFA said in a release.

Millets travel from tribal farms to dinner tables

During a participatory appraisal helping Dongria Kondhs to cope with climate change, the ancient tribal community mulled which of their grains could grow under high temperature and which could grow under low and erratic rainfall. It emerged that specific varieties of indigenous millets can grow under conditions of more heat and with as few as two monsoon showers.

Indigenous farmers in India are again recognizing and asserting the value of millets, a cereal crop that was once central to their culture and is seen today as a perfect adaptation to ensure nutritional security in these times of climate distress.

As Dasara Kadraka lets the tiny russet-colored seeds flow from her cupped palms into an earthen storage pot, she remembers, At one time, Ive heard as a girl, we harvested 45 traditional varieties of millet. Even 10 years ago, we grew 11 varieties that went down to just two.

States should assert views on GM mustard: Kurugante

State governments should assert their views in the debate on the commercial production of genetically modified (GM) mustard as they will end up bearing the fallout of the Centres decision on GM crops, said Kavitha Kurugante, convener for GMO-Free India, here on Sunday.

Public consultations on the commercial production of GM mustard have been farcical and if the Centre was really serious, it should write to the State governments and elicit their views rather than impose it, she said.

During an interaction on GM mustard, she said that State governments should air their views on GM mustard as it will impact agriculture and public health. When things go wrong, the farmers will knock at the doors of the State government and hence the consequences of the Centres decision will be borne by the State, she cautioned.