Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Millets are returning to our fields and plates

Today millets are garnering the much-deserved attention across India because of their high nutritional value. States like Odisha, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have launched special programmes to promote these nutri cereals in the National Year of Millets.

Millets are a diverse range of nutrient-rich crops. In the past 60 years, India’s agriculture policy has focused mainly on rice and wheat and neglected millets. Supply of subsidised rice and wheat through the public distribution system and state nutrition programmes have also played a big role in changing the dietary habits of people.

Besides, millet promotion is plagued by low produce, weak markets, difficult processing methods and low consumer interest even though many urban health conscious individuals are now favouring them over the traditional paddy and wheat. In times of climate change millets score over paddy as they require less water and can withstand extreme temperatures.

India to import pulses from Nigeria

Nigeria is to begin the production of pulses for export to India by 2019, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has said.
Ogbeh made this known in Abuja on Wednesday while speaking with newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday.

Guardians of Karnataka’s Agri-Heritage

Groups of 10-15 women farmers in Ramanagara district, Karnataka, owning anywhere between 0.5-1.5 acres of land, come together to conserve and produce indigenous seeds, cultivate and process grains, and compose organic inputs.

Sowing nature back into agriculture

While the monsoons have created havoc this year with unprecedentedly high rainfall that has led to flooding, the fallout of climate change and unmonitored real estate development has also highlighted another problem: the steady decrease of cultivable land in the country.

And nowhere is this more obvious than in the village of Mantharai, around 10 kilometers from Tiruchi, where ancient irrigation channels have dried out and plots are being marked out for gated residential communities. Bore-wells supply the water that was once supposed to flow in from Mukkombu 25 kilometers away.

Bihar offers subsidy for compost boost

Patna: The Bihar agriculture department has come up with a special scheme that entails giving subsidy to those opting to set up compost production units to promote production of vermicompost in Bihar.

Unlike chemical fertilisers, which adversely hit the soil quality in the long run, the vermicompost are made using natural substances and are considered good for preserving the soil fertility. Vermicompost is used in organic farming.

According to the scheme details, those setting up vermicompost production unit of 1,000 metric tonnes capacity would be entitled for a subsidy of 40 per cent of the project cost which would not be more than Rs 6.4 lakh. Similarly in case of production units having capacity of 2,000 metric tonnes and 3,000 metric tonnes the upper limit of the subsidy amount would be Rs 12.8 lakh and Rs 20 lakh respectively.

Four-day horticulture fair begins from August 23 to 26 at Vijayawada

Vijayawada: Department of Horticulture in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Andhra Pradesh chapter and International Competence for Organic Agriculture (ICCOA) will organise ‘UDYANA-2018’, an international trade fair in horticulture sector at VR Siddhartha Engineering College, Kanuru, from August 23 to 26.

Around 120 to 150 exhibitors from different sectors will participate in the event. The expo will provide a platform for the organic food suppliers to display wide range of healthy organic foods including ‘Organic Pizza’ drinks and smoothies at the food street pavilion, he added.

Birds, fishes and butterflies: Meet the eco-managers of West Bengal’s paddy fields

It is sowing season for the paddy farmers of West Bengal, and Bablu Burman – a farmer from Bhattadighi village in the district of Uttar Dinajpur – is preoccupied. Burman is using pieces of wood to build nesting boxes for birds that he will hang in his fields.

“They will provide shelter to feathered guests such as mynahs, barn owls and sparrows this cropping season [that will] feed on the paddy pests,” he said. Each box is about four feet in height and two feet wide. An extended sloping roof keeps the rain away and there are perches inside for birds to rest on or even roost.

Maharashtra Cabinet clears proposal of organic farming mission

Mumbai: The Maharashtra cabinet has cleared proposal to form organic farming mission on Tuesday. This establishment will be known from Panjabrao Deshmukh, former agriculture minister of state as Panjabrao Deshmukh Organic Farming Mission. It is aimed to support and increase organic farming in state.

In last few years, Maharashtra has seen a jump in organic farming sector. Former government of Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has brought a special policy for organic farming in state in 2013. The policy was aimed to provide the complete infrastructure to the farmers from their farms to the doors of the consumer.

Women in Punjab’s Bhotna village say no to ‘cancerous farming’, adopt organic methods to save state’s soil

Barnala: Amarjit Kaur gets out of bed on her tiptoes early morning while it is still dark and the rest of her family is in deep slumber. She quickly fetches a sprinkler kept outside her house to water her small patch of vegetables, before adding manure to another tilled portion of the land. A resident of Bhotna village in Punjab’s Barnala district, the 45-year-old has been following this routine for the past 11 years.

Adopting organic farming, the woman says, was the only way to bring down the high incidence of cancer in the district, which has been linked to the unregulated use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers. Amarjit is a member of the 2,000-odd group of women in Bhotna, who have been fighting against what they call “cancerous farming practices”.

Social enterprises are championing sustainable agriculture in SE Asia

An increased focus on sustainability and social innovation is transforming the food and beverage industry in Southeast Asia.

From zero-waste cashews to high-yield rice, these social ventures in Southeast Asia have made it their mission to create more social and environmental awareness around the food and drinks people consume.

Madras HC seeks Centre’s response to plea challenging organic food regulations

The Madras High Court on Monday sought the response of the Centre to a writ petition challenging the validity of Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations of 2017 on the ground that farmers could not be brought under the purview of the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA) of 2006.

A Division Bench of Justices S. Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad ordered notices, returnable by September 10, to Union Ministries of Agriculture as well as Commerce and Industry on the petition filed by Selvam Ramaswamy of Erode district. He urged the court to declare the regulations unconstitutional.

Ploughing to progress

The North American nation is drawing farmer-entrepreneurs in large numbers from India’s breadbasket — Punjab and Haryana. No, they aren’t the rich ones buying luxury villas in exotic locales. They are the aspiring ones who expect to hit pay dirt as authorities in the former English colony provide agricultural land at abysmally low prices as compared to India.

“Farmers are going to be driving Lamborghinis,” said global investor Jim Rogers. And adding another dimension to the quote is 43-year-old Sushil Yadav’s thought: “Fund managers will become farmers.”  Considering the plight of the farming sector in India, this may not hold true, but the sons of soil are scripting a different success story in faraway lands with sheer perseverance and there is no dearth of rags-to-riches stories emanating from the Indian diaspora in Canada.

Natural substitute for fertilizers

Koraput: Tribal farmers of the district reap the benefits of organic farming. They do not use fertilisers nor pesticides but still get a good yield due to adoption of organic farming.

“We never use fertilisers and pesticides available in the market as they are costly and beyond our affordability. Hence, we are using organic manure prepared at home which is a perfect substitute for fertiliser and pesticide,” said Hari Miniaka of Koijhankar village in Laxmipur block of the district.

Agripreneur helps revolutionise farming in North East

Assam [India] August 17 (ANI): In an attempt to revolutionise farming in the northeast, Samir Bordoloi, a graduate from Assam Agricultural University is teaching budding farmers and small entrepreneurs some innovative farming and food techniques.

Bordoloi, who holds a mission to promote organic farming, believes that the region has the potential to make its farmers “Independent self-sustaining entities”

He runs a Society for Promotion of Rural Economy & Agricultural Products (SPREAD) in the northeastern states with an aim to get local people to eat local food from local resources.

Left his high profile job in US to promote organic farming in his village

If you ever visit Pennagaram village in Tamil Nadu border, you may come across forty-something Hari Nath toiling in his fields. You are most likely to brush him off as just another farmer unless you google Dr Hari Nath Kasiganesan. A drug researcher of global repute, he left his lucrative job as a high-profile drug scientist in USA to promote organic farming and traditional medicines in his village. His humility, which he professes to be inspired by his former supervisor Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, is rare to find in a dignitary of his stature.

5 Reasons Why it’s the Right Time to Invest in Organic Food Industry

In the past few years, the words like ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ have gained immense popularity as the millennial generation is increasingly becoming aware of the pros attached to being healthy. From farm produce to meat, to seafood, to dairy, ‘going organic’ is transitioning from being a fad to a way of life. In no time, going natural has become the ‘in’ thing for most people in India.

Taking a note of this trend, many brands have dug deep into the roots of Ayurveda to come to up with 100% natural food and beverages, cosmetics and personal care items and other healthcare products. This trend has accelerated so much so that Organic food is believed to be the next food wave in India. This growing industry of Organic food offers a bright future to all its investors.

Organic Farming in India: 5 Challenges On The Journey Ahead & The Way Out

With the increase in global health consciousness, organic food is set to knock every door and make its way in healthy kitchens worldwide.

People the world over use organic food as a hygiene factor rather than a product by itself. Organic food is a holistic approach in the Indian environment which starts at the farm and ends at the fork of the consumer. The main stakeholder is the source, and challenges faced during organic farming can be overcome with a smart strategy, scientific planning, responsible public activity and government support.

Govt has brought Centre to N-E India doorstep: Modi

Speaking on the occasion of Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that during the last four years the Government has succeeded in bringing the national Capital to the doorstep of northeast India.

“There was a time when the northeast felt that Delhi was distant, but within the last four years the Government had succeeded in bringing the national Capital to its doorstep,” he said.

The Prime Minister, in his Independence Day speech, also said Tripura, Meghalaya and many districts of Arunachal Pradesh have seen the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), that was in place from three or four decades.

Food and seed sovereignty of women farmers in Telangana helping transforming India

The commercialisation of agriculture has resulted in much progress, but one of its biggest downsides has been the over-reliance on external resources for all farming input, including, and especially, something as basic as seeds.

Our ancestors were more resourceful and self-reliant, possibly by necessity, but it was a practice that kept them self-sufficient and relatively safe from the vagaries of the market. Given the farmers’ lot today, it’s hard to fathom how beneficial the commercialisation of farming was for them. News of farmer suicides punctuates news of farmer protests around the country.

Promotion of Zero Budget Natural Farming

NITI Aayog held a meeting on 9th July, 2018 to discuss the promotion of Zero budget Natural Farming.

Government of India has been promoting organic farming in the country through the dedicated schemes of Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) since 2015-16 and also through Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).

In the revised guidelines of PKVY scheme during the year 2018, various organic farming models like Natural Farming, Rishi Farming, Vedic Farming, Cow Farming, Homa Farming, Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) etc. have been included wherein flexibility is given to states to adopt any model of Organic Farming including ZBNF depending on farmer’s choice.

Battle to preserve seeds

Flashback 1986: Whenever farmer and social activist Vijay Jardhari and his friends would visit any village telling locals to conserve their traditional seeds and to continue consuming millets, people would make fun of them.

Now the same villagers are surprised with the mass acceptability of millets and the growing popularity of organic products. Vijay Jardhari and his fellow farmers started the ‘Beej Bachao Andolan’ (BBA), save the seed movement, at a small village Jardhargaon in Tehri (Uttarakhand) in 1986.

The movement remains unregistered and is more like a people’s campaign. Jardhari has dedicated his life to conserving traditional seeds, which otherwise would have disappeared due to wide acceptability of hybrid seeds among farmers.

Unique startup that will help grow a mini forest

Originating from the Kannada terms ‘hosa’ which means ‘new’ and ‘chiguru’ which means ‘sprout’, Hosachiguru is a leading agricultural asset management startup that is running over 30 sustainable green projects on 800 acres of land.

Four years ago, three engineers decided to quit their lucrative jobs at the peak of their careers. The reason? They wanted to undertake scientific and mechanised agriculture.

While the initial idea of the Bengaluru-based trio–Ashok Jayanthi, Sriram Chitlur and Srinath Setty, was to find a piece of land close to the city where they could practice organic farming and grow chemical-free food for their families, little did they know it would culminate into an innovative agri-startup, today known as Hosachiguru.

Shift to organic farming inevitable

Ludhiana,  A three-day training programme on “Organic farming – farm to fork approach” concluded at the PAMETI, PAU, Ludhiana.The training course was attended by 33 extension officials from the agriculture and allied departments.

Dr HS Dhaliwal, Director, PAMETI informed the officials about objectives of the training programme, detailing the need for adopting organic ways of cultivation and emphasised on new marketing strategies for organic produce.

Caritas India strives to make central India drought proof

Over the years, recurring droughts and frequent crop failures have driven the farming community of Central India to despair for several years on the trot. During the current period, a major part of Central India is reeling under the spell of drought that has created the severe water crisis. Farming communities of Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of Maharashtra and Bundelkhand that straddles Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have lost their livelihoods to the cruel vagaries of nature.

Karnataka mulls sale of millet through Hopcoms outlets

BENGALURU: Keen to help farmers benefit from the rising popularity of millets, the state government is contemplating to start sale of millets through Hopcoms.

The price of Siridhanya (millets) is soaring with the rise in demand due to its health benefits. But farmers are not benefiting due to the menace of middlemen. “We want to encourage farmers to grow millets and help them get better price.

A proposal to sell them through Hopcoms and Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) outlets is under consideration. Such move will not only help customers get millets at a reasonable price, but also enables farmers to get fair returns for their produce,” Agriculture minister Shivashankar Reddy said.