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Agri Insurance

Potato Crop Insurance

Salient features of this Policy 1.  Unique parametric insurance based on named perils linked to pla

Thursday, 9 June 2011 Comments

Agri Land

Agri Land

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Arable land — land under annual crops, such as cereals, cotton, other technical crops, potatoes, v

Tuesday, 1 March 2011 Comments

Agri Loans

Slew of agri, dairy sche

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The Karnataka government has allocated Rs 17,857 crore for the development of agriculture, allied

Saturday, 26 February 2011 Comments

Business and Finance

Sellers Corner

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Agriculture: The Unlikely Earth Day Hero

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For over 40 years, Earth Day has served as a call to action, mobilizing individuals and organizations around the world to address these challenges. This year Nourishing the Planet highlights agriculture—often blamed as a driver of environmental problems—as an emerging solution.

Agriculture is a source of food and income for the world’s poor and a primary engine for economic growth. It also offers untapped potential for mitigating climate change and protecting biodiversity, and for lifting millions of people out of poverty.

This Earth Day, Nourishing the Planet offers 15 solutions to guide farmers, scientists, politicians, agribusinesses and aid agencies as they commit to promoting a healthier environment and a more food-secure future.

1.  Guaranteeing the Right to Food. Guaranteeing the human right to adequate food—now and for future generations—requires that policymakers incorporate this right into food security laws and programs at the regional, national, and international level. Governments have a role in providing the public goods to support sustainable agriculture, including extension services, farmer-to-farmer transmission of knowledge, storage facilities, and infrastructure that links farmers to consumers.

2.  Harnessing the Nutritional and Economic Potential of Vegetables.Micronutrient deficiencies, including lack of vitamin A, iodine, and iron, affect 1 billion people worldwide. Promoting indigenous vegetables that are rich in micronutrients could help reduce malnutrition. Locally adapted vegetable varieties are hardier and more dependable than staple crops, making them ideal for smallholder farmers. Research organizations like AVRDC/The World Vegetable Center are developing improved vegetable varieties, such as amaranth and African eggplant, and cultivating an appreciation for traditional foods among consumers.

3.  Reducing Food Waste. Experts continue to emphasize increasing global food production, yet our money could be better spent on reducing food waste and post-harvest losses. Already, a number of low-input and regionally appropriate storage and preservation techniques are working to combat food waste around the world. In Pakistan, farmers cut their harvest losses by 70 percent by switching from jute bags and containers constructed with mud to more durable metal containers. And in West Africa, farmers have saved around 100,000 mangos by using solar dryers to dry the fruit after harvest.

4.  Feeding Cities. The U.N. estimates that 70 percent of the world’s people will live in cities by 2050, putting stress on available food. Urban agriculture projects are helping to improve food security, raise incomes, empower women, and improve urban environments. In sub-Saharan Africa, the Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO) has helped city farmers build food gardens, using old tires to create crop beds. And community supported agriculture (CSA) programs in Cape Town, South Africa, are helping to raise incomes and provide produce for school meals.

5.  Getting More Crop per Drop. Many small farmers lack access to a reliable source of water, and water supplies are drying up as extraction exceeds sustainable levels. Only 4 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s cultivated land is equipped for irrigation, and a majority of households depend on rainfall to water their crops—which climate scientists predict will decline in coming decades. Efficient water management in agriculture can boost crop productivity for these farmers. By practicing conservation tillage, weeding regularly, and constructing vegetative barriers and earthen dams, farmers can harness rainfall more effectively.

6.  Using Farmers’ Knowledge in Research and Development. Agricultural research and development processes typically exclude smallholder farmers and their wealth of knowledge, leading to less-efficient agricultural technologies that go unused. Research efforts that involve smallholder farmers alongside agricultural scientists can help meet specific local needs, strengthen farmers’ leadership abilities, and improve how research and education systems operate. In southern Ethiopia’s Amaro district, a community-led body carried out an evaluation of key problems and promising solutions using democratic decision-making to determine what type of research should be funded.

7.  Improving Soil Fertility. Africa’s declining soil fertility may lead to an imminent famine; already, it is causing harvest productivity to decline 15–25 percent, and farmers expect harvests to drop by half in the next five years. Green manure/cover crops, including living trees, bushes, and vines, help restore soil quality and are an inexpensive and feasible solution to this problem. In the drought-prone Sahel region, the Dogon people of Mali are using an innovative, three-tiered system and are now harvesting three times the yield achieved in other parts of the Sahel.

8.  Safeguarding Local Food Biodiversity. Over the past few decades, traditional African agriculture based on local diversity has given way to monoculture crops destined for export. Less-healthy imports are replacing traditional, nutritionally rich foods, devastating local economies and diets. Awareness-raising initiatives and efforts to improve the quality of production and marketing are adding value to and encouraging diversification and consumption of local products. In Ethiopia’s Wukro and Wenchi villages, honey producers are training with Italian and Ethiopian beekeepers to process and sell their honey more efficiently, promote appreciation for local food, and compete with imported products.

9.  Coping with Climate Change and Building Resilience. Global climate change, including higher temperatures and increased periods of drought, will negatively impact agriculture by reducing soil fertility and decreasing crop yields. Although agriculture is a major contributor to climate change, accounting for about one-third of global emissions, agricultural practices, such as agroforestry and the re-generation of natural resources, can help mitigate climate change. In Niger, farmers have planted nearly 5 million hectares of trees that conserve water, prevent soil erosion, and sequester carbon, making their farms more productive and drought-resistant without damaging the environment.

10.  Harnessing the Knowledge and Skills of Women Farmers. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, women represent 43 percent of the agricultural labor force, but due to limited access to inputs, land, and services, they produce less per unit of land than their male counterparts. Improving women’s access to agricultural extension services, credit programs, and information technology can help empower women, while reducing global hunger and poverty. In Uganda, extension programs are introducing women farmers to coolbot technology, which uses solar energy and an inverter to reduce temperatures and prolong the shelf life of vegetables.

11.  Investing in Africa’s Land: Crisis and Opportunity. As pressure to increase food production rises, wealthy countries in the Middle East and Asia are acquiring cheap land in Africa to increase their food productivity. This has led to the exploitation of small-scale African farmers, compromising their food security. Agricultural investment models that create collaborations between African farmers and the foreign investing countries can be part of the solution. In Ethiopia’s Rift Valley, farmers grow green beans for the Dutch market during the European winter months, but cultivate corn and other crops for local consumption during the remaining months.

12.  Charting a New Path to Eliminating Hunger. Nearly 1 billion people around the world are hungry, 239 million of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa. To alleviate hunger, we must shift our attention beyond the handful of crops that have absorbed most of agriculture’s attention and focus on ways to improve farmers’ access to inputs and make better use of the food already produced. Innovations—such as the human-powered pump that can increase access to irrigation and low-cost plastic bags that help preserve grains—offer models that can be scaled-up and replicated beyond Africa.

13.  Moving Ecoagriculture into the Mainstream. Agricultural practices that emphasize increased production have contributed to the degradation of land, soil, and local ecosystems, and ultimately hurt the livelihoods of the farmers who depend on these natural resources. Agroecological methods, including organic farming practices, can help farmers protect natural resources and provide a sustainable alternative to costly industrial inputs. These include rotational grazing for livestock in Zimbabwe’s savanna region and tea plantations in Kenya, where farmers use intercropping to improve soil quality and boost yields.

14.  Improving Food Production from Livestock. In the coming decades, small livestock farmers in the developing world will face unprecedented challenges: demand for animal-source foods, such as milk and meat, is increasing, while animal diseases in tropical countries will continue to rise, hindering trade and putting people at risk. Innovations in livestock feed, disease control, and climate change adaptation—as well as improved yields and efficiency—are improving farmers’ incomes and making animal-source food production more sustainable. In India, farmers are improving the quality of their feed by using grass, sorghum, stover, and brans to produce more milk from fewer animals.

15. Going Beyond Production. Although scarcity and famine dominate the discussion of food security in sub-Saharan Africa, many countries are unequipped to deal with the crop surpluses that lead to low commodity prices and food waste. Helping farmers better organize their means of production—from ordering inputs to selling their crops to a customer—can help them become more resilient to fluctuations in global food prices and better serve local communities that need food. In Uganda, the organization TechnoServe has helped to improve market conditions for banana farmers by forming business groups through which they can buy inputs, receive technical advice, and sell their crops collectively.


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All you wanted to know about organic food

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A special report from the USA!
India is here in every aspect of organic food movement!
What’s so great about organic food?

Food purists are now everywhere.  In the West, why even in India, of course, they are few and far between.  But there is a great awareness these days about organically grown food, vegetables, fruits, cereals and even the way food is cooked and served and much more
Here is a fascinating latest coverage!

Of course there is a lot of difference between organic food in the USA and here in India.  Readers should keep this distinction in mind!

Just eat what your body wants you to eat? Your body wants meat; your  body wants fat; your body wants salt and sugar? Your body will put  up with fruits and vegetables if it must, but only after all the meat, fat, salt and sugar are gone. And as for the question of where your food comes from — whether it’s locally grown, sustainably raised, grass-fed, free range or pesticide-free? Your body doesn’t give a hoot.
But you and your body aren’t the only ones with a stake in this game. Your doctor has opinions about what you should eat.

So does your family. And so too do the food purists who lately seem to be everywhere, insisting that everything that crosses your lips be raised and harvested and brought to market in just the right way. If you find this tiresome — even intrusive — you’re not alone. “It’s food, man. It’s identity,” says James McWilliams, a professor of environmental history at Texas State University. “We encourage people to eat sensibly and virtuously, and then we set this incredibly high bar for how they do it.”

The ideal — as we’re reminded and reminded and reminded — is to go organic, to trade processed foods for fresh foods and the supermarket for the farmers’ market. Organic foods of all kinds currently represent only about 3% of the total American market, according to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), but it’s a sector we all should be supporting more.

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Weather Based Agro Advisory

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Main weather observations (recorded during past 24 hours)

  • Fairly widespread rain/snow has occurred over Jammu & Kashmir and isolated over Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Fairly widespread rainfall has occurred over West Bengal & Sikkim, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya, scattered over Jharkhand and isolated over Bihar and Chhattisgarh.
  • The chief amounts of precipitation (in cm) recorded at 0830 hours IST of today is Balurghat-11, Baripada-5, Cherrapunji-4, Pahalgoan and Kupwara-3 each, Purina, Halflong, Midnapore, Tinsukia, Balasore, Quazigund and Banihal-2 each and Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Passighat, Chaparmukh, Sambalpur, Keongjhargarh, Srinagar and Nancowry-1 each.
  • Maximum temperatures fell by 4-7°C over some parts of east Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal and changed little elsewhere. They are below normal by 5-8°C over some parts of Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal and 2-3° C over parts of plains of northwest and central India and near normal over rest of the country.
  • The highest maximum temperature of 40.5°C recorded at Rentachintala (Andhra Pradesh).
  • Kalpana-1 cloud imagery at 0830 hours IST shows convective clouds over parts of Jammu & Kashmir and coastal Orissa. Low/medium clouds are seen over parts of rest western Himalayan region, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal & Sikkim, northeast and extreme south peninsular India.

Major features of weather forecast (upto 0830 hours IST of 8th April 2011))

  • Fairly widespread rain/snow would occur over Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh and scattered over Uttarakhand during next 48 hours and decrease thereafter.
  • Fairly widespread rain/thundershowers would occur over northeastern states during next 48 hours and decrease thereafter.
  • Scattered rain/thundershowers would occur over east and adjoining central India during next 24 hours and decrease thereafter.
  • Isolated rain/thundershowers would occur over south peninsular India and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  • Isolated dust storms/thunderstorms would occur over northwest India during next 24 hours.
  • Latest available satellite picture (Fig.1.) indicates the current cloud condition across Indian region.
  • The climate outlook for the period of seven days i.e. 5th to 12th April 2011 (Fig.2) fairly widespread rain/snow may occur over Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and scattered over Uttarakhand. Fairly widespread rain/thundershowers would occur over northeastern states, central India, south peninsular India and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  • Departure map of maximum temperature (based on 1730 hrs observations on 4th April 2011) over India is shown in figure 3.

Weather Warning

  • Isolated thunder squalls with wind speed exceeding 65 kmph would occur over Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal & Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya during next 24 hours.
  • Isolated dust storms/thunderstorms would occur over Punjab, Haryana and north Rajasthan during next 24 hours

Agricultural activities

  • Dry weather prevailed in Konkan region of Maharashtra state during past few days. The maximum and minimum temperature ranged from 31.8 to 34.0°C and 16.5 to 22.5°C, respectively. Agricultural operations like spraying in cashew, mango, harvesting of cole crops like cabbage, knolkol, chilli, brinjal, tomato, leaf vegetables and bottle gourd, cow pea, kulthi and covering of watermelon fruits with paddy straw are in progress. Low intensity of pest/diseases like mango hopper, thrips in mango, tea mosquito and thrips in cashew, aphids in wal, niger & sesames crops were noticed.
  • Light rainfall received in several places in Bihar state during past few days. Maximum and minimum temperatures ranged from 29.1°C to 35.7°C and 16.9 to 20.2°C respectively. Agricultural operations like irrigation in maize, harvesting, threshing and drying of mustard and tobacco and sowing of summer moong and urd. Spraying in pigeon pea and chickpea. Harvesting of potato, lentil and pea crops are in progress. Low to medium pest/diseases like pod borer in pigeon pea.

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Eco-farming can double food production in 10 Years - UN radio

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Small-scale farmers, can double food production within 10 years by introducing ecological methods in regions where the hungry live, according to a new United Nations report

Agro-ecology does not depend on chemical fertilizers but enhances soils productivity and protects the crops against pests by relying on the natural environment such as beneficial trees, plants, animals and insects.

The United Nations independent expert on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, says that countries that are now investing in agriculture, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa should focus on agroecology.

"My message is investments should focus less on the provision of inputs: chemical fertilizers and pesticides at subsidized prices and more on teaching agricultural practices that allow farmers to be less dependent on these inputs and to produce more with less."

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