Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals

ISAP Monthly E-newsletter, Volume 8, Issue:13 (OCT, 2015)


- ISAP Activities

-Prominent Contributors to Agriculture

- Science & Technology

- News Highlights


ISAP, the parent body of IAP, which also started as an electronic group in 2001 and achieved the following highlights since then:
  • ISAP group and page on Facebook and linkedin cater to more than 100,000 professionals on a daily basis with thousands of posts every month and answers to huge no of queries and interactions generated through these platforms.
  • Reached 1500 Villages, 49 blocks, 27 districts in 15 States
  • Touched and transformed the lives of 5 lakh Indian farming families
  • Provided Entrepreneurship Development training to 3396 agri-graduates and incubated 1059 successful ventures
  • Trained 6611 BPL rural youth on vocational skills and helped them gain meaningful livelihoods.
  • Certified 467 agri-graduates under India Crop Certified Adviser Program
  • Satisfactorily answered more than 5 lakh farmer queries through our Kisan Call Centres (KCC) in Bhopal (MP) and Gulbarga (Karnataka)
  • Successfully established two 100 bedded rural hospitals in West Bengal
  • Successfully running multi-seater health helpline in Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh)
  • Set up 36 water treatment plants for village drinking water supply schemes in various states
  • Successfully running Community Radio Station "Kissan Vani Sironj" in District vidisha (M.P)
  • Created more than 100 farmer producer companies owned by @100,000 farmers across India

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ISAP Activities

OCPF-IFS Project, Rajasthan

ISAP has initiated OCPF-IFS project in the districts of Baran, Bundi and Sawai Madhopur (Rajasthan). Main objective of this program is to strengthen food and nutrition security and to improve livelihood of small and marginal farmers of Southeastern Rajasthan. Program is also aimed at building effective and cost efficient collaboration between producers, industry, governments, civil society organizations and other stakeholders for commodity based development. A total of 9600 farmers will directly be benefitted with this program.

Monthly Activities :-

In October month, 60 farmer field days were conducted under the OCPF-IFS Project in districts Baran (Anta and Kishanganj blocks), Bundi (Nainwa and Hindoli block) and Sawai Madhopur (Bonli and Khandar blocks). Total 10 farmer field days were conducted in each block. These field days are conducted on the site of frontline demonstration plots set up under the project on different crops. Demo farms are set up at prominent location in project villages. Demo farmers are provided holistic extension support under the project. The main motive of these farmer field days was to demonstrate advance technologies & proven cropping techniques adopted on demo site to the project farmers. Farmers here get opportunity to interact with lead farmers and extension officials of ISAP and learn from their wisdom, experience and knowledge.

Images of Farmer Field Days conducted in Nainwa block in Sawai Madhopur district

Farmers interacting with field team members during a field day in Kishanganj block of Sawai Madhopur district

In October month, 6 exposure visits were organized in OCPF-IFS Project areas of Rajasthan. In this farmers were taken to Krishi Vigyan Kendra and to the dairy farms of progressive farmers. During these exposure visits farmers interacted with subject matter experts of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, who guided them on crop production, Integrated Farming System (IFS), market integration and the methods to make farming an economically viable profession. In total, 100 farmers were benefitted from these exposure visits.

An exposure visit conducted at KVK Anta and experts guiding them on the queries

Exposure visit conducted at a dairy farm for the farmers in Sawai Madhopur district

OCPF-AES Project, Karnataka

In phase I, OCPF-AES project was started as Soil health improvement and yield enhancement program. In span of four years, project got culminated into institutionalization of project farmers into “Producer organizations” (FPOs) and integration of these FPOs into the existing market value chain. In 1st phase, ISAP has formed total seven (7) Farmer Producer Organizations in districts of Gulbarga, Bidar and Raichur. In phase II, emphasis is largely on making these FPOs sustainable through market integration, infrastructure support and convergence with various schemes

Monthly Activities :-

Farmers’ visit to KVK Gulbarga was also organized during October month. The participating farmers were explained about the procedure to use the inputs in the vermin-compost units and selection of earthworm varieties. Farmers visited the Biogas and Azolla cultivation setup and learned the procedure to cultivate Azolla along with its usage and benefits.

Mr. Raju Teggelli, Program Coordinator, KVK explaining the farmers about the use of vermi-compost units

Farmers at Biogas setup in KVK

Farmers at Azolla cultivation setup of KVK

Dr. Ashok, Technical expert explaining the procedure to cultivate Azolla

Three training programs for IFS lead farmers were organized at KVK Gulbarga & Bidar. In these trainings, farmers were provided basic fundamentals of IFS. They were provided information on most suitable and profitable crop combinations or patterns in this Hyderabad-Karnataka region. Farmers were also told that how optimally they can integrate livestock along with conventional cropping under IFS. Under horticulture and agroforestry plant component of IFS, 35 farmers of Basavkalyan, Halbarga & Bidar block were provided saplings of Sapota, Tamarind and Teak plants.

Dr. Anand, Professor, KVK, Gulbarga interacting with farmers

Mr. Vivek Chakkote, Project officer, ISAP interacting with the farmers at KVK, Bidar

Dr. S.A Patil distributing the sapota sapling to the farmer at Jai Kisan AVRC, Halabarga village

Dr. S.A. Patil, ISAP team members and farmers with Tamarind and Teak plant saplings

A community training was also organized on women empowerment including girls’ education, health and hygiene in Gudur village. Farmers were explained about the importance of maintaining proper health & hygiene, harms of child marriage, female feticide and importance of providing education to girl child. Knowledge was also shared on nutrition aspect of new mothers and their babies and about the various cottage industry activities through which the women at village level can be empowered.

Dr. Manjunath, MBBS explaining the importance of health & hygiene to the farmers

Farmer community attending the training

A Computer Education Center was also inaugurated at Gudur, AVRC. School going kids of farmers will be provided training on basic computer courses. Village youth and women will also be benefitted from this centre.

Inauguration of Computer Education Center by the president of Gram Panchayat

Glimpse of computer education center at Gudur AVRC


Project SHARE II

This is the second phase of Project SHARE i.e. Sustainable Harvest Agriculture Resources and Environment. It aims to create change agents among farmers of corn, cotton and vegetable crop farming and also includes the concept of Integrated Farming Systems (IFS) and the concept of Model Village. This project is being implemented in the states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh. During the course of the project, 45,000 farmers will be mobilized to form 45 FPOs and the women from the farming households will be encouraged to form SHGs so as to channelize their income and savings.

Monthly Activities :-

Project is in mobilization stage. Field teams are conducting mobilization meetings or awareness campaigns. In these meetings, farmers are provided information about project, institution building and cropping aspects. So far, more than 300 such meetings have been conducted in all the 4 states. Farmers in project areas are also being educated on advance cropping techniques through wall paintings. These paintings convey information regarding hybrid seeds, micro irrigation techniques, water conservation, organic farming etc.

FIG formation in Mashihal village of Raichur district and Pratapur Village of Gorakhpur district

Wall paintings at Shivpur village, Chauri Chaura block and Chahi village, Chiraigaon block of Gorakhpur and Varanasi district respectively


Vegetable Initiative for Urban Clusters (VIUC)-Ajmer

The Vegetable Initiative for Urban Clusters (VIUC) scheme was launched in the year 2011-12 under Rashtriya Kirshi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) to enhance the production and productivity of vegetables and augment farmers’ income along with assuring sustainable supply of vegetables in the identified consumption centers at affordable prices. Under this scheme, ISAP has been assigned to create 2 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) in Ajmer.

Monthly Activities :-

ISAP has identified Peesangan and Srinagar as potential blocks for the project. So far, 65 FIGs have been formed under the project. Out of the total, 35 FIGs have been formed in Peesangan block while 30 FIGs have been formed in Sri Nagar block. So far around 128 farmer meetings have been conducted in which total 1633 farmers participated. These meetings are conducted to inform the farmers about the scheme and benefits of the project. Farmer groups are encouraged to do savings, which they can use for business activities. Bank accounts of 6 FIGs have also been opened. These farmers are also provided training on proven cropping techniques through audio-visual methods. Trainings are being provided on Good Agriculture Practices (GAPs) like preparation of Vermi-compost, NADEP method, Nursery Preparation, Azolla cultivation, post-harvest management etc. Till date around 21 trainings have been conducted, in which total 225 farmers participated. A three days program on training of trainers was also conducted at NIAM, Jaipur on business plan of FPOs. Exposure visit of project farmers to KVK, Tabeeji was also conducted. There farmers were trained on preparation of vermin-compost and cultivation of Azolla grass.

Glimpse of training of trainer on business plan of FPOs at NIAM, Jaipur

Glimpse of exposure visit of project farmers to KVK, Ttabeeji. Here they were informed about preparation of vermicompost


MP Special Project - Phase II

ISAP, as a resource institution, has got responsibility to mobilize eight thousand small and marginal farmers under eight Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO) (at the rate of one thousand farmers per FPO) in four districts of Madhya Pradesh by the name- Guna, Shivpuri, Sheopur and Hoshangabad.

Monthly Activities :-

This project started in Feb 2015. More than 70% mobilization has been completed in project areas. So far, a total of 184 FIGs have been formed. Besides training on agricultural aspects, farmers are also given training on institution building, record maintenance and financial aspects. FIGs have started collecting Share amount, which they will require as paid up capital after registration of FPO. So far 33 bank accounts have been opened and a sum of Rs 61900 has been collected as share money from 784 farmers.

Glimpse of farmer meeting at Kerua village of Shivpuri block of Shivpuri district

Glimpse of farmer meeting at Barwari village of Sohagpur Block, Hoshangabad


FPO Promotion under Nation Food Security Mission (NFSM)

National Food Security Mission (NFSM) is a Central Scheme of GOI aims towards increasing production and productivity of cereals, pulses and commercial crops on a sustainable basis so as to ensure food security of the country. National Demonstration Project (NDP) is an initiative under National Food Security Mission, that aims is to bridge the yield gap in respect of these crops through dissemination of improved technologies and farm management practices. Under NDP of NFSM Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals has got the responsibility to promote Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs). ISAP has to mobilize 5000 farmers each in three states namely Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana, and form FPOs. As per the plan, 15 FPOs, each consists of 1000 farmers, are in formation state in the mentioned states.

Monthly Activities :-

Against a target of 15000 farmers, 14,942 farmers have been mobilized so far under NDP-NFSM project. So far, a total of 1865 group meetings and 1001 trainings have been conducted for the FPO members under this program. In Oct, third cyclic monitoring visit was conducted at Adilabad and Aurangabad. In monitoring visit, business plans of all the FPOs were discussed. Exposure visit of project farmers of Kannad block was also conducted. They were taken to the Boltek village of Kannad block. They learnt about zero budget farming of tomato crop in this excursion visit.

Glimpse of monitoring visit at Adilabad

Glimpse of monitoring visit at Aurangabad

Glimpse of preparation of Jivamrut for zero budget farming of tomato crop

Glimpse of exposure visit of farmers to the Boltek village to learn the technique of zero budget tomato farming


Karnataka Special Project

Karnataka Special Project is an initiative of Govt. of Karnataka in association with SFAC and various project implementing agencies. Under the project, ISAP has to form 15 Farmer Producer Organizations in 11 districts of Karnataka. The districts are- Gadag, Ballary, Koppal, Bidar, Raichur, Yadgir, Gulbarga, Hassan, Kodagu, Dharwad and Haveri.

Monthly Activities :-

So far 520 Farmer Interest Groups have been formed in the project districts, in which total 10,400 farmers have been enrolled. 172 bank accounts of the FIGs have been opened. Till date, total 396 farmer meetings have been conducted in which the farmers were made aware about the resource institution and benefits of becoming a member of Farmer Producer Organization (FPO). Share money collection from the farmer members has also been started by FIG leaders. So far, Rs 31,56,300/- have been collected as share money from 3020 project farmers. These farmers also bein provided training on agricultural aspects in local language using audio-visual form (animation videos). Till date, 23 trainings have been conducted, in which 690 project farmers participated.

MP Special Project - Phase I

ISAP with support from Department of Agriculture & Farmer Welfare, Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium has been promoting FPOs in four blocks of MP. The blocks are Gurh and Huzur in Rewa district, and Rampur Naikin and Majhauli in Sidhi district. ISAP had been given the target of mobilizing 4000 small and marginal farmers for the project and organize 1000 farmers under every FPO. The MP team of ISAP, so far, has been able to mobilize 3757 farmers under 4 FPOs.

Monthly Activities :-

Farmer awareness campaign on cattle feed was conducted for FPO members of Gurh, Majhauli and Rampur Naikin block. In this training, farmers were informed about the use of micro nutrient, calcium etc. as diet for improving milk yield. These FPOs have ventured into animal feed business.

Agri-clinic Agri-business Program –

ISAP is running Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP) in 12 states under the aegis of MANAGE. This training is provided to unemployed agriculture and allied sector graduates. After training, ISAP provides active hand-holding support to these trained agripreneurs for the setting up their own business venture. ISAP has so far trained 4400 agri-preneurs in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, J&K, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. Out of these 4400, around 1454 agripreneurs have established their independent business successfully. We share one such success story with our readers in each ISAP newsletter.

Success-story :-

“The Willingness to achieve your goal helps you overcome all obstacles” says Tapubhai Govindbhai Parmar, a proud owner of Nursery. Tapubhai also provides consultancy services to various farmers on varieties of plants and seedlings. “The journey from being a small employee in a company to an agripreneur was not an easy one” says Tapubhai. “After getting a diploma in agriculture, I was working for a company in Gujarat, earning 7000/month”. After working for almost 8 years in the company, there was no job satisfaction. He was not making enough to meet his regular necessities. “One day while working on computer in my office I came to know about the ACABC training of two months”. “I had no second thoughts and I joined the training of two months (10th April to 8th July, 2015) at ISAP Vadodra centre” says Tapubhai.

He learned entrepreneurial aspects in this training and made his mind to start a small nursery after completion of his training. This was not smooth ride. He faced difficulty in arranging space for nursery. After initial hiccups, he started a small nursery with initial investment of around 2-2.5 lakhs. After sometime the business started growing and he expanded it by providing consultancy services to various farmers. Currently, Tapubhai Earns 15,000-20,000/ Month. Tapubhai provides employment to around 10 people with the help of which, he is able to cover 15-20 villages per month.

“I always wanted to help people by providing knowledge regarding the various plants and seedlings that could be beneficial to farmers. My current occupation provides me this opportunity”.

Tapubhai is doing great job. ISAP wishes him luck for his future endeavors.

Tapubhai can be contacted at: Phone no: 9228246575, Email:

Tapubhai Govindbhai with nursery seedlings


Science & Technology

Source Trace™: New Cloud-Based Mobile App Allows Fish Farmers to Manage Traceability

National Fish & Seafood (NFS) has launched Source Trace™, a cloud-based mobile application for fish farmers around the world to manage traceability.

National Fish & Seafood Aquaculture and Sustainability Specialist, Rajkumar Gollapalli, said: “This will revolutionize and streamline the critical work of traceability for aquaculture leaders around the world. It makes this process faster, easier, more reliable and more efficient.”

The cloud-based technology enables complete traceability of all parameters associated with aqua farms, which can be digitally entered into an Android-enabled system, on-site, and retrieved and analyzed by farm managers and National Fish & Seafood’s dedicated aquaculture team. Data can be entered and retrieved in real-time and will capture the complete traceability details of the production system right from the hatchery to the farms and up to the harvesting stage. This application is expected to increase the efficiency and transparency of the entire supply chain. It can also maintain all documents including legal documents, licenses, effluent records, and minutes of meetings and health certificates, which are required for certifying the farms with Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP).


Do you know

Big Max!!!

Big Max is a large variety of squash that can exceed 100 pounds (45 kg) and 20 in (510 mm) in diameter under ideal growing conditions. Hybrid cucurbit varieties such as Big Max are not true pumpkins, but instead "squash-type pumpkins". They are often bright orange in color, with fine-grained, yellow-orange flesh. The skin, deeply ribbed and slightly roughened, can grow to be 3 to 4 in (76 to 102 mm) thick, making them favorable for storage. The flesh has been described as good for canning and freezing. However, their size often makes utilizing them for culinary uses cumbersome, and they lack the flavor and texture present in smaller pumpkin varieties.

The variety was hybridized for its size during the early 1960s. Specimens as large as 300 pounds have been grown. Individual fruits are round to slightly flattened.


Prominent Contributors to Agriculture

Ingo PotrykusProfessor Emeritus of Plant Sciences, at the Max Planck Institute of Plant Sciences and has contributed to food security in developing countries. Focusing on development and application of genetic engineering technology for crops such as rice (Oryza sativa), wheat (Triticum aestivum), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), and cassava (Manihot esculenta). Potrykus researched the problems areas of disease and pest-resistance. He is considered the inventor of “Golden Rice” and is chairman of Humanitarian Golden Rice Board and Network. A recipient of numerous awards, Potrykus is a member of the Academia Europaea, the World Technology Network, and the Swiss Academy of Technical Sciences.


News Highlights

ICRISAT adds finger millet as its sixth mandate crop

International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) said finger millet, which figured among the six small millets in research portfolio of the institute, has been formally made its mandate crop. This is an important recognition for a crop which has been an integral part of ICRISAT's research portfolio, a release from ICRISAT said.

"Finger millet has always been within our mandate crops but we want to provide greater visibility to this nutri-cereal that offers so much to both smallholders and consumers," ICRISAT Director General David Bergvinson said. The ICRISAT gene bank holds nearly 6,000 finger millet germ plasm accessions from 24 countries, conserved for use in research and development.

Among the ICRISAT projects that focus on finger millet, the Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement (HOPE) project of sorghum and millets in Sub- Saharan Africa and South Asia funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is showing encouraging results in improving productivity of finger millet and household incomes in East Africa, it said.

"This was achieved by enabling farmers to adopt improved varieties and associated agronomic practices and linking producers to both input and product markets," it said.


Whitefly attack highlights need for better Bt cotton

An attack of whitefly and diseases like leaf curve virus on the cotton crop in North India has taken an ugly shape. Yields have fallen sharply, with allegedly spurious pesticide supply worsening the situation, even sparking farmer suicides.

At a time when the cotton market in general has been down for over a year, it has brought to light the need for an improved variety of genetically modified (Bt) cotton. Farmers in Punjab and Haryana have launched an agitation, as half their cotton crop is estimated to have been lost, with intense spending on pesticides having aggravated the situation.

Whitefly is a plant-sucking pest. It has damaged most of the cotton crop in Punjab and to a large extent in Haryana (and in Rajasthan's Ganganagar district). The crop loss due to this is estimated at 40-50 per cent of the total or 1.5 to two million bales (a bale is 170 kg). The Haryana and Punjab governments had set up a committee of experts to study the impact and find solutions. On Monday, it met and agreed there was a need to break the monoculture of Bt sowing.

The government of Punjab has announced a relief package of Rs 600 crore for those affected farmers but farmers say this would amount to about Rs 8,000 an acre, against their actual cost of Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 an acre. Multiple use of spurious pesticides, reportedly 10 times the normal use in many cases, has fuelled the crisis. Early last month, a senior official from the agriculture ministry of Punjab was arrested on charges for procuring and supplying spurious pesticide.


Nabard releases Rs500 cr to hswc for paddy procurement

National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) has released an amount of `500 crore to Haryana State Warehousing Corporation (HSWC) for purchase of paddy during ongoing procurement operations being undertaken by notified State Government departments

This is for the first time NABARD, Haryana regional office has sanctioned and released financial assistance for procurement of food grains to HSWC.An offical spokesperson said that the loan will help the corporation in reimbursing the eligible amount of paddy purchased from farmers in various mandis / outlets in the entire state in the line with the Government’s resolve to pay the farmers’ dues at the earliest.

In line with its mandate of promoting rural prosperity, NABARD has introduced this separate line of credit for marketing federations / corporations to promote the marketing of agricultural produce and other agricultural activities. NABARD provides credit support for meeting financial requirements towards procurement cost, processing and marketing of agricultural commodities & other activities related to value addition and supply chain management of agriculture commodities including milk, said the spokesperson.HSWC has been allocated 11 per cent share in paddy purchase. Haryana Food & Supplies Department expects arrival of around 36 lakh metric tonne of paddy during the current season (KMS -2015).


Centre to Procure Pulses Directly from Farmer Starting November

With dal prices ruling at above Rs 200 per kg in the retail markets, the Centre will start procuring 40,000 tonnes of pulses directly from farmers through NAFED and SFAC starting November.

The procured pulses will be used to create buffer stockand the Cabinet note is being moved in this regard, and if required the Centre may also import lentils, Agriculture Secretary Siraj Hussain told PTI.

In the national capital, imported tur dal is being sold at a subsidised rate of Rs 120 per kg at nearly 500 outlets of Kendriya Bhandar and Safal."The government has decided to create buffer stock of pulses by procuring from farmers and also by importing if required. Pulses including tur, chana and urad will be procured directly from farmers in major producing districts," Hussain said.

The Secretary further said the three agencies NAFED, FCI and SFAC will procure on behalf of the Centre. Nafed will procure from state cooperatives, FCI from state government organisations and SFAC from farmer producer organisations.

"It has been decided that 30,000 tonnes will be procured by Nafed and 10,000 tonnes will be procured by SFAC, The procurement will start from first week of November. And a Cabinet is being moved in this regard by the Agriculture Ministry," Hussain said.

Around 5,000 tonnes of pulses have already been imported and are being distributed to the states and another 3,000tonnes are on the way, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said yesterday. Around 35,000 tonnes of pulses have been seized from 10 states in two days after the state governments intensified crackdown against hoarding and black marketing of the commodity, Jaitley said.


Coffee exports drop marginally to 3,00, 522 tonnes in 2014-15

India's coffee exports declined marginally to 3,00,522 tonnes in the 2014-15 marketing year due to multiple factors, including drop in global prices, according to the Coffee Board

Exports stood at 3,03 ,250 tonnes in the previous year. The coffee marketing year runs from October to September. Although exports showed a slight decline in volume terms, the shipments have risen in value terms to Rs 5,142 crore in the 2014-15 marketing year as against Rs 4,920 crore in the previous year, the Board data showed.

The unit per value realisation rose to Rs 1,71,105 per tonne in 2014-15, compared with Rs 162,255 per tonne in the previous year. The official said the trade decisions were affected due to high volatility of global coffee prices and fall in currencies of many countries like Brazil, Indonesia and Vietnam as against the US dollar.

Hybrid custard apple gives export hope

India is looking at the Chinese market to push its new variety of custard apple (Sharifa or Sitaphal) which despite being quite high on nutritional value and having a higher shelf life compared to the traditional variety could not become a popular export earlier.

India had requested China to give export clearance to the new variety of custard apple - called Arka Sahan — when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited China in May. Subsequent enquiries from Beijing has enthused scientists back home, especially in the Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR), Bangalore that took 17 years to develop this variety. It is claimed to be unmatched in terms of nutritional value, size and shelf life. "Though Arka Sahan is similar to custard apple (known as Sitaphal in south India and other parts of the country), it is a new fruit in itself. It took 17 years to be evolved as this elite hybrid," said S H Jalikop, retired principal scientist of the IIHR, who was involved with the breeding of this new variety. He told TOI: "Arka Sahan is not a pure Sitaphal, but it is a new fruit that is made up with two different fruit species. It is made up of 75% Sitaphal and 25% Cherimoya."

The IIHR scientists had developed it as a new fruit the way several fruits had been developed in other parts of the world where two or three fruit varieties are crossed to make a completely new variety and marketed as new fruits.


Proposal to import grape saplings hits hurdle in Maharashtra

An ambitious proposal to import patented varieties of disease-resistant grape saplings by the Maharashtra State Grape Growers Association (MSGGA) and the All India Grape Exporters Association with help from the National Research Centre for Grapes (NRCG) has hit a minor hurdle. The cost of royalties for the patent varieties of table grapes amounts to around R40 crore, a sum which has to be collected from farmers with some financial assistance from the government as well. Also, five new varieties of disease-resistant grapes have been imported by the State Grape Growers Association from South Africa to improve the yield of the fruit in Nashik.

According to top officials, collecting these funds is a huge challenge and though farmers have shown interest in importing these varieties, getting the funds from them is quite difficult. NRC has been providing technical assistance in ensuring that the the raw material is disease-free, growing these in Indian conditions and testing these for desired characteristics and help in propagating these.

According to S D Sawant, director, NRCG, around 10 varieties have been targeted and talks have been in progress with a supplier who has demanded a lumpsum instead of royalties to be paid every year which is why the sum is so huge.This project has been in the offing for three years and the associations are now seeking ways to raise funds through the formation of a new Grape Improvement Fund that could help farmers export at a cheaper cost.


West Bengal seeks investments for agriculture sector

West Bengal government is looking at for corporate investments in the agriculture sector where farm mechanization can pave the way for engineering industries to invest.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee through industry bodies like CII and FICCI has been pitching for industrial investments in the state citing existence of large land bank, surplus power and other infrastructural amenities. But there has been no significant private sector investment. The state’s new thrust area is agriculture, for which it has roped in industry body like CII to find out possible avenues for investment.

CII and the state government organised Krishi Unnyan Mela in Burdwan, popularly known as the rice bowl of the state, to introduce concepts of farm mechanisation, which can create market of farm equipment for industries.

West Bengal’s agriculture minister Purnendu Basu said there are 71.23 lakh farmers in the state involved in cultivating 55.10 lakh hectares of land. The state has brought 29,000 hectares of fallow land under irrigation. The state government has given kishan credit cards to 35.81 lakh farmers in the last four years and an agri credit of Rs 17,513.08 crore during the same period. This shows the size of a potential market, with which industry can set its linkage, Basu said.

Although the state has the APMC Act in place and has opened farm gates for procurement of agri products to corporates like Reliance Retail, Sanjiv Goenka’s Spencer’s and Aditya Birla’s more, organised agri retailing has not got stem in the state. There is no bar of contract farming in the state but Pepsi has done it in a little way with the potato farmers only.

“We will have to look at West Bengal’s agri market in a different way. It is not the farm products that corporate India can bank upon for retailing but farm equipment, which it can think of putting in every farmer’s hands. Thus concept of farm mechanisation has to be popularised,” PK Mazumdar, Mamata Banerjee’s agricultural advisor, said.


Agriculture experts to try organic farming in Leh-Ladakh region

Encouraged by the results of Homoeo farming in Kashmir valley, agriculture experts in Leh-Ladakh region have decided to assess the utility of the system on horticulture in the area.

"We have decided to experiment the impact of Homoeo farming or organic farming by comparing it with traditional farming in the area as it ensures safe environment, requires less inputs, ensures maximum yield and more financial gain," said Anup Raj, Associate Director of Research University of Agricultura .. University of Agricultural Science and Technology in Leh.

At present, there is more land to cultivate in Leh-Ladakh as people are gradually moving towards other professions. "We can encourage people to switch over to horticulture if it gives better result i.e. higher yield with less inputs", he said, adding that the problem of water scarcity in the area would not come in the way of homoeo farming as it requires less irrigation.

Swami Parmanand, Founder Director of VIMASES and the brain behind this farming, presented a paper at the seminar narrating in detail the utility of Homoeo farming in the climatic condition of Leh-Ladakh.

"The vegetables produced with Homoeo farming would give more foreign exchange as not only the produce would be eco-friendly but it paves way for eco-friendly environment also," Parmanand said.


To most people it is just dust but to a farmer it is potential - Danielle Nierenberg

Wishing you all a Great Month ahead! - ISAP Team

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