Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals

ISAP Monthly E-Newsletter, Volume 10, Issue:3 (April , 2017)


- ISAP Activities

Science & Technology


Prominent Contributors to Agriculture

Do you know

- News Highlights


ISAP, the parent body of IAP, which also started as an electronic group in 2001, 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 a huge number of queries and interactions generated through these platforms.
  • Reached 1500 villages, 250 blocks, 100 districts in 18 states
  • Touched and transformed lives of 5 lakh Indian farming families
  • Provided Entrepreneurship Development training to 5000 agri-graduates and incubated 1783 successful ventures
  • Trained 10000 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 6 lakh farmer queries through 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" in Sironj,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-AES Project, Karnataka

In phase I, the OCPF-AES project started as soil health improvement and yield enhancement programs. In a span of 4 years, the project culminated into institutionalization of project farmers into Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and integration of these FPOs into the existing market value chain. In phase I, ISAP formed seven FPOs in the districts of Gulbarga, Bidar and Raichur. In phase II, emphasis was largely on making these FPOs sustainable through market integration, infrastructural support and convergence with various schemes.

Development of Horticulture Farm Centre at Anthappanal village, Kamalapur

The Karnataka Farmers Maha Society, the Federation of FPOs, has developed 10 acres of Horticulture Farm Centre at Anthappanal village of Kamalapur block. The sowing of seeds of water melon and musk melon varieties has been completed and through the mulching technique all the plant saplings are growing in good conditions.

The red gram procurement in the districts of Gulbarga and Bidar is complete. Now the team is working towards collection of bonds from the Warehouses for releasing the payments of the farmers.

Plantation of water melon in the Horticulture Farm Centre at village Anthappanal (Kamalapur, Karnataka)

OCPF-IFS Project, Rajasthan

Under the OCPF-IFS project, ISAP is working with the small and marginal farmers in the districts of Baran, Bundi and Sawai Madhopur of Rajasthan. Key interventions are being made to increase the productivity of field crops, vegetables and fruits through implementation of advanced crop production technologies, integrated farming practices, resource conservation, such as watershed harvesting management and generating in-farm resources, such as vermi-compost and bio-pesticides.

Efforts are being made to strengthen the FPOs through building linkages with the market and value chain stakeholders. Agri-Village Resource Centers (AVRCs) have been established in all the six operational blocks of the project to provide a common platform for the FPOs to run the enterprises. These FPOs have been equipped with tractors, farm machineries and accessories in the Custom Hiring Service Centers, Warehouses, shade net houses and vermi-compost pits in Nurseries, medical dispensaries in Primary Health Care Centers, Children Recreational Zones, Vocational Training Centers and large platforms for drying and winnowing of farmers’ produces.

Monthly Update:-

Under the Seed Production Program, the procurement of raw wheat seeds has started at all the AVRCs. For the purchases of raw wheat seeds made by the FPOs, the FPOs are providing prices in terms of MSP plus INR 200/- to the member farmers. The wheat varieties—HD 2967, Raj 4037, Raj 4079, HI 8498 and HI 8713—were considered and provided under this Seed Production Program. These procured raw wheat seeds will be stored in the established Seed Processing Units at the Warehouses of the AVRCs at Kishanganj and Khandar. Further, from now onwards the raw wheat seeds will be processed, packed, tagged and stored for the next sowing season and for supplying in the market. The Custom Hiring Service Centers of the FPOs at the Tehsils Anta, Kishanganj, Nainwa and Hindoli has been equipped with farm machineries and accessories available for the member farmers to hire according to their needs.

Under the Seed Production Program, raw wheat seeds procurement at the farmer’s residence in Rajasthan

SFAC-sponsored Projects

ISAP has been delegated the responsibility of setting up of 54 FPOs by the Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC). ISAP have to set-up these FPOs in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana. Each FPO will comprise of 1,000 member farmers.

Objectives of the project are:

• Strengthening the farmers’ competence through training programs, exposure visits and demonstration of best agricultural and allied practices.

• Increasing the marketing opportunities for output marketing via collective action and increasing linkage of the producer groups to fair and remunerative markets.

• Providing input, information and modern technological services pertaining to agriculture and allied activities by developing community-based sustainable agribusiness models.

Monthly Activities: (Karnataka)

1. The businesses started by ‘Shri Bhagedeshwar Farmer Producer Company’ at District Kodugu :

In 2016, at the District Kodugu, Karnataka, Shri Bhagedeshwar Farmer Producer Company got registered through ISAP. Major crops grown in this region are black pepper, coffee, cardamom and coconut. The District Kodugu even if being the place of tourist attraction, still the famers couldn’t sell their produce directly to the consumers due to multiple traders involved as middlemen in the local market.

In the month of July, 2016, to overcome these challenges and to help the member farmers, the producer company initiated coconut oil business, as the producer company had 200 exclusive coconut growers. The company purchased 10 litre of coconut oil from the member farmers at a price of INR 100/- per litre and sold it in local market at a price of INR 130/- per litre. This business helped the member farmers to get identified in the market. In the same season, for second time the coconut oil was purchased from the member farmers at an increased price of INR 113/- per litre, which was more than the value that the farmers used to get from the market. As soon as the market for the coconut oil was identified and demand increased, company came up with their own brand. The bottles of 1 litre and ½ litre were packed, labeled and sold. After establishing the market for the coconut oil, the FPO started selling the oil bottles at a rate of INR 150/- per litre.

After getting success in preparing a brand market for coconut oil business, the FPO started the output business for black pepper, cardamom and honey. Along with the output business the company also started the input business, and so by the end of the financial year 2016–17, the company is able to make a total profit of INR 3,50,000/-. In the coming month, the company has planned to set-up its own Coconut Processing Unit.

The brands of processed coconut oil, coffee and black pepper sold by the FPO ‘Shri Bhagedeshwar Farmer Producer Company’

2. The FIG training imparted by the Experts from the Agriculture University and Krishi Vigyan Kendra:

With the beginning of Kharif season, the farmers will again start sowing from the coming month of May. But, for last 2 to 3 years due to changes in the rainfall pattern and the new diseases on the crop fields, the farmers are not able to produce the expected amount of yield. Field level training was conducted to assist the member farmers tackle these crisis situations. The experts from the Agriculture University and Krishi Vigyan Kendra imparted the training to get inputs and give knowledge of recent developments in techniques to the member farmers.

In the month of April, 2017, training program was conducted for 50–60 member farmers of the 12 FPOs. They were provided with knowledge on the following topics:

• Good management practices in arecanut cultivation.

• Good management practices in lime cultivation.

• Improved packaging practices in lime cultivation.

• Improved packaging practices in pineapple cultivation.

• Soil testing and recommendations of fertilizers along with their amount per area of field.

• Use of bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides in cultivation of pomegranate.

FIG Training Programme for the member farmers of Shri Shanteshwar Horticulture Farmers Producer Company Ltd. held at Indi, Bijapur

3. Participation of the FPOs at National Trade Fair – Organics & Millets (28–30 April, 2017) :

The Department of Agriculture, Government of Karnataka, organized a 3-day Organic and Millets National Trade Fair from 28 to 30 April, 2017, at Bangaluru, Karnataka. The two FPOs named Tungabhadra Horticulture Farmers Producer Company, Hospet, and Parisara Premi Horticulture Farmers Producer Company, Raichur, registered by the ISAP during 2016–17 got the opportunity to showcase their organic products in the exhibition. The Companies demonstrated their unique organic products made by their member farmers. The Producer Companies got an opportunity to directly sell their organic products to the consumers. The Producer Companies got offers from big companies for bulk purchasing of the branded organic products.

Participation of Tungabhadra FPO and Parisara Premi FPO at the National Trade Fair – Organics & Millets, Karnataka (28–30 April, 2017)

Project SHARE

This is the second phase of the Project SHARE (Sustainable Harvest Agriculture Resources and Environment)

The project will augment yields of 30,000 farmers across eight districts of Maharashtra (Amravati, Akola, Nagpur, Wardha, Yavatmal, Washim, Jalna and Aurangabad) and three districts of Telangana (Nizamabad, Asifabad and Adilabad). This is being done sustainably through input–output management, capacity building of the farmers, imparting best package of practices through creation of demonstrations/model plots, creating water harvesting structures, facilitating market linkages and aggregating them into sustainable FPOs engaged in profitable agribusiness operations. The project will also impart trainings to the lead farmers on following Integrated Farming Systems (IFS) through promotion of livestock rearing, raising of horticultural crops and vermi-composting.

The project will engage 30,000 farmers from 30 blocks and about 400 villages from the respective states of Maharashtra and Telangana, which will be further mobilized into 30 new FPOs. The project will also create 600 women SHGs engaging over 6,000 rural women and imparting skill development trainings for engaging them in small scale business enterprises.

Monthly Activities:-

During the month of April, 2017, planning for the next annual year has been started. The next year, the project activities will include IFS demonstrations, IFS trainings, IFS cross learning visits and Kharif demonstrations. Preliminary activities (selection of the member farmers, decision on the IFS components to be incorporated, purchase of the IFS components and delivery of the IFS components to the respective project locations) of setting up IFS demonstrations were completed at all the project locations. Another ongoing component of the project was farmers’ trainings. The topics covered were Integrated Nutrient Management, Integrated Pest Management, and Good Agriculture Practices, such as use of organic inputs, use of improved agricultural equipments and soil testing. The FPOs registration is still under process, during the month of April, 2017, a total of 12 FPOs has been registered under the project.

Under the Project SHARE, the training imparted to the progressive farmers at various project locations

Agri-Clinic Agri-Business Program

ISAP is running an Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP) in 12 States under the aegis of MANAGE. Under this program, training is provided to unemployed agriculture and allied sector graduates. After the training, ISAP provides active hand-holding support to these trained agripreneurs for setting up their own business ventures. ISAP has so far trained 4,400 agripreneurs in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. Out of these 4,400 agripreneurs, around 1,454 agripreneurs have successfully established their independent businesses. We share one such success stories of an agripreneur with our readers in each of the ISAP’s Newsletter.

A Success Story

Mr. Brham Pal Singh, Karnal (Haryana)

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”, this quote rightly defines Mr. Brham Pal Singh, a 56-years old graduate in agriculture and animal husbandry from the Meerut University, is belonging to an agrarian family. Since childhood he always had the desire to work for the benefit of farmers. Because of his inclination towards farmers and agriculture, he was inspired to do a course in Agriculture Science. Since graduation, he had a strong inclination to start some venture in agriculture on his own. After graduation, he worked for BAIF Laboratories, an Agro company in Pune, Maharashtra, for 12 years and gained ample field experiences to work with the farmers in the future.

He heard about the Agri-Clinic Agri-Business Centre (ACABC) courses conducted by MANAGE, Hyderabad, from one of his friends, who had attended this training course before. He contacted Mr. Wasim Akram, the Nodal Officer of ISAP, Karnal, from whom he got the detailed information about this training program. He got enrolled in the two-months training program on 15th September, 2015, and attended the program at ISAP, Karnal.

Mr. Brham Pal Singh says, “I have learnt a lot from the experiences, mistakes and problems faced in the business activities, as well as from the experiences of other participants present in the training program. Management which is an essential component required for running a business was the major learning through this training program at ISAP’s Karnal’s Training Center.”

Mr. Brham Pal Singh started his own Agri-Clinic Agri-Business Center (ACABC) by the name of “Shubham Health Care” dealing in the cattle and poultry feed supplements with the initial investment of INR 30 lakhs. He has reached in almost all the districts of the state of Haryana and hopes to cover some districts of Uttar Pradesh by the end of this year.

Currently, he earns around INR 50,000/- per month from his venture and has a turnover of INR 45 lakhs per annum by selling the feed supplements of cattle and poultry. He expects a turnover of around INR 60–70 lakhs per annum for the coming year 2017–18. He has employed five field staffs, two sales people, three permanent staffs and four non-permanent staffs. In the last year, through the initiative of his business he has reached about 500 farmers and 70 villages.

ISAP wishes Mr. Brham Pal Singh all the best for his future endeavors. Mr. Brham Pal Singh can be contacted on +91-9991322878.

Mr. Brham Pal Singh, Karnal (Haryana)

‘Hunar’ Skills Training Program and IFS - John Deere

ISAP and Global Communities has initiated the Hunar Skills program in Dharwad region, Karnataka; Bhopal region, Madhya Pradesh; and Nagpur/Akola region, Maharashtra. This programme is funded by John Deere India. The main objective of this program is to provide training on operations and maintenance of tractors and combines, as a means to improve livelihoods and increase qualified labor force in remote markets. Each training course is for 45 days, including 30 days of classroom training and 15 days of practical training. Classroom training includes both theory and practical with machinery and equipment. The training is free of cost and a fully residential training program with lodging and boarding arrangements for the trainees. In particular, the program aims to provide skills training to 720 individuals. Apart from this, the program also aims to improve agricultural productivity by introducing Integrated Farming Systems (IFS) in rural Indian markets by providing training on IFS to 1350 farmers.

Monthly Activities:-

“Hunar” Skills Program was inaugurated on 1st March, 2016, at Akola, Maharashtra, and at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh on April, 2016, and on 4th May, in Dharwad district of Karnataka. Till date, 388 candidates have been trained at all the three locations. We also started a new batch in Tractor Operator and Mechanic domain on 17th April, 2017, at Akola, Maharashtra, with the strength of 25 candidates and have also started a new batch in Dharwad, Karnataka, in Tractor Operator and Mechanic domain with the strength of 30 candidates on 23rd April, 2017.

“Hunar” Skills Training Program in Tractor Operator and Mechanic domain

IEX - Hunar Training Program

ISAP has initiated Hunar Training Program in ‘Solar Energy Technician’ at Samastipur district of Bihar, funded by ‘India Energy Exchange’. The main objective of the program is to prepare the youth for improved livelihoods by making them skilled and employable in the Solar Energy sector. There is a gap of trained Solar Energy Technicians in Bihar and this project will be focusing on bridging that gap. The goal of this program is to increase access to livelihood and income among the unemployed youth through skill development. In particular, the program aims to provide skills training to 175 people.

Each training course is for 60 days, including 45 days of classroom training and 15 days of practical training. Classroom training includes both theory and practical with machineries and equipments. The training is free of cost for the trainees and a non-residential training program.

Monthly Activities:-

We have completed training of six batches till now and trained 185 candidates in Solar Energy Technician domain. Placement of the candidates is in process.

IEX - Hunar Training Program in Solar Energy Technician domain at Samastipur, Bihar


Producer Organization Development Fund (PODF)-NABARD has been started to build, promote and nurture FPOs by extending the required financial and non-financial supports during the formative stages. ISAP with the support of NABARD formed 22 FPOs in the districts of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Karnataka.

Efforts are being made to support FPOs in terms of awareness creation, capacity building, technical support, market access, regulatory requirements, etc., and provide hand-holding support for a minimum period of 3 years.

Monthly Update:-

Business Activity of Horticulture Farmer Producer Company Limited (HFPCL) at Karnal

A sound package of eco-friendly technologies used to grow wheat is being successfully adopted by Horticulture Farmer Producer Company Limited at the district of Karnal in Haryana. HFPCL started with 100 acres of land under chemical-free wheat cultivation. Now, the produce is being sold under the brand name of “Karan Poshtik Desi Wheat”.

The chemical-free wheat variant fetched INR 2,800/- per quintal in the market against INR 1,625/- per quintal that the framers previously got by selling the inorganic variant of wheat. The FPO member farmers are directly selling their product to the consumers of Karnal. Thus, the FPO member farmers have eliminated the middlemen in the chain and this had ensures a remunerative price to the farmers.

The packaging of 25 kg wheat bags by Horticulture Farmers Producer Company Limited at Karnal, Haryana

Science & Technology:

Ulta Chaata Harvester:

Ulta Chaata

A couple passionate about conservation, Samit and Priya Choksi’s first product is Ulta Chaata, an indigenous patented system that smartly converges rainwater harvesting and generation of renewable energy for open spaces in smart cities, industries, or large campuses. A single unit of Ulta Chata can help you harvest upto 100,000 liters of water and capture energy with maximum peak power of 1.5 KW.

Ulta Chaata is basically a canopy that captures rain water and then filters it using an integrated five-step filtration unit. Taps fitted to the storage tank allows users to get purified drinking water. It also works as a solar electricity generation system to provide lighting at night and charge devices. It is also Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled to collect useful environmental data.


Prominent Contributors to Agriculture:

John Deere (May 27, 1907–April 14, 1964)

John Deere was an Illinois blacksmith and manufacturer. Early in his career, Deere and an associate designed a series of farm plows. In 1837, on his own, John Deere designed the first cast steel plow that greatly assisted the Great Plains farmers. The large plows made for cutting the tough prairie ground were called “grasshopper plows”. The plow was made of wrought iron and had a steel share that could cut through sticky soil without clogging. By 1855, John Deere’s factory was selling over 10,000 steel plows a year. In 1868, John Deere’s business was incorporated as Deere & Company, which is still in existence. John Deere became a millionaire selling his steel plows.


Do you know

Japanese Yubari cantaloupes

Japanese Yubari cantaloupes

Japanese Yubari cantaloupes are the most expensive fruit in the world; two melons once sold at auction for $23,500. People in Japan pay astronomical prices for luxury fruit like tattooed apples and coddled cantaloupes, usually given as gifts. Demand has dropped in recent years, but the numbers are still pretty staggering. The Yubari King is a hybrid of two other cantaloupe cultivars: Earl's Favorite and Burpee's "Spicy" Cantaloupe. The hybrid's scientific name is Cucumis melo L. var. reticulatus Naud. Cv. Yubari King. Some Japanese people present Yubari King Melons as gifts during Chūgen. A top-grade melon is to be perfectly round and have an exceptionally smooth rind. A portion of the stem, which is snipped with scissors, is left on top for aesthetic appeal. At a Japanese auction in 2008, two Yubari King Melons sold together for ¥2.5 million. In 2016, a supermarket in Amagasaki bought a pair of Yubari King Melons at auction with a winning bid of ¥3 million.


News Highlights

HAFED buys 1.67 lakh tonnes mustard at MSP

Haryana State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation (HAFED) have so far procured more than 1.67 lakhs quintals of mustard seed from 7,536 farmers of 1,130 villages in the State.

The procurement would continue till 10 May, 2017. The chairman, HAFED, Harvinder Kalyan, said that procurement of mustard seed at Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs. 3,700/- per quintal was currently underway at 13 purchase centers in nine districts in the State, including Gurugram, Rewari, Narnaul, Jhajar, Rohtak, Charkhi Dadri, Bhiwani, Hisar and Sirsa. He said that as the mustard growers in the State were selling their produce at the prevailing market rate, which was below the MSP in March, 2017, the Haryana Government had immediately stepped in to protect the interests of the farmers by deciding to procure mustard seed at the MSP. This MSP, which includes a bonus of Rs 100/-, is well above the prevailing market rate. He said that HAFED was procuring mustard seed at MSP under the Price Support Scheme (PSS) of the Government of India on behalf of NAFED. HAFED is procuring mustard seed directly from the farmers through the shops of its member Cooperative Marketing Societies. The payments are being made electronically through RTGS to the bank accounts of the farmers.

Mr. Kalian said that Haryana has till date procured 67.46 lakh metric tonnes of wheat during Rabi-2017. Of this, HAFED has so far purchased the largest share of 35 per cent, by procuring 23.90 lakh metric tonnes of wheat from farmers across the State.

Read more at:

Farm output growth expected to remain stable at 4 per cent in FY18

India expects its farm output growth to remain stable at 4 per cent in the 2017–18 crop year, penciling in normal rains during the June–September monsoon season that helps irrigate farmlands across vast swathes of the country.

"The agriculture growth rate of 4 per cent, which we are expecting for 2016–17, will be maintained this year too," India’s Secretary for the Farm Ministry, Shobhana Pattanayak said in New Delhi.

Underpinned by stable growth, the farm sector is targeting a record food grain output of 273 million tonnes in the crop year beginning July, 2017, with 107 million hectares of land being used for the Kharif, or summer-sown, crop. "For the year 2017–18, food-grain production target set by us is 273 million tonnes," Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said, addressing officials from across the country. According to the second advance estimate released by the Agriculture Ministry, food-grain production would touch a record 271.98 million tonnes in the 2016–17 crop years (June–July).

The June–September monsoon rainfall this year is expected to be 96 per cent of the long-term average, with a 5 per cent error margin, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said earlier this month. The monsoon season accounts for three-fourths of the country’s annual rainfall, and is crucial to an economy where more than half the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood, and where monetary policy is linked to food inflation. Officials from across India are meeting in New Delhi for two days to chalk out strategies for the planting of the Kharif crop. The Kharif acreage this year would be similar to that of the previous crop year. Lentils, however, were likely the focus this season, and the government would target 1 million tonnes of additional production to last year’s output of 23 million tonnes. About 83.46 lakh quintals of paddy seeds and 3.75 lakh quintals of tur dal seeds were available.

Singh also urged the various state governments to implement central programmes, such as the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana and Parampragat Krishi Vikas Yojana for organic farming, so that farmers get funds on time.

The two-day conference would discuss ways of increasing Kharif, out raising overall agricultural productivity, and ensuring the availability of inputs before the cropping season. Separately, officials also said that wheat production may hit a record 98 million tonnes in the 2016–17 year, compared with the 96.64-million-tonne target set by the government.

Read more at:

Nano-technology will soon make GM obsolete: M.S. Swaminathan:

Noted agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan, hailed as the mentor of the Green Revolution that saw India achieve self-sufficiency in foodgrain, feels GM technology, which has generated much heat in the country, will soon become “obsolete” with the advent of nano-technology and other solutions.

He also felt that it was “very important” that the loans of farmers across the country be waived – as the new Uttar Pradesh government has done – due to the prolonged drought, climatic aberrations and adverse market conditions.

Speaking on the efforts by a group of scientists pushing for commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops in India as well as the opposition to this by environment activists, Swaminathan said there was no clear public policy on GM crops.

Swaminathan said new technologies were coming, which could be used to achieve the objective of food security but noted that this required concrete political intervention. “We have only one (GM crop) in cotton now, which is failing as new pests have come. Now, nanotechnology is coming, which will make GM technology obsolete. Gene therapy technology has come, so it is not necessary to go to the GM’s root,” Swaminathan, who served as Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education (1972–79), told IANS in a telephonic interview.

“Things are happening in the scientific world, but in the political world we require some legislation or regulation as we have for our nuclear entity. We need a technology regulatory authority.” At the same time, he said GM crops should be supported on a case-by-case basis.

“Any new technology leads to progress, as there is nano-technology. There are so many other technologies. So, do not condemn or praise technology per se but appreciate the technology for its benefits. We do not condemn nuclear power because somebody uses it. Similarly, GM can do a lot of good or create difficulties (by the manner in which it is employed),” he said.

Swaminathan was firm in his support for the farmers. “In India, food production is not just about food but the basis of livelihood, very fundamental livelihood of farmers. The farmers are going through a difficult period. These difficulties have arisen from climatic aberrations, more drought, less water, more heat. So, it is important that their issues get much more attention. That is why a loan waiver is important,” he contended.

Another factor adding to the farmers’ agony was poor returns for their yield despite assurances from the government, he said. "The market conditions are affecting them as they are not getting the announced price (minimum support price). Media reports say the purchase of pulses and oil-seeds is poor as farmers are not getting the announced price," said Swaminathan.

A group of 40-odd farmers from Tamil Nadu has been protesting at Delhi's Jantar Mantar for over a month, demanding a loan waiver.

He also felt that the central and state governments should work together to adopt a number of measures – both short term and long term – including the human issues of farmers, various steps to provide incentives, alleviation of human distress and revival of agriculture. “Import and export policies, food pricing and food policy are also important,” he added.

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Maharashtra government to take action against traders selling imported tur at procurement centres:

The central government is not too sure whether the tur dal sold at the procurement centres in Maharashtra was actually cultivated in the state. They suspect that traders are selling cheap, imported tur dal at these centres, making a handsome profit.

To counter this, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that his government will use satellite images to track whether the farmers, under whose name the transaction was done, had really planted tur on an area equivalent to the amount of the grain he sold.

He has also requested the Centre to increase import duty on tur from 10% to 25% to discourage cheap tur imports.

Farmer leader Raju Shetty alleged that, “We have received evidence from farmers that government agencies Nafed and FCI were selling tur at Rs. 3,700–4,200 quintal to traders and these traders re-routed the same tur back to Nafed at Rs 5,050 quintal. This has led to fall in prices of tur.”

Fadnavis had announced the allocation of Rs 1,000 crore to procure about 1 lakh quintal tur that was registered at various centres on April 22 for sale. This was because the central government's procurement programme ends on April 22.

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‘Lakhpati Kisans’ emerging in 4 states with Tata Trusts’ help

‘Lakhpati tribal kisans’ have started emerging in Jharkhand, Gujarat, Odisha and Maharashtra in the last two years, thanks to the farm initiatives of Tata Trusts in 450 villages.

The boost in farm income has been possible with the Trusts educating and training tribal households in small groups on maximising resources for getting higher agri-output and producing demand-driven produce to get remunerative prices.

These initiatives are being undertaken for the last two years in Jharkhand, Odisha, Gujarat and Maharashtra under its five-year mission programme – 'Lakhpati Kisan – smart villages' that began in 2015.

“As of now, we are working in 450 villages in four states. We have impacted 100,000 households, out of which 15–20 per cent are lakhpati kisans,” said Ganesh Neelam, executive director of the Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiative (CInI), an associate organisation of the Trusts.

The annual income of these households was less than Rs. 50,000/- earlier and there has been a good improvement in their income and “the concern now is to sustain the income level”, he told PTI. The aim is to cover a total of 560 villages in eight states and benefit 1 lakh tribal households by 2020. Similar initiatives will soon commence in four other states – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and West Bengal. On the challenges being faced by tribals, Neelam said that the Trusts' focus has been on strengthening community institutions, bringing tribal communities out of poverty and providing better livelihood options.

Without divulging the funds spent on the programme so far, he said that the Trusts is working closely with the state governments to achieve the desired results.

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Indian natural rubber output rises 23% in 2016–17, exceeds target

The natural rubber production in the country has surpassed the target of 6.54 lakh tonnes set by the Rubber Board for 2016–17. The production has jumped by 23% from a year earlier to reach 6.90 lakh tonnes. The output had plummeted to the lowest in two decades at 5.62 lakh tonnes in 2015–16. The production increased 67% in the month of March, 2017 to 55,000 tonnes from the same period last year.

The exports have also touched a four-year high of 20,012 tonnes. It was a meagre 865 tonnes in 2015–16.

The better performance has been attributed to higher prices in both the international and domestic markets in the second half of the year and the measures taken by the board to improve output and productivity.

The rubber consumption in the country has recorded a 5% increase to 1041475 tonnes for the year. The import after rising for the last few years due to lower international prices showed a decline of 7% at 426172 tonnes during 2016–17. It had touched an all-time-high of 458374 tonnes in the previous year with the production in the country nosediving.

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Yogi Adityanath govt plans to move bumper potato produce to high-price mandis

A record production of potato has led the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh to consider out of the box solutions to ameliorate the plight of 25 lakh farmers in the state.

The state government has decided to “motivate and help” potato farmers shift their produce from the markets where wholesale prices have crashed to as low as Rs. 290/- per quintal to other markets in the state where prices are nearly double, officials said. Prices are generally lower in western UP than in eastern parts of the state.

In 2016–17, the state produced a record 155–160 lakh metric tonnes of potato. Adityanath has also reached out to the Narendra Modi government for help, asking Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh to impress upon other states to procure potato from UP and immediately call a meeting of state agriculture ministers in this regard. The UP chief minister also wants potato crop from the state to get prominence for procurement in the Centre’s e-Nation Agricultural Mart. This comes after a top-level committee set up by Adityanath last week submitted a report. As per the report, potato prices in 19 key markets of UP as on April 10 vary widely between Rs. 290/- per quintal in Farukkhabad and Rs. 690/- in Lucknow.

In nine mandis including seven in western UP in Agra, Saharanpur, Moradabad and Meerut, the wholesale price is less than Rs. 400/- while it is above Rs. 500/- in six other mandis including ones in eastern UP in Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Gonda.

“If an arrangement is made to transport potato produce from low-price mandis to the high-price ones, then farmers can get a proper price. District collectors of these districts should coordinate, publicise the mandi prices in newspapers daily and inspire farmers to shift their produce from the low-price offering mandis to the high-price ones,” the UP government said in an order issued on April 18.

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