Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals

ISAP Monthly E-Newsletter, Volume 10, Issue:12 (December, 2017)

INDEX

- ISAP Activities

Success Story (Agriclinic-Agribusiness Program)

Science & Technology

Prominent Contributors to Agriculture

Do you know

- News Highlights

ISAP FILE

ISAP, the parent body of IAP, which also started as an electronic group in 2001, achieved the following highlights since then:
  • ISAP has set-up 150 FPOs and is in the process of developing 100 more FPOs in the States of Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Telangana.
  • ISAP web page has been liked and followed by more than 195,500 numbers of people. Indian Agriculture Professional (IAP), a part of ISAP, has also crossed more than 189,000 professional members following the page in the network
  • Reached 1,500 villages, 250 blocks, 100 Districts in 18 States
  • Touched and transformed lives of 5 lakhs Indian farming families
  • Provided Entrepreneurship Development training to 5,600 agri-graduates and incubated 2,150 successful ventures
  • Trained 10,000 BPL rural youth on vocational skills and helped them gain meaningful livelihoods
  • Satisfactorily answered more than 6 lakhs farmer queries through Kisan Call Centres (KCC) in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) 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 (Madhya Pradesh)

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ISAP Activities

OCPF-IFS Project, Rajasthan


ISAP is working with the small and marginalized farmers in Baran, Bundi and Sawai Madhopur districts of Rajasthan through the OCPF-IFS project. 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 like watershed harvesting management and generating in-farm resources like vermi-compost and bio-pesticides.

Efforts are being made to strengthen the FPOs through building linkages to marketing and value chain stakeholders. Agri-Village Resource Centers (AVRCs) have been established in all six operational blocks of the project to provide a common platform for the FPOs to run the enterprises. These FPOs have been provided with tractors, farm machinery, warehouse, shade net house for nursery, vermi-compost pit, medical dispensary, children’s play zone, and a large platform for drying and winnowing of farmers’ produce.

Monthly Update:-

Seed Business in AVRCs

Members of Khandar FPO are getting better returns on their chilli crop through value addition facilitated by the FPO. This FPO runs a processing and packaging unit for red chilli at its AVRC in Khandar block of Sawai Madhopur. Red chillies produced by member farmers are being dried, processed, packed and labelled by a brand before marketing them. This season FPO has planned to process 120 tonnes of red chilli.

Also, guava trees provided to IFS farmers under the project are bearing fruits this year. Select farmers in Bonli and Khandar regions were provided ‘Barafkhana’ and ‘L-49’ varieties of guava. Both these guava varieties are hybrid varieties and command premium in the market for their good qualities.

Guava for sale by IFS farmers in Sawai Madhopur

Sun drying of Red chilli at processing and packing unit at Khandar AVRC in District Sawai Madhopur


FPOs in District Baran are actively involved in seed production. This year production of wheat seed is undertaken in 63 acres, which includes 12 acres in Kishanganj block and 51 acres in Anta block of District Baran. Foundation seeds are used in 58 acres for production of certified seed. Also, breeder seeds are used in 5 acres to produce foundation seed for next year. This seed program is being carried out under the guidance of Mr Preetam Singh, who is a seed expert from Beej India, IARI, Pusa. Mr Singh regularly visits these farms and guide farmers on production techniques. These seeds will be processed, graded and then distributed to the farmers in the next production year.

Mr. Pritam Singh, Seed expert from Beej India, IARI, Pusa visited Demo plots of wheat seed (variety Raj 4037) production at Anta, District Baran (Raj.)

Seed production of wheat seed variety Raj 4037 on Demo plots of village Kishanganj, District Baran (Raj.)


SFAC-sponsored Projects

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

Objectives of the project are:

• Strengthening the farmers’ competence through training programs, exposure visits and demonstration of the 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)

Output business activities by the FPOs promoted by SFAC (Success Story)

Pingara Horticulture Farmers Producer Company, Bantwal, was registered in May, 2016. The major fruit crops in this region are jackfruit, banana and coconut. In November 2016, the FPO started their output business in form of value addition of jackfruit, with support from their 1,000 registered farmers. Out of these registered farmers, 80% of them are jackfruit growers. Due to lack of proper transportation the fruits used to get spoiled before reaching the market. For better management and realization from the jackfruit produce, the FPO has now arranged logistic services for its member farmers. The FPO provides vehicles to member farmers in the villages to ferry their produces to outstation markets and sell them at good margins. FPO charge reasonably against the logistic service provided to its member farmers.

Also, small processing units for manufacturing Chips and Papads have being set-up at the District level by the FPO. After value addition of making Chips and Papads, the products are being sold in the local markets under branded names by the FPO. These units are being utilized optimally. The FPO has started making Banana chips, Tapioca chips and Papads to ensure that the machines are utilized throughout the year, thus making good profits for the farmers. Also, round the year the FPO is busy doing output businesses through selling their processed goods. Annual turnover of this FPO in 2016-17 was INR 711,671/-.

The CEOs, Presidents and BODs of 9 FPOs received a 5-days SFAC training program conducted by Sri. B. Sridhar and Sri. Sreepathy Kalkura at BIRD, Mangalore

Training farmers on drip irrigation system at Bijapur, Karnataka

Karnataka is the state which faces drought every year. One of the drought prone districts is Bijapur. ISAP has promoted 4 FPOs in this district under the SFAC programme. The major crops produced by the FPO farmer members are onion, lemon and grapes. During the need assessment conducted by the ISAP field staff, it was found that the farmers needed to know advance and innovative agriculture practices in which they can obtain maximum yield with minimum resource utilisation.

As wastes being the important resources to be recycled to make useful things, the training at the FIG level was furnished. Training on cultivating onion using drip irrigation system was also provided. The local Krishi Vikas Kendra (KVK) contacted on field training among the farmer members. In three such training programmes, around 40–45 farmers participated from each of the FPOs. This program was well received by the member farmers.

Training on installation of drip irrigation system on onion cultivation provided by Krishi Vikas Kendra (KVK) to the FPO farmer members at Bijapur, Karnataka

Linking FPOs with various schemes sponsored by the GoI:

The major concern for fruits and vegetables FPOs is to have proper infrastructure for integrated Post Harvest Management (PHM). The 5 FPOs promoted by SFAC and implemented by ISAP were linked with the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) under centrally promoted scheme. In the month of December, the visit was conducted by the third party to verify the documents of the FPOs. Under this scheme, the 5 FPOs will be receiving infrastructure support from the GoI. Assistance under the scheme will be provided as credit-linked back ended subsidy for setting up wholesale markets, rural markets/APMC mandis and retail markets. The names of the 5 FPOs are M/s Tungabandra Horticulture Farmers Producer Company, M/s Jamkhandi Horticulture Farmers Producer Company, M/s Kumareshwara Horticulture Farmer Producer Company, M/s Bhootaiye Horticulture Farmers Producer Company, and M/s Paresarapremi Horticulture Farmers Producer Company.

Land verification visit conducted by the Inspection team deputed by SFAC


The Project SHARE

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

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 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 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:-

Anjangaon Surji FPC Linkage with Maharashtra Ginning Mill:

Anjangaon Surji Farmers Producers Company from Block Anjangaon (District Amravati) started market linkage with Maharashtra Ginning Mill. They started selling Cotton to Maharashtra Ginning Mill. The total quantity of cotton sold by the FPC was 48.9 quintal @ INR 4,600/- perquintal. There was involvement of total 10 member farmers. Each member farmer got benefitted by INR 50/- per quintal over the basic price. The total amount of money received was INR 2.25 Lakhs on 30th November, 2017 by the FPC from Maharashtra Ginning Mill, Anjangaon, Maharashtra.

Market linkage of Anjangaon Surji Farmers Producers Company with Maharashtra Ginning Mill at Block Anjangaon, Maharashtra


Three FPCs linkage with leading Feed company at Maharashtra

Ner Farmers Producer Company Limited (Ner), Aarni Agro Farmer Producer Company Limited (Arni) and Ansingh Farmer Producer Company Limited (Washim) started Soybean business with Wardha based leading feed company. Company has deputed a dedicated resource person to assist the FPOs in carrying out smooth supplies. All the member farmers were provided everyday market rates of the buying agency. When FPO members find the suitable rate on a particular day, then they execute deal with the company. So far, the Ner FPC has sold 10 tonnes of Soybean produce and others are also following. The member farmers are satisfied with this linkage and in future will continue in the same way.

Ner Farmers Producer Company Limited started Soybean business at Wardha, Maharashtra


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 business. We share one such success story with our readers in each ISAP’s Newsletter.

A Success Story

PATIENCE AND CONSISTENCY IS KEY TO THE SUCCESS

Name: Dr. Shantanu Sharma
Age: 50 years
Fathers Name: Prafulla Tamuli Sharma
Mothers Name: Bonti Tamuli Sharma
Address: Hatigaon, Guwahati
Business: Trading of Biomedical Equipment's and Chemicals
Turnover: 4 crores


If you’re unwilling to defer pleasure or endure some “pain” for now, you are likely to end up later deep in the hole” — Price Pritchett

Moving forward with the same idea helps the owner of the firm named “Planters”, Dr. Shantanu Sharma to thrive in his life and cherish these moments now. A Ph.D. scholar and Post Graduate from Assam Agriculture University in Agriculture, has started his career as a salesman in Delhi for a German company.

“After leaving the sales job, I was in dilemma whether to start my own business or not, but after completing the ISAP’s ACABC training in 2008 consolidated my resolution that I am on the right track”, says Dr. Shantanu Sharma.

Hailing from a middle-class family, his financial background at that period was not as strong as the players in the market. He started his firm “Planters” with an initial capital of just INR 10,000/-. He had a single room and was the sole person to run the firm without any employees. “I was the salesman, financer, delivery boy and used to sweep the room all by myself. I was the boss and the labour of my own firm”. At present, he is the biggest supplier of biomedical equipments and chemicals to the reputed universities, such as Assam Agriculture University and IIT Guwahati.

Miracles come in moments, and that moment for Dr. Shantanu Sharma came when he received an order from the Guwahati University. “It was a good opportunity. But I didn't have enough money to pay for it. The transporter bought the things to my office and left. I was pleasantly surprised; the materials came on credit”. It was the turning point for him. Earlier he was pulling his hands back from the business. He thought that it was worthless doing business this way where you have good market demand, but scarce resources to meet all the requirements. Small things are indeed small, but to be faithful to whatever you are doing is more important.




This little faith has now derived the success for the firm “Planters”. Now he is an affluent supplier of bio-medical equipments and chemicals in all the 7 states of North East India. He has made a point to supply the best products possible and also provide the after sales services. Due to his being the supplier of the best products and services, his firm’s reputation has risen to such a level that it doesn’t need any advertisement; the word from mouth is ample to encapsulate the customer base.

His idea for being a successful entrepreneur is following patience and consistency. “There are many diverting factors one faces while doing business, such as when you see some of your classmates having a good car and you are still on a bike. You may feel that he is getting what I am not getting, but no do not stop there. This is not the thing; I am getting what he is not getting. I am the proprietor of my own business”.

Presently, Dr. Sharma’s business has a turnover of around 4 crores with eight employees working for his firm. ISAP ACABC training inculcated a positive attitude along with entrepreneur skills in him. Being a Ph.D. scholar from Assam Agriculture University, currently Dr. Sharma has an office in Ganeshguri, Guwahati, and owns a restaurant named “Food Nation”, but still he thinks that he has more to learn as an entrepreneur.


Skill Development

Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals has implemented many national-level and state-level government programs as well as programs for corporate companies to facilitate the employment of BPL youth, thus improving their employability and creating a cadre of agri-preneurs. Through the various initiatives, ISAP trains many of the candidates throughout the year to facilitate their placement. The table below shows the status of the ongoing projects.

S.No.

Project/Funder

Training Target

Total Trained

Total Placed

1.

IDRF-Skill Program

300

358

247

2.

John Deere "Hunar"

720

559

171

3.

CNH-Skill Program

160

162

40

4.

IEX "Hunar"

175

185

78

5.

RPL-PMKVY

5000

1130

6.

CASE construction

90

30

TOTAL

6,445

2,424

536

 


‘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 means to improve livelihoods and increase qualified labour force in remote markets.

Monthly Activities:-

“Hunar” Skills Training Programs were inaugurated on 1st March, 2016 at Akola (Maharashtra), on April, 2016 at Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), and on 4th May, 2016 at Dharwad (Karnataka). Till now, 559 candidates have been trained at all the three locations. Also, 1,350 farmers have been trained on Integrated Farming System (IFS).


“Hunar” Skills Training Program on IFS



Hunar Skill and IFS Training Program: CASE New Holland

ISAP has initiated the Hunar Skill Training Program funded by CASE New Holland in the three rural regions of Dharwad and Hasan (Karnataka) and Jaipur (Rajasthan). The main objective of this program is to provide training on operation of Case Backhoe Loader, as means to improve the livelihoods and increase the qualified labor forces in remote markets. The training course is of 60 days duration, which includes 45 days of classroom training and 15 days of practical training. Classroom training includes both theory and practical on machinery and equipment. It is a non-residential training program and completely free-of-cost for the trainees. In particular, the program aims to provide skills training to 60 individuals. Apart from this, the program also aims to improve the agricultural productivity by introducing Integrated Farming System (IFS) and by promoting innovative techniques during trainings of 900 farmers on IFS, thus catering to the demands of Indian markets.

Monthly Activities:-

A new batch on “CASE Operation” domain was started on 1st December, 2017, at Dharwad (Karnataka), with the strength of 10 candidates. The classes and trainings are in progress.


Classes and trainings on operation of Case Backhoe Loader at Dharwad, Karnataka


RPL Skill Training Program – PMKVY

Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals (ISAP) in association with Agriculture Skill Sector Council of India (ASCI) is organizing Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and skill training program in the domain of pulse cultivation under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY). The target is to train 5,000 farmers in the six regions of Rajasthan, namely Anta, Kishanganj, Hindoli, Nainwa, Bonli and Khandar.

The main objective of the training is to acknowledge the skills farmers already possess and appreciate the same under RPL in PMKVY. Moreover, making them aware about the modern scientific cultivation techniques that can help in increasing the production as well as enhance the quality of the produce. Apart from the main domain training, the trainees are imparted with the knowledge of current market demands and cashless mode of transaction. The project aims to create the registry of skilled workforce in agriculture sector and assess the gaps that are needed to be bridged for existing workforces in the agriculture industry.

A batch of 50 farmers is trained for consecutive 2 days followed by an assessment test on the third day. Farmers are provided with a certificate and monetary reward on successfully clearing the assessment test.

Monthly Activities:-

RPL skill training program was inaugurated on 9th August, 2017. A total of 2,029 pulses growers in 54 batches have been trained till now in six different regions of Rajasthan, namely Anta, Hindoli, Kishanganj, Bonli, Khandar and Nainwa. These farmers are provided training on advanced cropping techniques for cultivation of pulses crops. Till now, 1353 candidates cleared their tests in 43 batches. Results for the remaining candidates in the rest of the batches are awaited.


Candidates trained under RPL skill training program of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY) in the regions of Rajasthan


Science & Technology:

Fertigation Pump Maker Gets App




Fertigation and chemigation have been part of the irrigation business for years. However, rising interest in more precise application of inputs has more farmers looking at these systems. During Agritechnica, the giant Germany-based farm show, ITC was showing off something new for its Dostec AC fertigation dosing systems — a new smartphone app.

The Spain-based firm markets dosing pumps around the world and claims 20% of its business comes from the United States. The Dostec AC dosing pump is the newest in the company’s line and has been on the market for a couple of years. And now the latest Dostec AC pump can be controlled remotely.

The key is that the pump has to be outfitted with communication gear to link it to the internet, an option available through the company. The app itself, which is free, can be linked to individual pumps, and through that system a producer can control all pumps in an operation.

There’s no need to drive from pivot to pivot to start up the fertigation pump — and precision control is part of the software in the Dostec AC system. The app controls start and stop times, and can monitor flow as well. It’s a precision way to manage the pumps and offers the added value of remote control.

The pumps, which can be used in a variety of industries, are built to be remotely controlled. The smartphone app brings control-room level functionality into the palm of your hand. The Dostec AC pump is a diaphragm and piston dosing pump that offers accurate automatic regulation. The system offers a range of options for user flexibility, too. There are several operating modes including analogue control, proportional pulse control, batch dosing control, Modbus supervisory control and manual flow control.

This is a full-function dosing pump designed for accurate dispensing of inputs into your irrigation system. The system can provide irrigation control for pH, electro-conductivity regulation and proportional dosing. The app helps control the whole system.

Source: farmindustrynews



Prominent Contributors to Agriculture:

Manmohan Attavar (12 July, 1932 – 12 December, 2017) Manmohan Attavar is an Indian horticulturist, plant breeder, writer and the founder of Indo American Hybrid Seeds (IAHS), an organization engaged in scientific plant breeding and horticulture. He founded the enterprise in 1965 and the organization, headquartered in Bengaluru, has grown to include nine regional centres across India. He has served as a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Commerce and the Federation of International Seedsmen, Switzerland, and has been a director of the National Horticultural Board.
He has co-authored a book, Floriculture: technology, trades, and trends, which was published by Oxford and IBH Publishing House in 1994.

Attavar is a recipient of several awards, such as Dr. M.H. Marigowda National Award, APEDA Award, Golden Jubilee International Award of the International Chrysanthemum Society, California and ISF Award. The Government of Karnataka awarded him the Rajyotsava Prashasthi in 1991. He received the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award from the Government of India in 1998 for his contributions to the field of Horticulture.

Source: wikipedia


Do you know?


Image result for breadfruit Image result for breadfruit

Black Ginger (Kaempferia Parviflora) or Black Galingale or ‘Krachai Dum’ in Thai is an herbaceous plant belonging to the Zingiberaceae family. It is a wild herb available in the warm and moist areas of the interior hilly region. It is considered as a folk medicinal herb hence was cultivated as a herb since olden days. The rhizome is much similar to ginger except its shape and size besides its deep blue colour. The rhizome is also very bitter and has a disagreeable taste. The structures of leaves are like those of turmeric. However, its leaves are much smaller in size with light purple color in midrib portion. The rhizome yields xeruminoe, a monocyclic sequiteopena ketone, which acts against a number of bacteria and viruses. Rhizome also yields an essential oil. Zerumbone can be isolated from rhizome and tetrahydrozerumbol and tetrahydric zerumborne can be prepared. Since ancient times, it has traditionally been used as a health promoting, stimulating and vitalizing agent. In Thai traditional medicine this plant is one of all time popular plants. Its rhizome is its principal product like its cousin ginger. However, it is not popular as a spice due to its bitter taste, after certain traditional treatment it is used as spice by certain tribes in North Eastern India. It is grown basically for its medicinal properties such as anti-plasmodial, anti-fungal and mild anti-mycobacterial, excellent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, adaptogenic activity, anti-allergic activity, anti-cholinesterase activity (prevent and cure Alzheimer’s disease), anti-gastric ulcer effect, anti-obesity effects, aphrodisiac activity, anxiolytic and antidepressant effects, etc.


Source: avaplant

 

News Highlights

Unease of farming: RBI policy highlights farm woes, agriculture too needs ease of doing business

Expectedly, RBI’s fifth monetary policy for the financial year left key interest rate unchanged at 6%. Its analysis showed that the central bank expects inflation rate to rise a tad over the next few months. But of more significance was the story coming out of the agricultural sector, the source of livelihood for close to half the population. Rural wage growth has weakened which, in turn, dragged down the overall growth in private consumption expenditure. In the July-September quarter consumption expenditure grew 6.5%, the weakest growth rate recorded in eight quarters.

The slowdown in rural wage growth is linked to the difficulty experienced in construction and manufacturing sectors. These segments provide seasonal employment to the rural population. Therefore, weak demand for labour in these sectors spills over into rural economy. To worsen the problem this year, food grain output for the kharif agricultural season has shrunk. Signals emerging from early data indicate that government needs to renew focus on the rural economy. The organising principles for rural economic policy ought to be similar to other sectors. Farmers are capable of making intelligent decisions once they have adequate information and are freed from stifling controls which distort prices.

The way forward is to enable ease of doing farming. To illustrate, dairy activity is an important source of income diversification for farmers. Unfortunately, ill-considered laws on cow slaughter and a free rein to vigilante groups have harmed this segment. Indian agriculture cannot be asked to bear the burden of sentiments of urban politicians. If farmers are to get better returns, they need better infrastructure such as cold chains and better road networks. Most of all, they need the freedom to deal with an intermediary of their choice or the final consumer. Ease of doing business matters for rural India too.

Read more at: timesofindia

IT and Agriculture: Mobile app technology brings silent revolution in Maharashtra sugar mills

Satish Nikam no longer makes frequent trips to the Shree Chhatrapati Shahu Sahakari Cooperative Sugar Factory to know about the details of payment and weight of cane delivered from his field at Kagal in southern Maharashtra’s Kolhapur district. A simple click on the Shahu Sakhar app downloaded by him provides all the necessary information. Once the mills has credited the payment against cane supplied to his bank account, even that information is instantly conveyed by the app to Nikam through a now-familiar ping.

“I can today track everything without having to physically go to the mill and find out from officers there how much did the cane harvested from my field weigh, what is the payment that is due, and so on,” says Nikam. For small growers like him, who has to supplement his farm income by working in a nearby factory, the mill’s decision to go online and provide all relevant information via an app isn’t a small thing.

IT per se — more so, ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems for tracking daily factory operations — isn’t new to the sugar industry. But what could, perhaps, be new is mills increasingly turning to mobile-based applications for augmenting their interactions with farmers. While mills, including the one to which Nikam supplies, are employing apps to help growers track their post-harvest dealings, some like the Sahyadri Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana Ltd have gone a step further. This particular cooperative, based in Satara’s Karad taluka, is using a mobile-based programme to even track cane planting and registration operations. According to Prakash Sonawane, IT manager at the mill, its specialised custom-made app helps get more reliable data on cane acreages and yields. That, in turn, allows for drawing up accurate time tables for harvesting of cane from individual farms. It ultimately translates into higher sugar recoveries, as the mill gets to process fully-mature and ready-to-crush cane.

Read more at: indianexpress


Uttarakhand to roll out Organic Agriculture Act in January

Come new year, and Uttrakhand will have its own Organic Agriculture Act making it the second state in India, after Sikkim, to have its own Act. It will be a major leap in transforming Uttarakhand into a fully 'organic state' of the country and the Act will lay thrust on cultivating indigenous organic products.

State government sources said that the Uttarakhand Organic Agriculture Act has been modeled on the one implemented by Sikkim, the first fully organic state in the country that has implemented organic practices on around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land.

Director of Uttarakhand Organic Commodity Board (UOCB), Vinay Kumar, said, "Our focus is on 'organizing' unorganized organic sector of Uttarakhand which has very high potential for buyers of national and international markets. The Act will regulate the private agencies, NGOs, etc. engaged in export, trade and processing of organic agricultural produce. Also, the entire process of organic certification for the farmers would become extremely easy with the induction of Organic Act."

In Uttarakhand, almost 40,000 hectares of farming land has already been turned into organic and about 80,000 small and medium farmers are already committed towards the go-green initiative of the state government. The state has maximum organic farms in Rudraprayag (3,422 hectares) followed by Pithoragarh (3,241) and Uttarkashi (2,966).

Read more at: timesofindia

Agriculture Education Day celebrations by NAARM

The National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM) celebrated Agricultural Education Day here on Sunday. December 3 is celebrated as the Agricultural Education Day in the memory of our first agriculture minister Dr. Rajendra Prasad.

"Partnership collaboration is necessary among SAU, ICAR, and Private organizations in popularizing agricultural education" said ICRISAT Director General Dr David Bergvinson, who was the chief guest on the valedictory session.

He sensitised the students regarding the food security, land and water problems faced by the country. The greatest challenge ahead is the greatest innovations for farmers which are viable to them, he elicited. As a part of these celebrations, Inter School Painting Competition on theme "Importance of Agriculture Education in our Country"; Elocution Competition (PADAM Students) on theme “I Opted for Agriculture Education because…. ” were conducted. Inter School Elocution Competition" on the theme "The Importance of Agriculture Education in our Country" was also held. Chief guest gave away certificates and prizes to all the winners of various competitions like drawing, painting competitions, and elocution competition which were conducted as a part of the celebrations.

Speaking on the occasion, NAARM Director, Dr. Ch. Sreenivasa Rao explained about the importance of agriculture in India along with career opportunities. Parents should encourage children to opt for agriculture courses where there is a lot of scope for bright future more than engineers and doctors, he added.

School students were given on hands on experience with "learning through Farm Activities" at the NAARM Nursery. Earlier in the morning, Dr. Ch. Sreenivasa Rao, flagged off 3K Run from Project Directorate on Poultry (PDP) to NAARM enroute Rajendranagar. As many as 400 employees, along with PG students, RAs, YPs of NAARM, and students of University of Horticulture, Shivamogga (College of Horticulture, Hiriyur), school students participated in 3K Run with much enthusiasm.

Read more at: thehansindia

Centre increases agricultural education budget by 47.4 percent: Agriculture Minister

Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh has said that the main objective the government is to attract youth including school children towards agricultural education. Speaking at a function on the occassion of National Agricultural Education Day at Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University in Bihar that he said that Government has started celebrating National and International Days related to agriculture for its integrated and rapid development.

The Agriculture minister mentioned that the Government has started implementing programmes towards strengthening Agricultural Education, Research and Extension for a long term and sustainable development in agriculture. With the development of new technologies, agricultural trends are changing daily.

To maximize the use of advanced technologies, it is important to provide adequate strengthening of agricultural education. He expressed happiness that ICAR has initiated many new programmes to enhance the quality of higher agricultural education in the country. The government of India has increased the budget of Agricultural Education by 47.4% this year as compared to the financial year 2013-14.

The Agriculture Minister further said that in order to adopt quality and holistic approach to higher agricultural education, the Fifth Dean Committee Report has been implemented in all the Agricultural Universities.

This is First-of-its-kind that all Graduate Level Courses of Agriculture and its related subject have been declared as Professional Courses, in which agricultural graduates will be able to get a better opportunity from professional work in the future.

Read more at: ddinews

Microsoft AI helping Indian farmers increase crop yields

New technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud Machine Learning, Satellite Imagery and advanced analytics are empowering small-holder farmers in India to increase their income through higher crop yield and greater price control, Microsoft India said.

In a few dozen villages in Telengana, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, farmers are receiving automated voice calls that tell them whether their cotton crops are at risk of a pest attack, based on weather conditions and crop stage.

In Karnataka, the government can get price forecasts for essential commodities such as tur (split red gram) three months in advance for planning the Minimum Support Price (MSP).

"Sowing date as such is very critical to ensure that farmers harvest a good crop. And if it fails, it results in loss as a lot of costs are incurred for seeds, as well as the fertilizer applications," Suhas P. Wani, Director, Asia Region, of the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), said in a Microsoft blog post.

The non-profit ICRISAT conducts agricultural research for development in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa with a wide array of partners throughout the world. In collaboration with ICRISAT, Microsoft has developed an AI-Sowing App powered by Microsoft Cortana Intelligence Suite including Machine Learning and Power BI.

"The app sends sowing advisories to participating farmers on the optimal date to sow. The best part - the farmers don't need to install any sensors in their fields or incur any capital expenditure. All they need is a feature phone capable of receiving text messages," the company said.

To calculate the crop-sowing period, historic climate data spanning over 30 years - from 1986 to 2015 - for the Devanakonda area in Andhra Pradesh was analysed using AI. To determine the optimal sowing period, the Moisture Adequacy Index (MAI) was calculated.

MAI is the standardised measure used for assessing the degree of adequacy of rainfall and soil moisture to meet the potential water requirement of crops. This data is then downscaled to build predictability and guide farmers to pick the ideal sowing week.

This year, ICRISAT has scaled sowing insights to 4,000 farmers across Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka for the Kharif crop cycle (rainy season).

Predictive analysis in agriculture is not limited to crop growing alone.

The Karnataka government will start using price forecasting for agricultural commodities, in addition to sowing advisories for farmers in the state.

Commodity prices for items such as tur, of which Karnataka is the second largest producer will be predicted three months in advance for major markets in the state, Microsoft said. Microsoft has developed a multivariate agricultural commodity price forecasting model to predict future commodity arrival and the corresponding prices.

The model uses remote sensing data from geo-stationary satellite images to predict crop yields through every stage of farming. The model currently being used to predict the prices of tur, is scalable, and time efficient and can be generalised to many other regions and crops.

Read more at: economictimes

Doubling farm income to make farming sustainable: Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the government has undertaken the ambitious task of doubling farmers' income by 2022 so that farming becomes sustainable.

Observing that India has a huge population dependent on agriculture for livelihood, he said, "therefore, increase in the purchasing power of this group is extremely important for us because growth of larger economy depends on economic potential and power of this group itself." Pointing out that the agriculture community world over is vulnerable, Jaitley said countries try various methodologies for supporting the sector.

"Some highly developed countries directly, by different forms of subsidies, ensure money goes into the pockets of their farmers and the countries that don't have that level of affordability still have to struggle with the challenge that sustenance level is maintained (for farmers)," he said at an event organised by Nabard here.

Referring to the government's initiative in this direction, the finance minister said India is trying to double farmers' income by 2022. "We have fairly ambitious plans in India and within our limits of our affordability, we have taken up the challenge of in the first instance trying to improve upon rural infrastructure and at the same time making sure that how do we ensure that their income is enhanced," he said.

Read more at: economictimes

India manages to shield farmers’ interests, ensure food security at WTO

India managed to protect its farmers' interests and ensure food security for its poor even as the ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is unlikely to yield much progress. A series of work programmes on issues such as agriculture, domestic support, fisheries subsidies, e-commerce and services are expected, increasing the chances of some progress in next ministerial meet in 2019.

"India's food security programmes are protected because we have a peace clause of 2014. India's ability to provide procurement at minimum support price to farmers is intact," said JS Deepak, India's permanent representative to the WTO.

India wanted to amend the Agreement on Agriculture to get a permanent solution over and above the existing peace clause to give stronger legal strength to its programme to purchase, stockpile and distribute food. However, the US' stance that it would not allow any outcome on agriculture, proved to be a deal breaker. It is learnt that the developed countries didn't want to mention Doha Development Agenda in the final text which reduced the possibility of any package coming out.

"India has nothing to lose. Public stockholding is one of our interest areas. It is a setback to the WTO process if they couldn't meet the mandate of finding a solution," said another official.

Officials say the existing peace clause that India secured in 2014, continues to provide it with the cover wherein no country can take legal action against it if it fails to limit its public procurement of foodgrains, such as wheat and rice to within 10% of value of the crop as mandated by the WTO.

The 2017 deadline was for a permanent solution to the issue, creating confusion that the peace clause would also end and India would not have any protection. India also wanted a change in the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU), the WTO agreement that covers dispute settlement.

Read more at: economictimes

Quote

“Organic farming appealed to me because it involved searching for and discovering nature's pathways, as opposed to the formulaic approach of chemical farming. The appeal of organic farming is boundless; this mountain has no top, this river has no end.” ― Eliot Coleman


Wishing you all a Great Month ahead! - ISAP Team

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