Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals

ISAP Monthly E-Newsletter, Volume 10, Issue:2 (February , 2017)

INDEX

- ISAP Activities

Conferences & Exhibitions

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 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 a soil health improvement and yield enhancement program. 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 the first phase, ISAP formed seven FPOs in the 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 Update:-

Procurement of Red gram (major crop in this area) for NAFED under PSF, GOI

Procurement of Red Gram is in full swing in OCPF-AES project area. NAFED is doing this procurement through Karnataka Maha Society which is federation of seven FPOs promoted under OCPF-AES project. Karnataka Farmers Maha Society, has set-up 14 total functional Red Gram Procurement units in Gulbarga, Bidar and Raichur districts. Within a short span of time 1,37,282 quintals of Red gram have been procured from 5,179 farmers.

Red gram procurement by Karnataka Farmers Maha Society


A visit to Goat Resource Center and Chickpea field at Kamalapur, Anthappanal

Mrs. Kaplan Shastri from NAARM, Radhika Rani, NIRD member and NAARM trainees visited Gulbarga on respective dates from 5th to 7th February to understand the various field interventions of innovative farmers, namely:

• Mr. Gundappa: An Integrated Farming Systems (IFS) practicing farmer from Pattan village having sericulture, poultry, horticulture, agricultural crops, namely Chickpea, Red gram, Wheat and Paddy in a single piece of land. Also, he is having a vermi-compost unit, a farm pond and a biogas unit.

• Mr. Basavraj Jewanagi: An innovative farmer grows Papaya in large scale (in 50 acres of his farmland with drip-irrigation facility). He is also cultivating ginger and garlic crops in a laser leveled land. Along with these there is a huge farm pond in his field.

A visit to meet the innovative farmers along with Goat Resource Center and AVRC at Gulbarga and Gudur, Karnataka


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:-

Three training programs on organic farming have been organized, one in each block, i.e. Kishanganj, Anta and Hindoli. Resource person Mr. Manish Kumar from Nico Organics has facilitated these trainings. During the training, the farmers were told about the benefits of using organic farming techniques, various organic manures, mulching and vermi-composting.

The farmers training programs on Crop Management at AVRCs: Anta, Kisanganj and Hindoli


An exposure visit of FPO representatives to Kisan Mela at KVK, Kota

Thirty farmers from Anta and Kishanganj AVRC areas participated in the Kisan Mela (the farmers fair) organized by KVK, Kota. These farmers participated in Kisan Goshthi, where scientists and subject matter specialists explained about the various new technologies being used in agriculture, new varieties of crops, organic farming, vermi-compost and the role of FPOs for betterment of farmers. The farmers also visited various stalls displayed by Self Help Groups (SHGs) and FPOs in this Kisan Mela.

An exposure visit of FPO members from Ajmer to AVRC at Hindoli (District Bundi, Rajasthan)

Twenty-one members from the two FPOs, Shree Chaturbhuj Farmers Producer Company, Shrinagar, Ajmer and Shree Teerthraj Farmers Producer Company, Pisagaon, Ajmer, visited AVRC at Hindoli to understand the functioning and business set-up of Hindoli Farmers Producer Company Limited. These farmers understood the functioning of Honey processing, packaging and marketing strategies. They also understood the functioning of custom hiring centers (farm machinery), input stores, nursery shade net and vermi-compost units.

An exposure visit by the farmers at Hindoli, District Bundi, Rajasthan


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)

1. Business plan training for directors

In the month of February, Business plan meeting was scheduled for nine FPOs out of 26 registered KSP-1 project FPOs. The business plan training is conducted to explain the directors about the final business plan made for their company by ISAP. The complete exercise is conducted by simplifying the complex business plan and presenting it by using charts. The next step of the exercise was to divide the directors into three groups and to prepare and present the business plan.
Later, within a week’s time, directors started explaining the role of FPO and business plan at the FIG level. By this activity the message was conveyed to the individual farmer’s level.

Directors’ Training Programme


2. Small business outlet by Kayakayogi Farmer Producer Company Ltd.

In the month of February, the Kayakayogi Farmers Producer Company, Dharwad, initiated with small ‘Vegetable Outlet Shop’. The concept behind the outlet shop was to provide fresh vegetables to the hostels and PGs of that region, as Dharwad is the education hub of North Karnataka and also directly selling to the consumers.
The FPO started business with five major vegetables grown among the member farmers, i.e. chili, potato, tomato, brinjal and onion. The vegetables were collected from 40 farmers at a reasonable price which gave benefit to the farmers as well as the FPO. The FPO was able to gain a net profit of INR 15,000/- by doing this business within 20 days.
After getting success in this business, the FPO is planning to take up this to large scale by contacting hotels and universities of that area. The company has also contacted other Farmer Producer Companies promoted by ISAP in Karnataka, to buy the commodities that are not available in Dharwad.

The vegetable outlet by Kayakayogi Farmers Producer Company at Dharwad


 

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:-

During the month of February three new FPOs have been registered, one each at Nagpur, Yavatmal and Akola districts of Maharashtra. Registration of other FPOs is in progress in both the states, Maharashtra and Telengana. During the last month, Crop Management and IFS trainings were other major activities. The topics covered were Integrated Nutrient Management, Integrated Pest Management and Good Agriculture Practices like use of organic inputs, use of improved agricultural equipments and soil testing. Besides the above activities, progressive farmers have been selected for IFS crop demonstrations.

Training given to progressive farmers at the project locations


Agri-clinic and 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

Virendra Singh Shekhawat (Alampur, Alwar, Rajasthan)

“Our greatest weakness in life is in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time,” says Virendra Singh Shekhawat, who is an agricultural graduate and lives in Alampur village of Bansur tehsil in Alwar district of Rajasthan. Virendra, inspite of the financial constraints, right from his student days wanted to start his own venture. He heard about the Agri-Clinic Agri-Business Center’s (ACABC) training course conducted by MANAGE, Hyderabad, from one of his friends who had attended this training before. He contacted Mr. Amit Vikram Singh, the Nodal Officer of ISAP, Jaipur, from whom he got the detailed information about this training programme. After getting fully convinced about the ACABC course structure and benefits of attending the same he enrolled for the training programme on 26th September, 2016 and attended the two-month duration training at ISAP, Jaipur.

“After completion of the training programme I decided to start a venture on agri-inputs, as during my graduation days I came to know about the difference in yield which good quality of seeds, fertilizers and following the right package of practice can make in agriculture”, says Virendra. He started his venture with an initial investment of INR 2.30 Lakh from the money which he had arranged from his relatives. Along with this venture he got an opportunity to provide extension services to the farmers of his village by helping them in selecting the best quality seeds as the farmers came to seek his advice before making the choice of purchasing of agri-inputs. Now, Virendra is well respected in his village among the farmers because of his consultative sales nature for selling the agri-inputs. In this way, Virendra has helped the farmers of his village in obtaining higher yield in their farms through his recommendations side by side bringing down the cost of cultivation which the farmers used to incur earlier by the use of wrong combination of agri-inputs vis-à-vis their needs.

Currently, Virendra earns around INR 20,000/- per month from his venture by selling agri-inputs like seeds, insecticides, fungicides, fertilizers and plant growth regulators. Through his work he covers around 500 farmers from eight villages of Bansur tehsil. The technical expertise which he gained during the ACABC training programme has not only helped in generating a decent income, but also in gaining respect among the farming fraternity of his village.

ISAP wishes Mr. Virendra Singh Shekhawat all the best for his future endeavors.

Mr. Virendra Singh Shekhawat can be contacted on +91-9667268926.

Mr. Virendra Singh Shekhawat with a farmer at his shop at Alampur village, Bhansur tehsil, Alwar district, Rajasthan

The Skill Training Program for Tractor Operator and Mechanic – New Holland, India

ISAP has initiated a skill training program in Tractor Operator and Mechanic in Maharashtra and Karnataka, funded by New Holland, India. The main objective of the program is to prepare rural youth for improved livelihoods by making them skilled and employable in the Farm Mechanization Sector. There is a gap of trained tractor operators and tractor mechanics in the rural areas of India, 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 160 people. Each training course is for 70 days, including 40 days of classroom training and 30 days of practical training. Classroom training includes both theory and practical with machinery and equipment. The training is free of cost for the trainees and is a non-residential training program.

Monthly Activities:-

Currently, this program is being implemented in Gulbarga (Karnataka) and Nagpur (Maharashtra). Till now we have trained 162 candidates in both the locations. Out of these, 97 candidates are placed in various organizations and placement of remaining candidates is in process.


The Skill Training Program



‘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. 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 for the trainees and a full residential training program with lodging and boarding arrangements. 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 1,350 farmers.

Monthly Activities:-

“Hunar” Skills Program was inaugurated on 1st March, 2016 at Akola, Maharashtra, and at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh on April, 2016, and 4th May, 2016 in Dharwad district of Karnataka. Till now 295 candidates have been trained at all the three locations. We have completed the last batch. We also started a new batch in Tractor Mechanic domain on 22nd February, 2017 at Dharwad, Karnataka, with the Strength of 30 candidates and we have also started a new batch in Akola, Maharashtra, in Tractor Mechanic domain with the strength of 25 candidates.


“Hunar” Skills Training Program



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 machinery and equipment. The training is free of cost for the trainees and a non-residential training program.

Monthly Activities:-

We have completed training of three batches on 14th January, 2017, with the strength of 84 candidates in Solar Energy Technician domain. Placements of the candidates are in process. Now, we have also started a new batch on 25th February, 2016 with the strength of 101 candidates.

IEX - Hunar Training Program at Samastipur, Bihar



PODF-NABARD

Producer Organization Development Fund (PODF)-NABARD was 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:-

WORKSHOP ON AWARENESS OF ORGANIC FARMING AND ORGANIC GOODS

Horticulture Farmer Producer Company Limited organized a workshop on organic farming and organic foods awareness on 25th February, 2017 at Panchayat Bhawan, Karnal. In this program, prominent scientists from agriculture universities, National Organic Farming Centre, DDM, NABARD, and Prabhat Fertilizers participated and through the program inspired and encouraged the farmers to practice organic farming.

The Chief Guest of the program was BJP spokesperson Prof. Virendra Chauhan, who has an expertise on organic farming. He motivated the farmers to start organic farming with at least 1 acre of their farm land. He suggested the farmers to select one small village in Karnal which can achieve fully organic farming status by implementing organic farming practices.

The Company has organized its farmers in 20–25 FIGs from different villages of the block, 75 farmers of the company are growing Wheat (WH-283) in 100 acres without using any chemicals and replacing them with bio-fertilizers as an approach towards organic farming. The farmers of Horticulture FPC have realized the importance of organic farming and the harmful effects of chemicals on human as well as soil health. After ‘chemical-free’ wheat cultivation, their next step will be production of Basmati rice in the same way. The company is now committed towards creating awareness on organic farming and foods, and this workshop is one such step towards it.

The program also welcomed young individuals who left their comfortable jobs in the cities, took up organic farming and achieved good yields; this move acted as a great source of inspiration for existing farmers of Karnal.

IMG-20170225-WA0009.jpg IMG-20170225-WA0009.jpg

Prof. Virendra Chauhan addressing the farmers in the workshop at Panchayat Bhawan, Karnal



Science & Technology:

Global Seed Vault

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is seen as humanity's last hope against extinction after a world crisis. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was the brainchild of Cary Fowler, a scientist, conservationist and biodiversity advocate. Though its mission is to keep the world's seeds safe, its creation wasn't meant as a way to reseed the world after a world-scale catastrophe. Though there are more than 1,700 gene banks around the world that keep collections of seeds, as they are all vulnerable to wars, natural disasters, equipment malfunctions and other problems. In 2003, Fowler started to envision a backup storage facility where all of the world's seeds could be stored as safely as possible.

In addition to keeping the seeds at 0 F, the seeds are sealed in three-ply foil packages and then sealed inside boxes. These boxes are placed on shelves inside the vault where the temperature and moisture levels are closely monitored. This process helps to keep the metabolic activity in the seeds low, keeping them viable for longer period of time.

"The seeds in the Seed Vault are duplicate copies of collections held in national and other seed banks around the world," said Fowler. "If something happens to one of those facilities and if their seed samples are destroyed, then there is a backup copy in the Seed Vault. In the past, the loss of a variety meant extinction for that variety and any unique trait it might have contained. Today, fires, floods, natural disasters, wars, human errors, accidents, funding cuts—none of these need cause the extinction of a crop variety. If that variety is in the Seed Vault, it's as safe as it can be."


Source: livescience


Prominent Contributors to Agriculture:

Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson (May 27, 1907–April 14, 1964) Few literary works, if any, can compare to the enormous agricultural and environmental influence of Carson’s book Silent Spring. Published in 1962, the book was a landmark event in the history of the environmental movement. Carson focused the book on pesticides and their use in agriculture, and argued that those chemicals were dangerous to the environment, wildlife and humans. Carson was adept at presenting thorough documentation to make her point and concluded that the effects were akin to pesticide poisoning. The book is a great controversy and is cited as making erroneous cause-and-effect relationships, one of which led to severe use restrictions and bans on DDT—but other synthetic pesticides come under scrutiny as well, many of which are subject to bioaccumulation. It has been suggested that the subsequent ban on DDT has led to the resurgence of malaria and other fatal diseases. Regardless of which side of the argument you fall, what cannot be disputed is the powerful impact this book has on the agricultural world.

Source: en.wikipedia.org


Do you know

Bioluminescence Fungi: Mushrooms

Panellus pusillus mushrooms growing on a tree branch in daylight

From nail polish and glow sticks to now even puppies, we are fascinated by our ability to manipulate objects otherwise unseen in the dark. But long before we artificially created glow-in-the-dark objects, naturally like fireflies, a few fungi evolved to use this characteristic we so desire. Bioluminescence refers to the ability of certain living things in the environment to produce their own light through the light-emitting pigment “luciferin” by the action of enzymes “luciferase”. The responsible oxidative enzymes—known generically as luciferases—produce light by oxidizing a pigment called a luciferin.

Bioluminescent fungi or mushrooms are widespread and over 70 species are known. Although the intensity of their luminescence is generally low compared to many other bioluminescent organisms, fungi glow continuously for days, so their total emission is comparable with that of most brightly luminescent organisms, such as fireflies. Luminous fungi are found growing on decaying woods, leading to the popular name of "foxfire" or "glow wood" when their glow is visible at night. In some areas, Panellus stipticus is one of the brightest glowing mushrooms in the forest and the fruit bodies of these strains will glow in the dark when fresh or sometimes when revived in water after drying.


Source: earth-matters

 

News Highlights

Sixty-four Indian exporters to take part in Dubai food event

As many as 64 Indian exporters, dealing with a range of agriculture and processed food products, will take part in a food event in Dubai. These firms are participating under the banner of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), Indian consulate in Dubai has said. The Gulffood 2017 event will be held from 26th February to 2nd March.

APEDA, an apex organization under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is mandated with the responsibility for Promotion and Development of the export of various agro products. A statement released by the consulate said, India is one of the largest producer of food in the world and has an outstanding competitive strength in food processing.

"Plentiful sunshine, variable soil texture varied agro-climatic zones—tropical, sub-temperate and temperate—and rainfall ranging from less than 13 cm to 600 cm sets the stage for the production of a whole range of agricultural products round the year in different parts of the country. APEDA's export basket includes fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, pickles, chutneys, guar gum, poultry, meat and dairy products, confectionery, cut flowers, food grains, aromatic plants, Basmati Rice and Indian Long Grain Rice and other Indian delicacies. “India exports agricultural products to more than 80 countries world over. The export of Agro products for the year 2015–16 was to the tune of USD 16195.61 Million,” said the statement. Subsequent to liberalization of trade, fiscal and industrial policies in last 25 years, the economic environment in India is very conducive now, for making investment in food processing.

Several globally recognized names in the food world viz. Nestle, Kellogg’s, Mc Donald's, Dominos, Cadburys, Seagram, Perfetti, Van Melle, Heinz, Coke and Pepsi have established large scale production bases in India serving domestic markets as well as exporting their products to other countries.

UAE market is a potential market for Indian food products, i.e., basmati rice, fresh fruits and vegetables, non-basmati rice, buffalo meat, alcoholic beverages, sheep and goat meat, etc. The export of APEDA scheduled products to the UAE market for the year 2015–16 was USD 1371 million.

According to the statement, the global demand for safe food has resulted in preference for organically grown food. To address the concerns about food safety and traceability in food products, growers, processors and exporters in India have established backward linkages for effective monitoring of the procurement of raw materials.

Read more at: economictimes

Need high-yielding seeds to boost pulses, oilseeds output

Concerned over imports of pulses and cooking oils to meet domestic demand, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh asked the farm scientist to develop high-yielding seed varieties to boost production of oilseeds and dals to make country self sufficient.

He said that imports of pulses and edible oils worth thousands of crores every year make a huge impact on the country's foreign exchange reserve.

Addressing the convocation of ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), the premium farm research bodies would play an important role in developing high-yielding varieties to boost productivity and production of pulses and oilseeds. Singh asked students to come to the forefront and devote their knowledge and skills to agriculture for bringing the second green revolution in the country. The Minister said that due to the presence of Pusa Institute in Delhi, there has been continuous development of agriculture in the adjoining states like Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh.

He said two more IARI institutes have been opened in Assam and Jharkhand for holistic development of agriculture in the entire country. Singh complemented farm scientists for achieving self sufficiency in food grains productions.

“With cultivation of wheat varieties developed by Indian Agricultural Research Institute in 10 million hectares, 50 million tonnes of wheat were being produced,” he said, adding Basmati varieties developed by Pusa Institute contribute significantly in agricultural export exchequer.

During 2016, IARI has released 11 varieties of different field crops, such as rice, wheat, mustard and pulses. Pusa Double Zero Mustard 31, canola quality mustard, developed by the institute, is the first variety of high quality in the country having less than 2% Erucic acid and less than 30ppm glucosinolates found in oil-cake, which is conducive for human and animal health.

He said the automated phenomics facility established by IARI would be useful to study the environmental stress. This facility would be used in developing plants from which higher yield could be secured with less use of water and fertilizers.

Singh said ICAR-IARI, Pusa has developed an innovative, eco-friendly and cost-effective wastewater treatment technology through which waste water can be made pollution free and used for irrigation purpose with less than 1% energy and less than 50–60% investment and operational cost. The minister also said that this technology would be effective in checking the shortage of water and pollution of soil, ground water and food due to wastewater in future.

Read more at: timesofindia

Karnataka to release drought-tolerant varieties of five crops by next year

The crop varieties have been developed through non-transgenic biotechnology to tackle the impact of climate change. Karnataka’s efforts to use non-transgenic biotechnology to tackle the impact of climate change has just begun to yield results, with the State set to release drought-tolerant and improved varieties of five crops, including ragi, by next year.

Disclosing this while delivering a plenary lecture at the Indian Agricultural Science Congress, which is deliberating on ‘climate-smart agriculture’ here on Friday, Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda said the field trials of some of the new crops had begun, while those of the remaining would be taken up later this year. He told The Hindu that it was for the first time in the country that a State had taken up such a non-transgenic biotechnology initiative to tackle drought through genome sequencing that involves identifying the gene which is responsible for increasing drought tolerance.

Read more at: thehindu

Young Indian Farmers Spice up Market for Organic Himalayan Crops

Decades after farmers on India’s plains flocked to the “Green Revolution”, reliant on chemical fertilizers to drive agricultural growth, the northeast Himalayan state of Sikkim is trying its luck with organic farming – a pull for young, green-minded entrepreneurs who could help get the produce to market.

Last year Sikkim was declared 100 percent organic by the Indian government, while across the country, organic farming is growing rapidly. India has the world’s highest number of organic producers at 650,000, or over a quarter of the global total, according to the Europe-based Research Institute of Organic Agriculture.

Abhinandan Dhakal, 28, who lives in Sikkim’s state capital Gangtok, has invested INR 3.4 million ($50,959) over four years, as well as his time and energy in laying the foundations for an organic business growing and selling Peruvian ground apple, or yacon, a crisp, sweet-tasting tuber. “I have always been passionate about rural livelihoods,” said Dhakal, who joined an organization helping farmers in Tanzania after finishing his studies in environmental economics. Two years later, he returned to Sikkim with the ambition of becoming an agricultural entrepreneur.

To capitalize on Sikkim’s organic status and stand out from the field, he decided to focus on yacon, a high-value product that is often eaten raw or consumed for its health benefits in the form of syrup and powder. He has taught other farmers in east Sikkim how to cultivate and sell the tuber. “Ground apple grows only in hills and has a great demand in the market, especially outside India,” Dhakal said, noting its popularity in the Middle East, Europe, Singapore and Australia. “It is much sought after by the food industry and health-conscious people as it has a lot of medicinal value,” he added.

Dhakal’s Shoten Network Group has tied up with marketing firms in Bangalore and Delhi to sell yacon to retailers and pharmaceutical companies both inside and outside India. He plans to raise his venture’s current annual production of 10 tonnes to 200 tonnes next year, by collaborating with more farmers.

Dharni Sharma, a 33-year-old farmer from Linkey in east Sikkim, said growing Peruvian ground apple had “brought a refreshing change”. It is also productive, he said, noting that 1 kg of seed yields 40–50 kg of ground apple, which sells for around INR 45/- per kilo.

Renzino Lepcha, chief operating officer of Mevedir, a Sikkim-based company that offers farmers services, such as export and processing, said the shift to organic agriculture could lure back young people who had left for urban centres to find work in recent years.

“Some are returning to farming with big hopes,” he said. They include Sonam Gyatso of Dzongu in north Sikkim, who previously worked for a state security agency. He quit his job after deciding to focus on organic farming on his four acres of land. “I think I am doing well, as I now have a livelihood which I control myself,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Read more at: northeasttoday

Climate change a turning point for agriculture sector

University of Agricultural Sciences and National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi, hosted the 13th Agricultural Science Congress here on Tuesday. The event, themed on climate-smart agriculture, will conclude on Friday.

Climate change is one of the millennium sustainable goals of 2030 and 155 countries have ratified this. India became a signatory in 2016. NITI Aayog member Ramesh Chanda said, “The set targets for these goals are closely related to agriculture. In case of other sectors, production is not affected by climate change, but our sector has an effect on climate change and will be affected by it. We do not have substitute for food. Can we explore other ways of production?”

UAS chancellor and Governor Vajubhai Vala appreciated women scientists who received agricultural sciences awards at the Congress. He said women have potential but don’t get equal opportunity. He said only agriculture scientists can help realize part of Lal Bahadur Shastri’s slogan of Jai Jawan Jai Kisan come true by helping farmers improve yield while using little water.


Read more at: newindianexpress

NABARD projects 60% rise in Assam's credit outlay

With the aim of doubling farmers’ income by 2022, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has projected a 60% increase in potential credit outlay for the state for 2017–18. At a state credit seminar here on Wednesday, the NABARD projected Rs. 19,441 crore credits potential for priority sectors in the state - a 60% increase from the projected credit outlay of Rs. 12,143 crore in 2016–17.

NABARD's state focus paper said the potential credit outlay for 2017–18 included crop loan, agriculture term loan, agriculture infrastructure, ancillary activities, MSME, export credit, education, housing, renewable energy and social infrastructure, among others. For crop loan, the projected credit was Rs. 7,931 crore, an increase of 106% from the previous year. The projected credit for agriculture term loan was Rs. 3,865 crore - a 67% increase from the previous year.

NABARD's Assam regional office chief general manager Rajashree K. Baruah said the focus of state credit seminar was on doubling farmers' income by 2022. She said a concerted effort by all stakeholders was needed to tap the state's potential. The focus paper also pointed out that the recovery position of overall priority sector loans had improved marginally to 62% on March 31, 2016, from 61% on March 31, 2015.

On the other hand, the recovery position with respect to agriculture loans had decreased to 57% on March 31, 2016, from 61% on March 31, 2015. The focus paper said the decrease in recovery of agriculture loan was 'a matter of serious concern’. The net NPAs (non-performing assets) under agriculture advances increased to Rs. 779.89 crore on March 31, 2016, from Rs. 528.80 on March 31, 2016.

Read more at: timesofindia


Quote

“Agriculture is the noblest of all alchemy; for it turns earth, and even manure, into gold, conferring upon its cultivator the additional reward of health. - Thomas Jefferson”


Wishing you all a Great Month ahead! - ISAP Team

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