Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals

ISAP Monthly E-Newsletter, Volume 10, Issue:11 (November, 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

ISAP has set up two seed processing units at its AVRCs at Kishanganj (Distt Baran) and Khandar (Sawai Madhopur). Seed production programs were given to project farmers and seeds are procured from these farmers through FPOs. Seeds thus procured are processed in the above units.

Under this program, foundation seed (F1) of Wheat (variety RAJ 4037) of quantity 240 kg and 680 kg were distributed among farmers of Bonli and Khandar blocks, respectively, at Sawai Madhopur district, Rajasthan. Also, FPO of Bonli produced and processed 6,240 kg of HD 2967 Wheat variety, which is now available for sale this season. Farmer members of Khandar FPO produced the first lot of cabbages and other vegetables.

Similarly, FPOs in Kishanganj and Anta blocks in distt Baran and Hindoli block in distt Bundi processed Wheat seed of quantities 132.00 qtl, 90.00 qtl and 92.25 qtl, respectively. FPOs in Kishanganj also processed Black gram seed (quantity 10.16 qtl). Total 324.41 qtl of seeds were processed and packed. These processed and packed seeds are being transported to the market for selling.

Procurement of Wheat variety HD 2967 from farmers of Bonli block at Sawai Madhopur (Raj.)

Khandar Agro Producer Ltd. helping farmers to sell their produce at Khandar block, Sawai Madhopur (Raj.)


Distribution of foundation seed of F1 variety Wheat (RAJ 4037) among farmers of Bonli and Khandar blocks at Sawai Madhopur (Raj.)


The Wheat and Black gram seeds are being processed at the Seed Processing Units in the AVRCs and packed for marketing in the 3 FPOs of Kishanganj, Anta and Hindoli blocks at Baran and Bundi districts (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)

1. Capacity building

Training Program Conducted by SFAC at Bankers Institute of Rural Development (BIRD), Mangalore

On 20th November, 5 days training program was conducted by SFAC at BIRD, Mangalore. This program was inaugurated by Sri. B. Sridhar and Sri. Sreepathy Kalkura, the Program Directors, in the presence of Ms. Kamakshi S Pai, the Joint Director. All the CEOs, Presidents and BODs from 9 FPOs promoted by ISAP in Karnataka and two Project Cocoordinators of ISAP attended the training program.

Training was focused on running FPO as business organization, backward linkages and reducing cost of cultivation and formulating business plan etc. Shri. B. Sridhar also articulated on challenges and opportunities in different sectors, basics of marketing, market stratification and pricing. Also, Sri B. Sridhar gave a presentation on sourcing of funds and role of SFAC, Banks and NABARD. A group discussion was also carried out to accentuate the roles and responsibilities of different members of the FPOs who attended the training.


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

Field Visit by the Participants to the Mattu Gulla FPO at Katpadi, Udupi

All the participants visited the FPO named Mattu Gulla at Katpadi, Udupi to observe the output business activities of a single cropping system.


Field visit by the CEOs, Presidents and BODs to an FPO named Mattu Gulla at Katpadi, Udupi

Inauguration of the Customer Hiring Service Centre (CHSC) of Shri Puttarajagawayi HFPCL at Gadag district

On 17th November, under the Agriculture JD Horticulture Sujala-III, DD Sujala-III and DDH project scheme, Customer Hiring Training Service Center (CHSC) was inaugurated at the premises of Shri Puttarajagawayi HFPCL in Gadag district. Shri. Rajiv Ranjan (World Bank Commissioner from Watershed Department) graced the occasion with his presence. The formation of CHSC mainly aims at strengthening the institutions through expansion of business as well as helping the needy farmers with sophisticated farm machineries at nominal cost, which they cannot otherwise afford to buy.

Inauguration of the Customer Hiring Service Centre (CHSC) of Shri Puttarajagawayi HFPCL at Gadag district


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:-

FPOs visit to Suguna Foods Plant at Hinganghat for Soybean linkage

In this second phase of SHARE, focus is primarily on market linkage. FPOs from Wardha and Yavatmal districts are exploring feasibility of supplying soybean to a leading Soybean Plant at Hinganghat city of Wardha, Maharashtra. On 17th November, orientation of the FPO functionaries was held in the presence of Mr. Gajendra Wankhade (RO ISAP, Maharashtra), Mr. Jayram Dignkar (FIFA) and Mr. Jayant Jogalekar. This delegation visited the Soybean Plant in Hinganghat city. The key points discussed include business model, quality parameters and pricing mechanism. Motivated by the visit, the FPOs of Ner, Wardha and Hinganghat blocks decided to start their own Soybean business immediately while others will follow them.

Orientation of FPOs in the presence of Mr. Gajendra Wankhade (RO ISAP, Maharashtra), Mr. Jayram Dignkar (FIFA) and Mr. Jayant Jogalekar at Hinganghat


Visit of all the directors and secretaries of 5 FPOs to a Soybean Plant at Hinganghat, 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

Arvind Kumar – The Seeds Distributer

Name: Arvind Kumar
Age: 41 years
Address: Virat Nagar, Lowadih Namkum, Ranchi, PIN-834 010, Jharkhand
Business: Vegetable Seeds Wholesaler and Retailer
Turnover: INR 10 lakh


Arvind Kumar belongs to the Kushwaha caste which is known for vegetable farming. The affection towards agriculture has been in his blood. Due to this reason he did his education in Agriculture. After completing graduation from Purvanchal University in 1997, he also completed PG Diploma in environmental science. In 2001, he did his MBA from Symbiosis and joined the Golden Seeds Pvt. Ltd. in Jharkhand. He worked there for 4 years and got to learn more about the seed business and its marketing. From there he got the idea of starting his own seeds business and so he resigned from the job and started a new business of his own.

In 2006, from one of his friends he came to know about ISAP. He joined and took the training from ISAP. The training helped him to understand more about the market and he gained the knowledge about entrepreneurship. He tells, “How to start and maintain my own business? This idea I got from ISAP only.”




Then in 2009, he started his own venture by the name “Arvind Enterprises”. He was the only person who supplied vegetable seeds in his region. Due to the experience of interactions with farmers during him earlier job that he already had, he was capable of analysing and identifying the basic needs of farmers of his region. From initial days, he only kept the good products of 2-3 companies only.

Arvind, coming from the agricultural background, has spent most of his time on fields. He used to provide free-of-cost consultancy services to farmers. He had always supported the local farmers by providing free seeds to the needy farmers. This was the major role that he has played to make the poor and needy farmers stand on their own feet. His has set his motto to always provide the farmers with good quality seeds. “The product speaks for itself. I always tried to give best quality seeds to farmers and this has automatically created more customer base.”

At present, farmers like Gansu Mahato and Bednath Mahato are very successful farmers only because of the extended helping hand that Arvind Kumar provided them. He provided the seeds of cauliflower, jalbera, tomato and brinjal to Gansu Mahato. From 1 acre of agricultural land Gansu Mahato was able to generate the income from INR 70 thousand to INR 80 thousand. Similarly, Bednath Mahato used to cultivate watermelon, cucumber and cauliflower. Arvind also provided him with low-cost drip irrigation system and he was the first person in Ormanjhi to have drip system on his fields.



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), in 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 23rd October, 2017, at Jaipur (Rajasthan), with strength of 10 candidates. The classes and trainings are in progress.


Classes and trainings on operation of Case Backhoe Loader at Jaipur, Rajasthan


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. Till now, total 1,689 candidates in 37 batches were trained in five different regions of Rajasthan, namely Anta, Hindoli, Kishanganj, Bonli and Khandar. Total 853 candidates cleared the examination in 25 batches. Results for 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:

Climate’s magic rabbit: Pulling carbon dioxide out of thin air




These fans suck in the surrounding air and chemically coated filters inside absorb the carbon dioxide. They become saturated in a few hours so, using the waste heat from the recycling facility, the filters are heated up to 100°C and very pure carbon dioxide gas is then collected.
This installation, called a direct-air capture system, has been developed by a Swiss company called Climeworks. It can capture about 900 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. It is then pumped to a large greenhouse a few hundred metres away, where it helps grow bigger vegetables. This is not supposed to be a demonstration of a clever technology - for the developers, making money from carbon dioxide is critical. Farmers say that their vegetables are 20% bigger thanks to the supply of carbon dioxide. "This is the first time we are commercially selling carbon dioxide; this is the first of its kind," co-founder Jan Wurzbacher told BBC News. "It has to be for business; carbon dioxide capture can't work for free."
Right now Climeworks is selling the gas to the vegetable growers next door for less than $600 per tonne, which is very expensive. But the company says that this is because it has built its extraction devices from scratch - everything is bespoke. The firm believes that like solar and wind energy, costs will rapidly fall once production is scaled up. "The magic number we always say is $100 per tonne," said Jan Wurzbacher. "We have drawn a road down to the region of $100 and that is something we think is feasible. We can do it by scaling up the mass production of our components. I'd say half of the way to go there - we know what to do. We just have to do it over the next two or three years."
There's also a roaring trade in carbon dioxide in the US, where it's being used, without irony, to boost the extraction of oil from wells. One of the most ambitious plans is to extract carbon dioxide and turn it into fuel. A couple of years ago, car manufacturer Audi announced it had developed what it called "e-diesel", a liquid fuel made from water and carbon dioxide. Climeworks supplied some of the carbon dioxide for the trials. Driving down the price of capturing carbon dioxide is key to making this idea work.
"If you have to pay $100 per tonne of carbon dioxide that makes roughly 25 cents per litre of gasoline," said Jan Wurzbacher. "It is a reasonable amount per litre or per kilogram of natural gas." Making fuel or other products out of carbon dioxide might help but it won't achieve the type of large scale take-down from the atmosphere that many scientists now fear will be necessary over the next 20–30 years if the goals of the Paris climate agreement are to be met.

Source: www.bbc.com



Prominent Contributors to Agriculture:

Dr. Gurdev Singh Khush (August 22, 1935)Dr. Gurdev Singh Khush is an agronomist and geneticist who, along with mentor Henry Beachell, received the 1996 World Food Prize for his achievements in enlarging and improving the global supply of rice during a time of exponential population growth. He graduated from Punjab Agricultural University in 1955 and did his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis in 1960. After serving as a faculty member of the University of California for 7 years studying the tomato genome, he joined the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines as Plant Breeder. He was appointed a Head of the Plant Breeding Department in 1972 where, in pursuit of ever-improved rice varieties to nourish the growing developing world and support its agricultural economies, he spent over 20 years directing and participating in genetic research and breeding. During that time he played a key role in the development of more than 300 innovative rice strains, such as Semi-dwarf IR36. World rice production increased from 257 million tons in 1966 to 626 million tons in 2006. He retired from IRRI in February 2002 as Principal Plant Breeder and Head of Division of Plant Breeding Genetics and Biochemistry and returned to UCDavis as adjunct professor. He led the rice breeding program at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines for 35 years. For his contributions to Green Revolution Dr. Khush has received several international awards, including the Borlaug Award (1977), the Japan Prize (1987), the World Food Prize (1996), Padma Shri (2000) and the Wolf Prize in Agriculture (2000). He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1995 and by the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences as their foreign fellow in 1991. Not only this, Dr. Gurdev Singh Khush Foundation for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences was established in 2010 with the generous donation by Dr. Khush. The main objective of the Foundation is to provide financial support to promote education, research and training in agriculture.

Source: ncsm.gov.in


Do you know?


Image result for breadfruit

Myrciaria dubia (Camu camu, Cacari, shahuinto or Camocamo) is a small bushy riverside tree from the Amazon rainforest in Peru and Brazil, which grows to a height of 3–5 m (9.8–16.4 ft) and bears a red/purple cherry-like fruit. It has bushy, feathery foliage. The high vitamin C content, on the order of 2–3% of fresh weight, is the most important property of the fruit. It has small flowers with waxy white petals and a sweet-smelling aroma. The evergreen, opposite leaves are lanceolate to elliptic. It favours soft, alluvial soils of seasonally flooded areas, and can be interplanted with other flood-resistant tree species, also grows well in uplands. Trees of this genus can grow to be very large (e.g. “shahuinto”), and spacing needs vary. All species survive best in hot, damp, tropical climates, but also will grow in the subtropics, surviving temperatures down to just above freezing. It does not tolerate weeds and requires copious water. The fruit is extremely acidic and the flavor must be masked by dilution in milk/water and the addition of sugar. A reddish pigment in the leathery skin imparts a pink color on juices extracted from it. The aroma is subtle, but is not as captivating as in more popular fruits. Camu camu is more recently also used in ice creams, drinks, popsicles, candy, sweets, etc. Processed powder from the fruit pulp is beginning to be sold in the west as a health food in loose powder or capsule form. It is rich in flavonoids, vitamin C and antioxidants. However, preliminary research suggests that camu camu may offer certain health benefits – may fight inflammation and oxidative stress, potential in the treatment of diabetes. The cortex is also steeped in aguardiente, which is then drunk to prevent rheumatism. The juice is said to cure anemia. Camu camu are cultivated in large-scale and sold to the world market, with Japan being the major buyer. The fruit is exported from Peru, with most of it going to Japan.


Source: healwithfood

 

News Highlights

Innovative farming idea gets IIITM-Kerala team NITI Aayog hackathon prize

A team of research students from the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management-Kerala (IIITM-K) here have bagged the prestigious NITI Aayog prize in the inaugural edition of the Proffer Hackathon held at IIT, New Delhi. Their award-winning entry was ‘AgroChain’, a block chain based transparent marketplace where farmers and consumers can implement a co-operative farming method.

The international block chain hackathon was jointly organised recently by NITI Aayog, the policy think tank of the government of India, and Harvard-based block chain startup Proffer, a release said here.

The IIITM-K team, comprising Nikhil V Chandran, Adarsh S and Anoop V S of the Data Engineering Lab, mentored by Asharaf S, emerged as winners in the India Chain category, it said.

AgroChain enables farmers to list the potential crops and expected yield on their farm on the distributed public ledger. The consumers can view the details and check for the farmer’s credibility, based on the previous cultivation and supply. This creates a transparent and tamper-proof digital market platform for farm products, the release said.

It will help the consumer fund individual crops or a field and can acquire the yield from the farm or the profit percentage of its market value, it said.

More than 1,900 students and young professionals from 28 countries signed up to participate in-person and remotely in the event.

A panel of judges from Coinbase, IBM, Microsoft, Harvard, BoostVC, and Government of India assessed the projects.

The objective of the hackathon was to look beyond currency use cases to see how block chain technology can make a difference to governments, economies, businesses and individuals, the release added.

Read more at: hindustantimes

Wheat disease spreads alarm; Bengal bans sowing in 2 border districts

A disease that damages wheat has taken root in West Bengal, forcing the state government to ban cultivation in two districts bordering Bangladesh for two years, and anywhere else 5 km from the border.

Wheat blast, caused by a fungus causes ripe wheat to turn whitish and dry up. It can infect large areas in a short time and render an area infertile for two to three years. Once it strikes, the entire field of standing crops has to be burnt and the ash disposed to prevent a return the next season. First identified in Brazil in 1985, it struck last year in Bangladesh, where crops over 20,000 hectares were burnt.

In Bengal, symptoms similar to those of wheat blast first showed in February this year, leading to burning of crops over 1,000 acres in the border districts of Murshidabad and Nadia. The Centre has now alerted Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Assam and Meghalaya to check the spread of the disease, while the BSF has been sensitised against wheat grain entering from Bangladesh. “The only way to stop it is not to cultivate wheat. This is the sowing season and we want to prevent it. Steps are also been taken to prevent its spread to any other state,” said Asish Banerjee, state Agriculture Minister. “Various steps are being taken such as ban on wheat cultivation in the two districts, and within 5 km of the border throughout the state. We have also banned movement of wheat grains out of the affected areas in Bengal,” the minister said.

Bengal shares a 2,217-km border with Bangladesh. “We have held a number of meetings with Bengal government authorities, and representatives of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and other states were present,” P K Chakraborty, additional director general (plant protection), Indian Council of Agricultural Research, said from Delhi. “We are calling it a ‘wheat blast-like disease’. The BSF has also been alerted to stop movement of wheat from Bangladesh. Farmers are being asked to sow alternative crops.” The Centre is also trying to develop blast-resistant strains. “Farmers should not panic. It is yet to be confirmed,” said Gyanendra P Singh, director, Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research, Karnal.

“We are in the process of getting blast-resistant strains (sown in India) tested in Bangladesh, Bolivia and the US. We have four strains, which will undergo confirmatory tests in high-disease areas such as Bangladesh,” Singh said.

Scientists say entire fields can go sterile if the disease spreads, which happens either by air or through stubble. According to scientists, the consequences of a wider outbreak in South Asia, whose inhabitants consume 100 million tonnes of wheat each year, could be as devastating as leaving 300 million people malnourished.

India is the second largest producer of wheat in the world, at 96 million tonnes.

Read more at: indianexpress


ITC forays into branded fresh fruits, veggies

FMCG major ITC has ventured into the packaged fresh fruits and vegetables segment with the launch of a new brand called Farmland. The company will unveil four variants of potatoes as its first product under the brand, which will soon be launched in Delhi, followed by other key metros. In the long term, the company plans to expand the range of fresh fruits and vegetables under the brand and may also look at launching apples by the next quarter.

S Sivakumar, Group Head - ITC’s Agri-Business and Information Technology, said: “We expect to make Farmland potatoes available in about 1,000 stores in the next two-three months in Delhi. We hope to be present in the key seven metro cities in the next 12 months. Farmland potatoes will be sold not just through modern stores and e-commerce but we will also tap a large number of neighbourhood stores.”

Sivakumar said fresh fruits and vegetables were a fundamental part of a consumer’s food basket and also key to providing enhanced incomes to farmers who are an integral part of ITC’s farm-to-fork value chain. “Farmland will provide safe and nutritious fruits and vegetables for consumers, while opening up a new value-added segment for farmers for enhanced income,” he added.

The four introductory Farmland potato variants include naturally low-sugar potatoes, potatoes with natural anti-oxidant, baby potatoes and potatoes for French fries. The company said these will be priced at 10-15 per cent premium over local prices, adding that Farmland products would not see fluctuations in prices, as seen in the market.

“The total market for table potatoes in India in consumer spend terms is valued at ₹70,000 crore, with consumption in metros and mini-metros alone close to ₹5,000 crore, which is what ITC’s Farmland Potatoes range will address in the first phase,” the company said in a statement

The company said it would leverage the strengths that it had acquired over the years in the potato category, with access to 250 varieties and strong supply linkages.

Read more at: thehindubusinessline

CAI estimates 2017-18 cotton crop at 375 lakh bales

In its first estimate of the cotton crop for the 2017-18 season beginning from October 1, 2017, the Cotton Association of India (CAI) has projected 375 lakh bales of 170 kg each. The CAI has retained its estimate for the previous crop year ended September 30, 2017, at 337.25 lakh bales. So, current season’s cotton crop is likely to be 37.75 lakh bales more.

The increase in crop estimated for the 2017-18 crop year is on account of the higher acreage under cotton than compared to the previous crop year. The acreage under cotton during 2017-18 is estimated to be more by about 19 per cent than that of the previous season. However, the CAI estimates the yields to be lower by about 9 per cent this year owing to the damage caused by pink boll worms.

The projected Balance Sheet drawn by the CAI estimates the total cotton supply for the cotton season 2017-18 at 422.00 lakh bales including the opening stock of 30 lakh bales at the beginning of the year and the imports which are estimated to be 17 lakh bales. The domestic consumption is estimated at 320 lakh bales while the exports are expected to be about 63 lakh bales.

Of the estimated 375 lakh bales in the ongoing season, 212 lakh bales of cotton are expected from the Central region comprising Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh. North and South zones are projected to contribute 55 lakh bales and 103 lakh bales, respectively, with the remaining coming from Orissa and other parts of the country. (RKS)

Read more at: fibre2fashion

Farmers cheer as grapes make early entry in Nashik

An early harvest of fresh table grapes has begun in Kasmade belt of Nashik district, the largest regional producer of grapes in the country. Earlier, grapes were available only in the month of January.

However, this harvest is for domestic consumption, but some of it is also expected to be exported to Russia and Dubai.

Typically, the major harvest begins after January 15 and the bulk of the crop is exported. However, farmers have experimented with pruning techniques and got an early crop mostly in the Kasmade belt, which includes the tehsils of Kalvan, Satana (Baglan) and Malegaon and Deola bordering Khandesh, said grape farmer Khanderao Shewale who has a vineyard in Bhuyani village, Baglan tehsil, Nashik district, on Friday.

Manikrao Patil, president, Maharashtra Rajya Draksha Bagiatdar Sangh, said that pruning of most vineyards in Maharashtra had started in October and fruit from these vines would be harvested late December and early January. He said that there were some losses due to unseasonal rains and erratic climate due to which prediction of the January harvest could not be made. There are about 4,500 to 5,600 acre of vineyards in the Kasmade belt while Dindori, Niphad and Nashik tehsils lead in production. Meanwhile, the central government has taken the grape export issue seriously and implemented the Grapenet programme. Presently, only those grapes exported to Europe and UK are monitored by Grapenet.

In future export of grapes to all countries will be monitored by Grapenet, said Rajendra Boraste, treasurer, Grape Exporters Association of India.

Read more at: asianage

Crop survey app to help farmers register details

Now farmers in Karnataka can enter the details of the crops they grow in their RTCs (record of rights, tenancy and crops) with a few clicks on an android app on crop survey. Addressing an awareness programme on the Karnataka government’s ‘farmers’ crop survey app’, Sasikanth Senthil, Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada district, said this would lead to the empowerment of farmers.

Salient features.

He said the authentic information provided by farmers would help them while applying for loans, claiming insurance and while getting compensation for crop loss. Various government programmes are likely to be linked to this app in future.

Stating that the app is linked to the Bhoomi (which is an online delivery and management of land records project in Karnataka), he said the information uploaded by the farmers will be reflected in their RTCs.

This app helps farmers to enter the type of crops – single or mixed – with the extent of the land along with the pictures taken on the mobile phone. The app provides the map of the land of the farmer’s survey number basis.

When told that some rural areas lack telecommunication connectivity, he said internet connection to the app is required only at the time of downloading the app and while uploading the crop information.

Kumar, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada, explained the salient features of the app to farmers on the occasion.

Read more at: thehindubusinessline

Need to focus on agriculture, sanitation: Rajnath Singh to Bill Gates

Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday urged Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates to focus on developing Indian villages into ‘model villages’ by initiating new technologies in fields of agriculture and sanitation.

Singh, during his meeting with Gates, co-chairperson of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, appreciated the various welfare works being undertaken by the US donor in India. The home minister requested Gates to expand its health awareness programmes in India and develop "model villages" so that the local people get inspired. Gates, on his part, explained the various technologies being adopted by them in the field of agriculture and sanitation.

The meeting comes even as the Gates Foundation-funded Indian NGO, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), was stripped of its licence to receive foreign funds earlier this year over violations of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, 2010.

Read more at: timesofindia

India ripe for contract farming: PM tells world

Extolling India’s diverse strengths in agriculture – the country has the world’s second-largest arable land area and 127 diverse agro-climatic zones – Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday called for greater private investment in contract farming and sourcing of raw materials.

Ease of doing business

Inaugurating World Food India, a global event organised by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry, the Prime Minister called upon global supermarket chains to take advantage of the “great opportunity” that awaits them “as doing business in India had become easier than ever before”.

“Private sector participation has been increasing in many segments of the value chain. However, more investment is required in contract farming, raw material sourcing and to create agri linkages. Many international companies in India have taken a lead in contract farming initiatives. This is a clear opportunity for global supermarket chains to consider India as a major outsourcing hub,” he said.

The Indian opportunity

To cater to Indian taste buds, Modi also suggested that aerated drink majors blend 5 per cent of fruit juice in their products. “In order to be successful in Indian markets, understanding Indian food habits and tastes is a key requirement,” he said, citing milk-based products and fruit juice-based drinks that are an “intrinsic part of Indian food habits”.

Urging food majors to also tap the vast scope that the Indian Railways offers, the Prime Minister said that “over a million passengers have a meal on a train in India”, every day. Emphasising the importance of food-processing in “nutrition security”, the Prime Minister said that apart from post-harvest management, “there is immense potential in niche areas such as organic and fortified foods”, and suggested linking these with traditional foods such as coarse grains and millets, terming them “nutrition-rich and climate-smart” crops. “The perfect blend of hygienic, nutritious and tasty processed food, with the added benefits of preventive healthcare, can be produced economically here in India,” he said.

Farm sector

Modi said farmers are “central to our efforts in food processing”, adding that to achieve the doubling of farm income within five years, the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana must “leverage investments of $5 billion, benefit two million farmers and generate more than half-a-million jobs over the next three years”. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister for Food Processing Industries, said the three-day mega event is likely to see the signing of MoUs worth $11 billion. World Food India is being attended by around 2,000 people, over 200 companies from 30 countries, 18 ministerial and business delegations, nearly 50 global CEOs of companies such as Nestle, Unilever, Metro Cash & Carry, along with 100 CEOs of domestic food-processing firms and representatives of 28 States.

Read more at: thehindubusinessline

President unveils 3rd Bihar agriculture road map worth Rs 1.54 lakh crore

President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday unveiled the third agriculture road map of Bihar for the period 2017-2022 during his maiden visit to the state after becoming the Rashtrapati Bhavan occupant early this year.

He also launched nine schemes under the agriculture road map. They included an organic farming corridor, a Bihar Fisheries College at Kishanganj, stone laying of an 11kV agriculture feeder at Naubatpur block in Patna district and a three-layer Bihar Vegetable Processing and Distribution Cooperative system. Kovind, who earlier served Bihar as its governor, called the visit an emotional experience. "The state has the potential to lead the second green revolution through water management and organic farming practices," he said and added the agriculture road map could augment the state's image-building exercise.

"People of Bihar are touching new heights in every field across the globe... It is high time the state launched a vigorous image-building exercise," he said and added the agriculture road map could be of great help in this regard as it would not only strengthen the state's economy but also augment the food security of the country.

The first phase of Bihar's agriculture road map was launched in 2008 to bring rainbow revolution. It was followed by the launch of its second phase by the then President Pranab Mukherjee on October 3, 2012 in Patna. Funds to the tune of Rs 1.54 lakh crore have been allocated for the third phase.

Addressing the launch function at the newly built Samrat Ashoka Convention Centre, CM Nitish Kumar said twelve departments, including agriculture, animal husbandry and power, were involved in the implementation of the third phase of agriculture road map. "While emphasis has been put on organic farming, including development of organic corridors in the riverine areas and off national and state highways, a 1,500 MW power network would also be developed exclusively for the agriculture sector," he said.

Nitish said the state's green cover would be increased from 15% to 17% under the third phase of agriculture road map. "The state government is also at work to connect villages with a population of more than 100 people through the road network to provide access to wholesale markets," he said.

The CM talked about his vision of one Bihari cuisine in every Indian's plate, which was also mentioned by President Kovind in his address as he recalled having received 'thekua' sent by the Bihar State Milk Cooperative Federation to the Rashtrapati Bhavan on the occasion of Chhath.

Read more at: timesofindia

Build reliable farm data base

Reliable databases relating to agriculture needs to be built up if big data analytics bringing in a sea change in many sectors has to benefit small and marginal farmers, speakers at the A. P. AgriTech summit said.

Addressing a session on ‘Harnessing big data for small farmers’ on the second day of the summit on Thursday, CEO of Agrisk Data Analytics Ravishankar Mantha said, with the collection methods being archaic data bases on agriculture in many States of the country were not reliable.

He added that Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat were the exceptions. Unless there was reliable data to reach correct conclusions, the solutions that big data analytics offered could not be used, he said.

Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Cropin Technology Solutions Limited Kunal Prasad said the IT solutions were useful in speedy settlement of agricultural insurance claims.

Crop loss assessment

Mr. Prasad said he was of the view that big data analytics could help bring down the cost of the premiums. Big data analytics was particularly useful in assessing crop loss caused by natural calamities, he said.

Global Lead for Rural Livelihoods and Agricultural Jobs, World Bank, Parmesh Shah spoke of the challenges at the field level in making use of the data available.

Co-founder and Managing Partner of Dalberg Data Insights, Frederic Pivetta and COO of SatSure Analytics India Private Limited Prateep Basu spoke.

Read more at: thehindu

Call for better tech to reduce farm wastage

Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Thursday asked agriculture scientists to develop better post-harvest handling technologies to reduce wastage, and promised full support to Andhra Pradesh to emerge as world’s leading horticulture hub.

He was addressing the second day of the three-day AP AgTech Summit being organised here by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Government of Andhra Pradesh, and Dalberg, a strategy ad policy advisory body.

Describing Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu as a visionary for transforming Hyderabad as a prominent IT hub during his stint at the helm during the undivided Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Shekhawat said he had no doubt that Mr. Naidu, with focus on implementing various technologies in agriculture, would be responsible for making it highly profitable 25 years later.

He said that Andhra Pradesh ranked No. 1 in the country in production of seafood, mangoes, aquaculture, eggs, turmeric, chilli, and tomatoes. He said the Centre was keen to launch some pilot projects in the State going by its impressive track record in implementing several schemes. On the Prime Minister’s call for new India, Mr. Shekhawat said that Mr. Naidu was taking steps to redeem his dream to double the income of the farmers by 2022.

Exports

Stating that there was a need to increase exports, he said only 10% of agriculture produce was being sent abroad. India’s agriculture production was valued at ₹98,000 crore. “Due to non-availability of post-harvest management technologies, wastage is causing a huge loss,” he observed.

Mr. Shekhawat called upon the farmers to diversify from traditional paddy and wheat cultivation to other high-value crops by following an integrated approach.

Regretting that the average land holding of the farmers was just 0.8 hectare, to the exception of the most prosperous farming States such as Punjab and Haryana, he said it was imperative to introduce schemes to increase their income.

Focus on infra

In his address, Mr. Naidu said their focus was on improving pre and post harvest technologies, and develop infrastructure to ensure better price to farmers by building cold chains, godowns, road connectivity, and strengthening market linkages. He said, as the consumer preference was changing fast, they wanted the farmers to change their approach to market-driven cultivation for sustainability. “As the lifespan is increasing, the farmers should foray into fruit-bearing crops and cash crops. Organic farming and a few small farmers forming into a group on the lines of cooperative farming to make optimum utilisation of manpower and machinery are the needs of the day,” he emphasised.

Ministers S. Chandramohan Reddy, Adinarayan Reddy, and Ganta Srinivasa Rao, MPs K. Haribabu, Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao, C.M. Ramesh, and Konakalla Narayana were present.

Read more at: thehindu

Drones to be used for spraying pesticides

The State government is ready to bear the entire expenditure for using drones to spray pesticides to prevent the spread of plant diseases, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu told the Assembly here on Tuesday.

Intervening during a short discussion on agriculture and allied sectors, Mr. Naidu said small-scale spraying of pesticides using drones taking all the environmental safety precautions was being planned. This would be done under the Farmers’ One Stop Shop (FOSS) to be attached to the Rythu Seva Kendrams functioning in all the Assembly constituencies.

Drones would be used extensively in digital soil mapping using the know-how provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). The BMGF has already used the technology in South Africa, he said. Mr. Naidu said that it was the age of Agri Tech. As many as 259 innovative ideas were received for linking agriculture with technology at the Andhra Pradesh.

AgriTech Summit held in Visakhapatnam recently. Five of them were selected for implementation during rabi, he explained.

One of the company’s selected was Infinium Solutions which used technologies such as drones, Geographic Information System, Global Positioning System, remote sensing , RFID to provide solutions which were web based, real time, informative not only for agriculture, but for smart cities, urban planning, mining, infrastructure, governance, land administration, logistics and many other things.

Satsure Analytics India was offering unique risk management solutions that made use of multi-sensor data, such as drones, satellite and Artificial Intelligence, Mr. Naidu explained. The Chief Minister also told the legislators about Uberisation (is a transition to an economic system where agents exchange under-utilised capacity of existing assets or human resources (typically through a website or software platform), while incurring only low transaction costs.

This would be implemented for kharif harvest in the four delta districts (Krishna, Guntur, West Godavari and Prakasam) during November, December and January 2018, he explained.

Read more at: thehindu

Record production of foodgrains in Bihar: State agriculture department

Foodgrains production in Bihar reached a record high, both in terms of total produce and per hectare yield, in last financial year, the state agriculture department said on 17th Nov (Friday). "The total production of foodgrains in the state was 185.61 lakh tonnes in 2016-17, which is a record. The previous record was 178.29 lakh tonnes, achieved in the year 2012-13", Principal Secretary, Agriculture, Sudhir Kumar said.

"The per hectare yield for foodgrains was 27.77 last year which, too, is a record", Kumar added. The Principal Secretary, who was quoted in a release issued by the state agriculture department, also said "record production was also achieved in maize, which stood at 38.46 lakh tonnes with the per hectare yield being 53.35 quintals".

"The previous best figure for maize production was achieved in 2012-13 at 27.56 lakh tonnes. The per hectare yield then had stood at 39.75 quintals", Kumar said. "We are hopeful of attaining the objectives laid down in the Agriculture Road Map for 2017-22, wherein Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has hoped to have at least one dish from Bihar on every Indian's plate", he added.

The ambitious road map, with schemes worth Rs 1.54 lakh crore, was launched last week by President Ram Nath Kovind.

Read more at: moneycontrol

Quote

“In fact, because of their connection to the land, farmers do more to protect and preserve our environment than almost anyone else. They are some of the best environmentalists around.” – Ike Skelton


Wishing you all a Great Month ahead! - ISAP Team

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