Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Appreciate APEDA

Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) is authorized to take measures for registration and protection of IPR (Intellectual Property rights) in respect of special products in India and outside. Lok Sabha passed the APEDA amendment bill 2008 on 12/23/08 aims to provide for the protection of IPR of a new category of” special" agricultural products, including Basmati rice. The new legislation would empower APEDA to safeguard IPR of our other special products and safeguard interests of farmers and traders. In this era of globalization and open market, it is imperative that India takes proactive measures to safeguard and protect IPR of its products.
APEDA has to focus on Geographical Indication (GI) to protect our special products like Basmati rice, Ponni rice, Darjeeling Tea, Nilagiri Tea, Alfonso Mangos and so on. APEDA has to work with Pakistan for protecting Basmati GI status for common interests of the two countries against Biopiracy. More Details:APEDA

Monday, December 15, 2008

Farmers to be blessed by Nanotechnology

"Nanotechnology promises immense possibilities for agriculture," said Prof Dr Basavaraj Madhusudhan of Kuvempu University. Dr. Madhusudhan, while addressing the Bangalore Nano 2008 conference said “Nanotechnology has immense possibilities of growth for Indian agriculture.Nano sensors in plants can detect disease and can provide nano medication. Nanotechnology can reduce agricultural waste and thus pollution. Nano lamination can improve the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. These applications should reach farmers in India in five years.” More details:Bangalore Nano-2008-PIB News

Nano Technology: Nano is a Greek Word, It means one billionth of something. Nanotechnology is the manipulation or self-assembly of individual atoms, molecules, or molecular clusters into structures to create materials and products with new or vastly different properties.

Nano Technology for Agriculture: Agriculture is the backbone of most developing countries, with more than 60% of the population reliant on it for their livelihood. Nanotechnology can improve our understanding of the biology of different crops and thus potentially enhance yields or nutritional values. Nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionize the agriculture with new tools for the molecular treatment of diseases, rapid disease detection, enhancing the ability of plants to absorb nutrients etc. Smart sensors and smart delivery systems will help the agricultural industry combat viruses and other crop pathogens. By using data to determine soil conditions and plant development, seeding, fertilizer, chemical and water use can be fine-tuned to lower production costs and potentially increase production- all benefiting the farmer.
We should pass the existing technologies to the farmers, afterwards we can think about creative technologies. There is lot of gap between Know-how and Do-how in the farm level.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

IFPRI says "Don't Blame GM Crops"

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) conducted scientific study with evidence that Indian farmer’s suicides have not increased by the introduction of GM Crops. The new analysis suggests that if anything, suicides among farmers have been decreasing since the introduction of GM cotton by Monsanto in 2002. It also found that the adoption of pest-resistant BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) cotton varieties had led to massive increases in yield and a 40% decrease in pesticide use.
Although there were initially some catastrophic failures of BT cotton varieties for some farmers after their introduction the report said that conventional varieties did equally badly because of drought. By 2006, BT cotton covered 3.8m hectares or more than 39% of the total cotton area. Yields of the crop have nearly doubled since GM varieties were introduced and India is now the largest cotton producer in Asia and has overtaken the US to become the second largest in the world
The researchers analyzed the data from a variety of sources on suicide of the farmers and on the costs and yields from crops. The report identifies a lack of financial support for farmers as a key problem, absence of a safety net or any other insurance support, the ineffective irrigation systems, the presence of abusive banking systems, the wide availability of highly toxic pesticides, and the potential rewards for suicide likely all contributed to farmer suicides. This has nothing to do with the use of new technology.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Severe Fertilizers Shortage

India is facing severe fertilizers shortage problem which leads to downfall in agriculture output. Now food price inflation is high and decline in farm output would result in a further spike in food prices. A protests in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Punjab were resulted the death of farmers and injuries to several others.

The main types of fertilizers are three—Nitrogen, Potash and Phosphate and some complex fertilizers. In India, the government fixes the price at which fertilizers are sold; it also pays manufacturers the difference between price and their cost of manufacture plus a fair return. The fertilizer prices are up because most are made by energy-intensive processes, that the increase in production costs of fertilizers on account of soaring crude prices had begun to squeeze margins of domestic fertilizer firms and this would see the government’s subsidy burden touch an estimated Rs95,000 crore in 2008-09, 1.9% of India’s gross domestic product. The major public sector fertilizer company “Fertilizers & Chemicals Travancore Ltd” is also facing problems with spiraling price of inputs and working capital requirements.
The government should review the supply and demand of fertilizers in the States and the distribution shall be made through cooperative societies as well as private traders being made to ensure the smooth availability for kharif crops at the door step of farmers.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

corporate Farming

Corporate farming is a modern agriculture issue, and encompasses not only the farm itself, but also the entire chain of agriculture-related business, including seed supply, agrichemicals, food processing, machinery, storage, transport, distribution, marketing, advertising, and retail sales.
There are corporate in the field like Ballarpur Industries, JK Papers and Wimco in eucalyptus and poplar trees, Green Agro Pack, VST Natural Products, Global Green, Intergarden India, Kempscity Agro Exports and Sterling Agro in gherkins, United Breweries in barley, Nijjer Agro in tomato, Tarai Foods in vegetables, M Todd in mint, and Namdhari Seeds in seeds. There are also various government and semi-government agencies involved. Financial institutions and banks assisting contract farming.
Several State governments, in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, are actively promoting corporate farming, changing laws to enable and support it, and providing companies interested in it with a variety of incentives, including lifting of land ceilings, subsidies and tax rebates.

In my view, the problem is that the Indian farmer is still illiterate to understand clearly that contract farming. The corporate farmer should not treat as Contracted Employee rather than implementation partner. The farm land should be controlled by the independent farmer and input costs like farm machinery, crop insurance,fertilizers,irrigation,pesticides, fuel, and seeds should be born by the corporates.If necessary the government should be flexible on land ceiling for Corporates.Farm Production management contracts between corporate companies and farmers should be transparent and mutual benefited, that should cover crop selection, provision of inputs, production methods, sales channels, buyers and minimum guarantee price. I am impressed of farmer’s partner model by CALYPSO FOODS PRIVATE LIMITED .

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rice shortage- Foord grain crisis

The world's most basic commodity is Rice. Now the headlines are everywhere...Global Rice Shortage, the cost of rice has doubled in the past five weeks. This problem is due to rice shortages in Thailand Vietnam and other Southern Asian Countries. There were so many causes; previous calamity which damaged some of the rice fields, High prices on Insecticides, fertilizer, another cause is the inflation of US dollars and Bio-fuel crops.
The crisis has its roots in four interlinked trends. The first is the chronically low productivity of farmers in the poorest countries, caused by their inability to pay for seeds, fertilizers and irrigation. The second is the misguided policy in the U.S. and Europe of subsidizing the diversion of food crops to produce bio fuels like corn-based ethanol. The third is climate change; take the recent droughts in Australia and Europe, which cut the global production of grain. The fourth is the growing global demand for food and feed grains brought on by swelling populations and incomes.
Modern agriculture techniques are required to overcome rice crisis. Water is the key for rice production, the scientists shall try to create new breed of rice that require less water, and resist disease and insects, that have plentiful harvests. Farmers also think about new improved irrigation and storage methods.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Second largest cotton producing country

India is likely to grow genetically modified (GM) cotton on nearly 70 percent of its total cultivated area in the next 2-3 years, a global research body said on Feb, 18, 2008."In 2007, (Bacillus thuringiensis )Bt cotton area went up to 6.2 million hectares from 3.2 million hectares in2006,"Clive James, chairman of theInternational Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, told a news conference. The country, the world's second-biggest cotton producer, hopes to produce a record output of 31million bales (1 bale = 170 kg) in the crop year to September as farmers plant more transgenic seeds.Indian farmers, who grow cotton on an average 9.06 million hectares, produced 28 million bales last year.The study said that 3.8 million Indian farmers opted for Bt cotton in 2007 compared to 2.3 million in 2006.
"Rapid strides that India has made in cotton production since the country embraced BT cotton and the fact that it has overtaken the U.S. speak volumes about the technology," he said.According to ISAAA, an international NGO working for promotion of genetically modified (GM) crops, the global area under GM crops rose by 12 per cent at 114.3 million hectares in 2007 compared to 102 million hectare in the previous year.