Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

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Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby Rakesh » 24 Jan 2007 20:36


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Postby Sanjay M » 25 Jan 2007 10:07

A dangerous fungus which attacks wheat may be on its way out of Africa and heading towards SouthAsia:

http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070122/ ... 122-3.html

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Postby Kakkaji » 27 Jan 2007 09:16

Flattened by nature’s fury, Kutch has changed for the better

BHUJ, JANUARY 26 : Six years after it was razed to debris, Kutch is back. And it is not only an industrial rebound that India’s second largest district is witnessing, in a mark of nature bestowing regeneration, Kutch’s date palm economy is also back in business with a bang. As the only region in India that produces date palm on commercial scale, Mundra taluka has increased its income from the dry fruit from a mere Rs 28 lakh before the quake to near Rs 2.5 crore. This economy had been ravaged first by the June 1998 cyclone and then January 2001 quake.

Pushed by an experiment of the Krishi Vikas Kendra (KVK), farmers in the region are now fetching Rs 20-40 per kilogram against the Rs 3-4 they got earlier.

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Postby shaardula » 29 Jan 2007 06:37

Missing the wood for the trees
By K P Prabhakaran Nair

If farmers have nothing great to show on yields, it might be better to trim them substantially.



[quote]All of a sudden, there is a great debate and agitation going on in the country on the question of setting up industry by private enterprise acquiring land, sometimes fertile and from farmers, who have been tilling it for generations, under the overall umbrella of Special Economic Zones (SEZ). Nowhere else has the agitation gripped the attention of the entire nation as pointedly as it did in Singur, in West Bengal, on the acquisition of about 1,000 acres to set up the “small carâ€

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Postby shyamd » 29 Jan 2007 16:36

Suicide zone cottons on to contract farming
[quote]Makarand Gadgil / Yavatmal January 29, 2007
Ganesh Jadhav, a farmer from Wadgaon-Tanda in Yavatmal in Vidarbha district, now infamous for suicides by indebted farmers, tills 3 acres of rain-fed land. He has escaped the horrors of the local moneylender because this year, he turned to contract farming.

Thanks to a good castor crop that he sold to Gujarat-based Jayant Oil Mills, which accounts for 38 per cent of the world’s castor oil production, he has already seen a more than 60 per cent jump in his annual income to Rs 25,000.

Now sowing tur (a pulse) and soyabean, Jadhav’s annual income will increase once he sells these remunerative inter-crops and markets the seeds from his first castor crop. “Had I stuck to cotton, I would have barely earned Rs 15,000 in the whole year,â€

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Postby Kakkaji » 29 Jan 2007 21:40

'India can use 60 mn hectares of wasteland for jatropha'

New Delhi, Jan. 29 (PTI): Government today said there is 60 million hectares of wasteland in the country that could be used for jatropha cultivation for achieving the target of 5 per cent blending.

"We have 60 million hectares of wasteland, which could be tapped effectively for plantation of oil seed bearing trees," Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said in a statement that was read out in his absentia during a two-day 'Biodiesel Summit' here.

India plans to replace around five per cent of its current 40 million tons of annual diesel consumption with jatropha biodiesel within about five years.

Government has initiated a National Mission on Biodiesel and also declared the biodiesel purchase policy in 2005.

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Postby Kakkaji » 31 Jan 2007 03:17

From dailypioneer.com. Posting in full as the URL is not archived:

Garam masala sizzles hole in family budget

The curry in the Indian middle-class homes is all set to lose tinge. If the mandi rates (now christened as Forwards Markets) are any indicator, the ubiquitous mirchi (chilli) and Garam masala will be burning huge holes in the middle-class pockets. Pepper and cardamom, the two most important ingredients of Garam masala, without which no Indian curry is complete, are getting hotter by day, thanks to their listing with Forwards Markets Commission (FMC).

The June 29, 2006 resolution of the Congress Working Committee and the concern of the Finance Minister expressed last week at spiralling prices notwithstanding, speculators are having a hay day with FMC's control proving ineffective. Pepper, kali mirch to the Indians, opened last week at Rs 117 per kg and closed at Rs 124 per kg. Market sources said that speculative buying of the round black spice has peaked following reports that supply from Indo-China would be delayed till March, which would increase the export demand of Indian crop. According to Spice Board figures, over 20,000 tonnes of Indian pepper was exported between April and December last year.

The other major ingredient of Garam masala - cardamom - too has attached propellers to its price. Pegged at Rs 293 per kg in the auction markets of Kerala, the largest producer of cardamom, the veritable Indian spice is fast moving towards crossing the Rs 400 mark. Ever since Kerala mandis opened after the Pongal holidays, aggressive buying and low arrivals have set prices spiralling. According to market sources, delayed monsoon has caused delayed arrival of crop giving rise to speculation.

If Garam masala getting hot was not enough, buying chilli is going to prove hotter with the onset of summer. According to futures market sources, with export orders pouring in, chilli, which is a must in every Indian home cutting across caste, region and religion, has been pegged at Rs 4,500 per quintal for March delivery.

With inflation rate going above 6.12 per cent earlier this month, compared with 3.6 per cent for the same period last year, warning bells are ringing loudly for the consumers. According to market sources, the reason for rise in inflation rate primarily was due to sharp increase in prices of consumer goods like tea, vegetables, fruit, maize, arhar, wheat and various seeds. With agriculture growth stagnated below four per cent, the prices of eatables are unlikely to improve in the near future.

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Postby Katare » 31 Jan 2007 10:15

Forward markets and modernization of agriculture trading is great for farmers.....

As per my investigation and anecdotal evidences, Farmer are a happy lot in MP, they never had this good before. They are getting market rate for produce which are good 40 to 100% higher than what they were getting just couple of years back. Also almost all of the dalal/brokers are out of business, farmers sell directly to MNCs on advance payments.

On top of that sugar cane has become widely popular, it yields them twice as much per acre and needs to be planted only once every three years. Although it needs more water per acre but again the land that is blessed with mighty narmada and dense forest of satpura has no dearth of water.

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Postby shyamd » 31 Jan 2007 18:55

Aiding India's Agri sector with weather risk management tools
Asia Pulse - 31/01/2007


(MENAFN - Asia Pulse) Recognizing the importance of weather and its influence on India's agricultural sector, the Weather Risk Management Association (WRMA) is holding a seminar on February 26, 2007 at the Hilton Towers in Mumbai.

The meeting will focus on how weather risk management tools can be used to mitigate risk in India's agricultural sector, which accounts for more than 25 percent of the country's gross domestic product.
Weather risk management tools include weather futures, derivatives and insurance.

"India is an important emerging market for weather risk management tools," says Valerie Cooper, executive director of WRMA.
Many of India's top experts on risk, weather and agriculture will be addressing the meeting, including Professor K. Krishna Kumar of the Indian Institute for Tropical Meteorology; Rupalee Ruchismita of the Centre for Insurance and Risk Management; and Satish Chandra, joint secretary (credit and cooperation) of the Indian Department of Agriculture and Cooperation.

Sessions include the current status of the Indian weather risk market, the demand for weather risk transfer and how to provide it, the regulatory framework for the weather risk market in India, and Indian weather data analytics.

"The Association is pleased to be working with the Indian financial community and the government to provide this seminar," says Gearoid Lane, president of WRMA.

"The Mumbai meeting will help foster global growth for the weather market and will provide information on how India's agricultural sector can counter the impact of the region's weather," he says.

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Postby shyamd » 21 Feb 2007 16:56

Failure in irrigation
Business Standard / New Delhi February 21, 2007
Farmer suicides and distress in the countryside have taken on the dimensions of a national scandal. What farmers need most of all is assured water for irrigating their crops; indeed, many suicides by farmers have been traced to the disastrous drilling of bore wells that turn out to be dry or to crop failure because the rains did not come. That is why the rapid expansion of irrigation was made one of the six components of the ambitious Bharat Nirman project. So it is a tragedy that the objective has been lost sight of when it comes to budgets and programme execution. The harsh fact today is that there is no noticeable increase in the pace of irrigation development. Even the accelerated irrigation benefit programme, launched over a decade ago with the well-conceived idea of focusing resources on easy-to-complete projects, seems to have failed to deliver results. Despite all the ambitious planning, no more than 1.4 million hectares of additional irrigation potential is reported to have been created in the 10th five-year Plan, due to end next month. If this is indeed the case, it shows a sharp drop in the speed with which new irrigation potential is being created. For more than half a century, the country has added close to a million hectares of irrigation potential annually. Compared to that, the 10th Plan’s record is dismal.

It is easy to forecast now that the Bharat Nirman programme’s ambitious goal of extending irrigation to 10 million additional hectares by 2008-09, is not going to be met. Indeed, the evidence now available suggests that the large sums of money being annually pumped into the accelerated programme are probably not being well utilised. All of this translates into wasted agricultural potential and a low-income trap for farmers who cannot get assured water. The net result is that a sizable part of the country’s total irrigation potential—reckoned at 139.9 million hectares, against the earlier assessment of 113 million hectares—will continue to lie unexploited for a long time to come.

One reason for the problem is that irrigation is on the state list of the Constitution, and most states are unable to raise the resources required to be invested in irrigation. Work under even the accelerated irrigation programme has got stuck because of the states’ failure to put in their share of resources—usually a half to a third of the Centre’s allocation. But there are other issues as well. The populist approach towards water and power charges has converted irrigation works from generators of revenue (as they were in pre-Independence days) to a financial burden. This has affected not only the maintenance and operation of irrigation projects but also command area development work so as to make use of the irrigation capacity that has been created. The result is water-logging and soil salinity, which makes irrigation a curse rather than a life-saver. What the country needs urgently are major water sector reforms, including the setting of realistic user charges and creation of water users’ bodies for maintaining and operating irrigation works. It is only when irrigation is made a commercially viable sector that the states will be prompted to invest in the expansion of irrigation.

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Postby Kakkaji » 25 Feb 2007 09:58

from dailypioneer.com. Posting in full as the URL is not archived:

Pawar advises farmers to augment family income

Farmers should encourage family members to pursue a vocation other than farming to augment family income. This was the advice given by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar to a group of farmer here on Saturday.

Inaugurating the Krishi Vigyan Mela organised by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute(IARI) here, he suggested that farmers with two or more children should encourage one of them to pursue a vocation other than farming and said India would have to shift manpower from agriculture for the sake of growth as has happened in Europe and America.

He said one of the reasons for low foodgrains yield was the dependence of the entire family on agriculture and land holdings were getting fragmented.

About 80 per cent of farmers in India have less than two-and-a-half acres of cultivable land, the Minister said.

He added that "it is also one of the reasons for the country's problems like unemployment, poverty and backwardness."

Expressing concern over the declining soil productivity and receding groundwater level, Pawar advised the farmers to use traditional fertilisers like cow dung to increase soil productivity while maintaining the yield level.

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Postby Kakkaji » 13 Mar 2007 21:22

Punjab farmers keen on operating dairy farming

Ludhiana, March 13. (PTI): Farmers in Punjab no longer see dairy farming as a part-time venture and instead have taken it up as a full-fledged profession.

"Farmers in the State are now quite keen on running a dairy farm on large-scale, which helps in cutting the cost of milk production considerably and helps in getting remunerative rates," Progressive Dairy Farmers Association president Daljeet Singh said here.

Banks also do not hesitate in providing finance to fund such projects, he said.

Traditionally, Punjab farmers used to have just 10 to 20 cattle per farm. "But now farmers have started owning dairy farms with 100 to 200 cattle for producing milk in bulk," he said.

Singh expected that in next three years, a single dairy farm would boast of 400 too 500 cattle. Banks have also started showing interest in lending money for big dairy farming projects.

The Association has also decided to encourage farmers for having cattle of pure breeds such as Holstein-Freisian (HF) in order to push up milk production per animal.

"About 80 per cent cattle including cows and buffaloes are a cross breed, which yield just 20 to 25 kg of milk per animal. The milk yield could not be raised until breed of milk animals is improved," he said.

Punjab has about 19 lakh milk cattle with an annual milk production of 8.9 million tonne.

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Postby Kakkaji » 22 Mar 2007 20:23


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Postby SBajwa » 27 Mar 2007 20:33

India second largest cotton producer
K S Chawla

Ludhiana, March 26
India has emerged as the second largest producer of cotton in the world after China this year with 11 per cent increase in the production over the production of the last year.

Cotton production of India during the current year is estimated at 4.6 million tonnes whereas the Chinese cotton production is estimated at 6.73 million tonnes. India has beaten USA which was holding the second position in cotton production in the world. The cotton production of USA is estimated at less than 4.50 million tonnes.

India is now also the second largest nation in the consumption of cotton in the world with 4.1 million tonnes whereas China holds first position with 10.50 million tonnes of cotton consumption.

According to the sources close to the textile industry, total cotton production in the country's likely to cross 270 lakh bales this year with Gujarat leading the other states.

Cotton production in Gujarat is estimated at 95 lakh bales while Maharashtra 53 lakh bales. Punjab has recorded the highest cotton production this year to the tune of 26 lakh bales which was equal to 1992-93 production.

...
...
...


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2007/200703 ... ab1.htm#13

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Postby Kakkaji » 27 Mar 2007 21:18

SBajwa wrote:India second largest cotton producer
K S Chawla

Ludhiana, March 26
India has emerged as the second largest producer of cotton in the world after China this year with 11 per cent increase in the production over the production of the last year.

Cotton production of India during the current year is estimated at 4.6 million tonnes whereas the Chinese cotton production is estimated at 6.73 million tonnes. India has beaten USA which was holding the second position in cotton production in the world. The cotton production of USA is estimated at less than 4.50 million tonnes.


Remember how much ruckus Vandana Shiva and gang had caused delaying approval for BT cotton? :x Within a couple of years of planting of BT cotton, the production has shot up.

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Postby Kakkaji » 27 Mar 2007 21:21

GM trials would continue after settlement of case in SC

Coimbatore, March 27 (PTI): Trails of genetically modified (GM) food or non-food crops would be carried out only after settlement of a case pending before Supreme Court, a senior official with Department of Biotechnology (DoB) said today.

Though the Department had decided to release GM brinjal, followed by cauliflower and cabbage, the apex court has stayed fresh trials by its order in October last year and the case would come up for next hearing on April 16, K K Tripathi, Advisor, DoB, told reporters here.

Almost all trials, including toxicity, have been carried out with the regard to brinjal and only environmental safety and agro-climatic condition trials have to be conducted.

The department would release GM crops, after carrying all the safety trials, he said.

Similarly, research and trials were going on in many food and non-food crops in "greenhouse", Tripathi said, adding that the department has carried out trials in rice and started in maize for weed and stem-borer resistance.

Tripathi, here to participate in a 'Consultation on Safety Assessment of GM Food Crops', said there was no cause for apprehension for farmers to adopt BT seeds, which in real terms, were beneficial income wise.

However, "certain vested interests" were driving away innocent farmers from utilising the technology to increase production :x , Tripathi said.

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Postby Kakkaji » 27 Mar 2007 21:27

'Govt may import 30 lakh tonnes of wheat if needed'

Pune, March 27 (PTI): In order to feed public distribution system and other social welfare measures, the government today said it could import about 30 lakh tonnes of wheat this year, if needed, while pegging production of the foodgrain at around 72 million tonnes.

"The wheat crop this year is expected to be good with the yield expected around 72 million tonne", Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar told reporters here.

The Government would not be exporting wheat, he said, adding that the government could import good quality wheat to the tune of 30 lakh tonnes, if required.

Meanwhile, the government has expressed the confidence that it would be able to meet its procuremnet target of 151 lakh tonnes in the current marketing Rabi season.

The government was able to procure only 92.26 lakh tonnes last year against the targetted 162.07 lakh tonnes, which forced it to import wheat after a gap of six years. It has imported 55 lakh tonnes of wheat to meet its requirement for PDS and other welfare schemes.

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Postby Suraj » 28 Mar 2007 01:13

Unlikely to work
The launch of a weather-linked insurance scheme for coffee plantations, by the Agriculture Insurance Corporation of India (AIC), marks yet another experiment in covering the risks inherent to agriculture. Beginning with the losses-based insurance scheme for individual farmers in 1972, at least half a dozen insurance approaches have been tried, without success. The fate of the currently operative National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS), by far the most comprehensive as also the world’s largest in terms of coverage of farmers, has been no different. If there were any doubts about its success or failure, these have been put to rest by the finance minister, who said in his Budget speech a month ago that it would be continued in its present form for just one more year, till a new weather-based crop insurance is tried out on a pilot basis in two or three states, as an alternative.

The failure of all these schemes over 35 years was inevitable, as none of them was operated on an actuarial basis and with the intention of making them financially viable without large subsidies. And since the subsidies have had to be shared by the Centre and the states, it made them all the more vulnerable to fiscal instability. Besides, they suffered from administrative lapses, political interference, high transaction costs, want of a reliable database and flawed modelling of insurance instruments. As such, their utility to farmers, too, was limited.

What is difficult to understand is why lessons have not been learnt from this substantial experience with failed schemes. After all, failures are supposed to teach you more than successes. Yet, some of the mistakes of the past seem set to be repeated in the proposed weather-based insurance scheme, which, in theory, is more practical to implement and has low administrative and transaction costs. It is important to bear in mind, for instance, that the weather is just one of the factors that determine crop yield. The very real hazards stemming from a host of other factors would, thus, remain uncovered, thus limiting the utility of weather-linked insurance for farmers. Secondly, though the AIC asserts that it has the relevant historical rainfall data for the past 30 years, across 43 different coffee zones, that is unlikely to be true for other plantations and even less so for field and horticultural crops which are equally, if not more, vulnerable to weather-related hazards. Moreover, the weather has a much broader meaning than just rainfall and encompasses many phenomena, including some highly localised ones for which historical data may be insufficient.

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Postby shyamd » 28 Mar 2007 21:18

Now farmers will earn more
Banana farmer R. Jayaraj of Chennampatti in Bhavani taluk has depended on middlemen to sell his produce of kathali fruits. The variety has a market in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Bangalore and Mumbai, where it fetches a good price. But middlemen have been eating into his profits. Soon things will change and Mr. Jayaraj will have most of the profit for himself, as he will sell directly to buyers.

"Until now, middlemen gave me Rs. 8 a kg, after procuring right at my farm. Now I expect to earn between Rs. 9 and Rs. 9.50," he says.

If the district administration's efforts click, hundreds of farmers like him will earn more: banana growers in and around Gobichettipalayam, drumstick growers in Mulanoor, tomato farmers in Dharapuram, and potato growers in Erode district.

They will come together to form a Safal Growers' Association, through which they will send their produce to Safal, Bangalore. Safal (short for sabji and fal in Hindi, meaning vegetable and fruit respectively) is a unit of Mother Dairy Foods Processing Unit , a subsidiary of the National Dairy Development Board.

Farmers from all over the country get their produce auctioned through Safal. A systematic and transparent process ensures that farmers get the maximum price from buyers across the country. If a good price is not on offer, the seller can opt to use Safal's cold storage facility and sell it on a day the price is good.

Collector T. Udayachandran, who is mooting the formation of the growers' association, says that by selling at Safal farmers here would get a good price. Buyers from all big markets will be present there to offer them the best price, he adds.

At Safal farmers also have the option to choose the date and time of a sale, unlike in a traditional market where they surrender to the middlemen's price.

Mr. Udayachandran said Safal will cut a link in the supply chain — which is healthy from the farmer-sellers' point of view. He said associations would be formed in a few days. And selling will not be confined to Safal. "We are looking at places where farmers will get a better market, and Safal is one of them."

V. Sivaprakasam, Executive Engineer, Agriculture Department, who along with a few farmers was recently in Safal, said it would help farmers in Erode, especially those who cultivate banana, potato, drumstick and onion.

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Postby Suraj » 01 Apr 2007 09:08

The oncoming wheat crisis
The immediate issue is coping with shortages in the coming two months and the consequent price rise. Today, thanks to the communication revolution, farmers and traders are well informed from hour to hour on prices in important mandis and can form their own judgements on the basis of the available data on production and buffer stocks. A study made by this writer while working in the RBI showed that the proportion of total market arrivals in the early days after harvest showed a declining trend over the years since the 1970s. This is because the average wheat farmer in Punjab and Haryana, the two states contributing to the bulk of wheat procurement, has the economic clout to hold the produce for a better market either with his own funds or borrowings from institutional agencies, which carry much lower rates of interest than those from moneylenders. Big farmers are traders too.

Some state governments have already put in place stocking norms for traders but they need to be augmented by the administration by undertaking rigorous inspections to check on compliance in order to bring out the hoarded stocks and increase supplies. The RBI needs to revive credit control on wheat advances under the Banking Regulation Act so that bank funds are not available for violating the government order. The control may be simple and may operate on the basis of a stiff minimum margin only, without invoking the level of credit and minimum interest rate stipulations of the past. Incidentally, the action will have a favourable cosmetic spin-off assuring the public that the central bank continues to do something about inflation.

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Postby Rahul Mehta » 01 Apr 2007 10:03

shyamd wrote:Now farmers will earn more
Banana farmer R. Jayaraj of Chennampatti in Bhavani taluk has depended on middlemen to sell his produce of kathali fruits. The variety has a market in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Bangalore and Mumbai, where it fetches a good price. But middlemen have been eating into his profits. Soon things will change and Mr. Jayaraj will have most of the profit for himself, as he will sell directly to buyers.


Good news. But not so good. The farmers are only NOMINALLY earning more. The rupee has depreciated to a considerable extent due to doubling of M3 in past 4-5 years. Lets see how much REAL income increases.

Suraj wrote:The oncoming wheat crisis
The immediate issue is coping with shortages in the coming two months and the consequent price rise.


Kakkaji wrote:'Govt may import 30 lakh tonnes of wheat if needed'

Pune, March 27 (PTI): In order to feed public distribution system and other social welfare measures, the government today said it could import about 30 lakh tonnes of wheat this year, if needed, while pegging production of the foodgrain at around 72 million tonnes.


IMF/MMS plan to ruin our food security finally succeeds. Shame on us.

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Postby Kakkaji » 04 Apr 2007 02:22

From dailypioneer.com. Another agricultural crisis is looming:

Fertiliser crisis to affect pulses, other crops

Yoga Rangatia | New Delhi

Even as the Government is urging farmers to grow more food, especially pulses, in the upcoming kharif season, a fertiliser crisis is staring at their face. Fertiliser is simply not moving from the factory to farm, because payments to the tune of Rs 15,000 crore is due to fertiliser companies.

At the Kharif Campaign 2007 on Tuesday, States pressed the panic button on fertiliser shortage. Major agrarian States like Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh told Agriculture Secretary PK Mishra that the target for more food production cannot be met without providing fertiliser to the farmers in time.

"I will look into the issue," was the only response that could be elicited from Mishra.

Major crops that could be affected by the shortage are pulses, kharif wheat, maize and coarse cereals.

Although Fertiliser Secretary JS Sama assured that fertiliser quota for States will be met, officials in the Ministry conceded a payment crisis was at hand. As against expected requirement of Rs 48,000 crore to meet the subsidy for 2007-08, the Union Budget has allocated only Rs 22,000 crore.

Fertilisers Minister Ram Vilas Paswan is understood to have sent several representations to Finance Minister P Chidambaram to bail them out of the payment crisis.

"The companies have complained about non-payment of subsidy in time. We do not have enough money to pay them. We have taken up the matter with the Finance Ministry," admitted Fertilisers Ministry official.

The Centre has also not finalised the plan for urea import. Since Government controls sale of urea, it has to invoke the Essential Commodities Act for sale of half of urea distribution. "There have been some delays. It is a routine matter and expected to be finalised soon," the official said. But fertiliser companies have withheld even rest of the decontrolled stock pending finalisation of the Centre's order.

"Fertiliser companies have been telling farmers that the commodity will not be available. There is panic among farmers based on the rumours. The Centre should urgently clear the air over the issue," said Madhya Pradesh Principal Secretary Pravesh Sharma.

He was joined by his counterparts from Punjab and Haryana that rumours of shortage is leading to hoarding by the traders and farmers are being overcharged. The shortage is also leading to delay in sowing which in turn is leading to yield loss for farmers.

Until last season, the Agriculture Ministry contended that the problem of fertiliser was one of distribution by State Governments. This could be true of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. But the issue looks serious when even States like Punjab and Haryana have raised the alarm, where distribution network is much better.

The Fertiliser Secretary maintained that stocks of 20 lakh tonnes of urea, 11 lakh tonnes of DAP and 14 lakh tonnes MoP are available for the kharif season, in addition to indigenous production. This should be sufficient to meet the requirement of the kharif season.

He has asked States to prepare district and month-wise plans and follow them rigorously so that no localised shortages occur in any part of the country. The Centre will ensure that three-quarters of the requirement for any month will be available at the beginning of the month and the rest by 15th of the month. The Ministry has launched an online tracking system for fertiliser movement.

Despite assurances, it is apparent that the farmer is caught in the cross-fire between the Centre and the fertiliser companies.

Panic among farmers

Fertilisers not moving from factories to farm

Payments to the tune of Rs 15,000 cr held up

Target for more food production may not be met

Pulses, kharif, wheat crops to get a hit

Companies complain about non-payment of subsidy amount in time

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Postby Kakkaji » 04 Apr 2007 06:27

Livestock & horticulture growth engines, not rice & wheat: Centre

NEW DELHI, April 3: With a 4 per cent growth target set for agriculture in the approach paper to the Eleventh Plan, the Government has come to terms with the limited potential of growth in foodgrains contributing to this targeted growth. In the roadmap to the next kharif season, the Ministry of Agriculture has set its eyes on horticulture and animal husbandry to attain this target.

According to the simulated projections, only two of the 20 states, Gujarat and Kerala, are expected to achieve a projected growth of more than 3 percent in their crop production. This is despite the additional 2 million hectares in oilseeds and pulses that is envisaged for the next year. Rest of the 18 states are projected to grow at 2-3 percent in crop productions during the first year of the Eleventh Plan. The government is sticking to a conservative 2.3% for foodgrains for the entire Plan period.

However, keeping in view the targeted growth of 4.1 percent in the first year, the Agriculture Ministry is expecting a projection of 12 states to clock a growth of 6 percent in livestock activities, while the remaining eight states are required to register a growth at the rate of flat 5 percent in their horticulture sector activities.

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Postby shyamd » 30 Apr 2007 22:57

5,000 hectares to be brought under drip irrigation in Erode this year

Staff Reporter

Many horticultural crops can be cultivated under the system

# Subsidy for farmers to be credited to their bank accounts
# Zonal seminars on the system to be conducted in district

ERODE: During the current year, 5,000 hectares of land would be brought under drip irrigation in Erode district, for which farmers should extend their cooperation, said the District Collector T. Udhaychandran on Friday.

Speaking at the agriculturists' grievances day meeting organised at the collectorate, he said that in Erode district, the Government had selected 22 reputed companies.

Equipment

Farmers could select any one of these and purchase drip irrigation equipment that they considered suitable for the needs of their farms, when taking up the system.

The subsidy for the farmers would be credited to their bank accounts.

Already, the Horticulture Mission had conducted a meeting on the drip irrigation system, so that the methods of setting up and operating the system, and deriving benefits from it were clear to the participants.

Many horticultural crops could be cultivated under the system, which was a great boon to areas where there was insufficient water, or where the farmer desired to make optimum use of available water resources.

He said quality of water would be given importance and observed that zonal seminars on the importance of drip irrigation would be conducted in the district.

The Collector said already for the past four years, the drip system of irrigation had been followed in Erode district.

He wanted more farmers to involve themselves in the system, and added that they would receive all the help they required.

Problems

The president of the Mettur West Bank Canal Farmers Association R. Mohan said that some farmers were facing problems in getting quality drip machines.

Mr. Mohan said that though the Electricity Minister had announced about the surplus electricity power position in Tamil Nadu, rural areas were still experiencing power shut downs and frequent power cuts.

This was due to the improper distribution system he alleged, and urged the collector to intervene and help streamline distribution.

The secretary of the Tamilnaga Vivasayeegal Sangam S. Periyasamy wanted the collector to allocate sufficient sites for the Regulated Marketing Committee, Erode and Gobi Cooperative Sales Societies in the proposed Turmeric Complex at Semmampalayam near Nasiyanure.

Some farmers levelled allegation against the sugar mill at Appakudal, saying it was patronising unregistered canes.

But the representatives from the sugar mill denied the charges.

Encroachments

Some farmers complained about the growing encroachments on the both sides of the various ayacut canals and wanted the Public Works Department to evict the encroachers.

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Postby SBajwa » 03 May 2007 21:50


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Postby Kakkaji » 03 May 2007 22:05

SBajwa wrote:Punjabi vegetables for Britain.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2007/20070502/aplus1.htm#3


Cool.

Once again Punjab leads the way.

IIRC Sunil Mittal of Bharti led the charge in exporting veggies from Punjab. They suffered initial losses due to lack of infrastructure, but it appears that with the help from Punjab Govt., the infrastructural facilities have now been established.

Amritsar should become a full-fledged international airport catering to passenger and cargo traffic from Punjab. It will be convenient, and will help take some pressure off Delhi.

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Postby shyamd » 10 May 2007 22:22

Action plan gives priority to drip irrigation systems

Staff Reporter --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It will help conserve water resources in Erode region
Sprinkler irrigation to be introduced for some crops
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


ERODE: The Horticulture Department in Erode district has prepared an action plan for the year 2007-2008 and it has given importance to the drip irrigation system, Erode District Collector T. Udhaychandran said here on Tuesday.

He told presspersons that the department had sought Rs 21.53 crore from the National Horticulture Mission for the implementation of drip irrigation system for various crops, including sugarcane in Erode district.

He said that because of the introduction of drip system, water would be conserved.

Introduction


It was decided to introduce the system over 5,000 hectares of sugarcane this year.

In addition to this, sprinkler irrigation would also be undertaken for some crops.

The Collector said that there was lot of potential for the use of drip system and so the National Horticulture Mission was asked to grant sufficient funds for the district for this purpose.

Mr. Udhaychandran said in Erode district both agriculture and industry were functioning efficiently, so special care had been bestowed in the Annual Action Plan upon the two sectors. Further, innovative farmers were following modern methods of agriculture.

Consequently, the district administration was taking steps for marketing the products.

He said recently some farmers have sent 40 tonnes of `Kadali' variety plantain to Karnataka and made good profit.

The collector said that till May this year, the district has experienced only 48.2 mm of rainfall as against the usual average rainfall of 187.8 mm of rainfall.

Rainfall


But he said they are expecting good rainfall during the summer, as indications are seen now.

He said there was rainfall in Bhavani, Perundurai and Vijayamangalam area two days back.

The collector said there had been no irrigation problem because of poor rainfall till May, as no rainfed crops had been raised now.

But he admitted that the ground water level in many places had decreased.

He said farmers had been asked to patronise organic farming, for which all efforts had been taken by the district administration. In uzhavar shandies, a separate enclosure would be given for the vegetables and fruits produced using organic manure.

Hill areas


The lands in hill areas were suitable for organic farming and so all steps had been taken to encourage farmers of hill areas to use the organic farming method.

The collector said all steps would be taken for construction of rural godowns for farmers, so that they could preserve their products there safely and protect them from pests and adverse weather conditions.

In case of any fall in price, the farmers could keep the stock in rural godowns.

When rates picked up, they could sell the product.

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Postby Kakkaji » 12 May 2007 20:37

Thoughtful story:

India's Grapes of Wrath

This is not just Kommalu's story. It is a theme across the many suicide cases in this study: Indian farm sizes get smaller as joint families divide; the farmer attempts to get scale by leasing out land at high rates; a steadily depleting water table, a switch to single-crop cash crop from the mixed-crop farming of the past; the unpredictable and ever decreasing price of cash crops; ever increasing costs of seeds and fertilisers; increasing expenditure on weddings, education and health.

The American version of Kommalu's story is the basis of John Steinbeck's 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath, the story of the Joad family whose farm is foreclosed by bankers in drought-ridden Oklahoma. We follow them as they struggle their way in their jalopy piled high with mattresses and pots and pans, through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona and cross the Mojave Desert to get to the land of their dreams, California. They work as fruit pickers (or landless labourers, as we call them here in India).

Steinbeck's villains too are the financiers, the "Bank of the West" (a thinly veiled reference to Bank of America), which helps land barons gobble up small farms to concentrate them into a few large holdings. Just as we blame the banks, "the village moneylenders," for not lending enough to the farmer in trouble.

An unpaid loan is often a sign that the borrower's business just isn't making enough money. Making more credit available, while a kind-hearted gesture, does not solve that problem.

When the large retail chains get going, it's going to be a boon for farmers, but probably only farmers with hundreds of acres may be able to match the prices, quality and consistency needed.

The Joad family odyssey ends in California in the Santa Clara Valley, which in the 1930s was full of fruit farms. Today it is the home of Intel, Apple, Yahoo!, Google.

Is the moral of the Kommalu and the Joads stories this: the faster we make the transition from farm to industry, the shorter the pain?

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Postby Kakkaji » 17 May 2007 19:22

SC refuses to stay wheat import; Govt hopes to buy 100-lakh tonnes

New Delhi, May. 17 (PTI): The Supreme Court today refused to stay the government's decision to import ten lakh tons of wheat by August this year even as the Centre admitted domestic procurement of the grain will fall much short of the target.

Meanwhile, the Centre in an affidavit filed in the court said procurement is likely to be around 100 lakh tonnes as against the estimated requirement of 150 lakh tonnes for public distribution system and other welfare schemes.

Government agencies such as Food Corporation of India have so far bought 96.7 lakh tonnes of the commodity as on May 16. The State Trading Corporation has already floated tenders for import of ten lakh tonnes of wheat by August 15.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had earlier said the government could import between 40-50 lakh tonnes of wheat to bridge the shortfall. India, the world's second-largest wheat producer, had imported 55 lakh tonnes of the grain last year.

The affidavit, filed through Solicitor General G E Vahanvati, also said the decision to import wheat in 2007-08 was taken to meet the needs of the public distribution system.

"If such a step was not taken, the poorer sectors would be put to great hardship," the affidavit said.

It also noted that private companies have so far procured 5.16 lakh tonnes of wheat.

Shiva had sought quashing of the government's decision to import wheat on the ground there was no need for imports as 53,000 tonnes of wheat was still lying unutilised at ports.


Was it Raju that posted that the crisis in wheat procurement is because the private companies have procured most of the crop? The above figures indicate that the private cos. procurement is minuscule compared to the projected shortfall in procurement for the PDS.

The reason for the shortfall is that wheat production has not kept pace with the growth in population. The current production level of 73 million tonnes was achieved in the 90's. There has been no growth in production in the last 10 years. India is heading for a crisis in food security for the poor. :(

Raju

Postby Raju » 17 May 2007 19:51

Kakkaji wrote:Was it Raju that posted that the crisis in wheat procurement is because the private companies have procured most of the crop? :(


I have made no claims on Wheat. Just on fruits and vegetables. :)

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Postby Kakkaji » 17 May 2007 20:44

Raju wrote:
Kakkaji wrote:Was it Raju that posted that the crisis in wheat procurement is because the private companies have procured most of the crop? :(


I have made no claims on Wheat. Just on fruits and vegetables. :)


OK, sorry. :oops:

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Postby Katare » 18 May 2007 09:14

Fallout of SC ruling: 49 new GM cotton strains cleared

Between 2002 and 2006, the country's cotton output has shot up from 86.24 lakh bales to 210.37 lakh bales, coinciding with the introduction of transgenics.
:eek:

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Postby Vick » 18 May 2007 09:17

Katare wrote:Fallout of SC ruling: 49 new GM cotton strains cleared

Between 2002 and 2006, the country's cotton output has shot up from 86.24 lakh bales to 210.37 lakh bales, coinciding with the introduction of transgenics.
:eek:

Why were people against GM cotton and other GM crops?

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Postby Hitesh » 18 May 2007 13:05

Because they were afraid of falling prey to intellectual property rights claims and may have to pay royalties for growing GM crops. Also GM crops do not produce seeds which allow farmers to create their own seed supply producing savings. Then you can add the atypical knee jerk reaction exported from those "green" NGOs who call the GM crops as cancer-producing toxicants. :roll:

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Postby Kakkaji » 18 May 2007 18:31

Somebody ought to file a PIL against Vandana Shiva and her cohorts who delayed the introduction of GM cotton in India by several years. :x Just imagine the potential income lost to cotton farmers.

As for the fears they stoked about poor cotton farmers being exploited by wicked multinationals who patent GM seeds, here is the list of GM seeds producing companies in the Hindu story:

The 49 hybrids cleared at one go by GEAC include six of Vibha Agrotech Ltd; five each of Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd and Nandi Seeds Ltd; four of DSCL's Bioseed Research India Ltd; and three each of J.K. Agri-Genetics Ltd, Ankur Seeds and Prabhat Agri Biotech Ltd.

Others whose transgenics received approval were: two each of Mahyco Seeds Ltd, Proagro Seed Company, Rasi Seeds, Ajeet Seeds, Pravardhan Seeds and Kaveri Seed Company; and one each of Nath Seeds, Namdhari Seeds, Zuari Seeds, Vikram Seeds, Navkar Hybrid Seeds, Ganga Kaveri Seeds and Amar Biotech Ltd.


Seems like there are several Indian companies now competing with the multinationals like Mahyco. All this within 4 years of approval. So the scare talk of 'exploitation by multinationals' was patently false. :roll:

Sometimes I think there is a conspiracy by the cabal of Reds, Greens (both Islamo-Jihadi and enviro-Jihadi types), and the Whites (EJs) to prevent Indian economy from growing faster and the Indian poor from becoming wealthier. :x

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Postby Katare » 20 May 2007 04:28

Some of the opposition is good, real and needed to make sure things are done properly and safely but as usual system is too slow to sort out things.......GM is way to go, technology is a great enabler but only when done properly

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Postby Kakkaji » 23 May 2007 06:43

From dailypioneer.com. Posting in full as the URL is not archived:

UP wheat traders bypass mandis

Govt loses Rs 48 cr in trade tax; probe ordered

Vast stocks of wheat produced in the country, especially in Uttar Pradesh, don't reach the mandis. Private players ship away the grain directly from farms to evade taxes. Not only does the Government lose revenue, there is no way of knowing who is holding what quantity of wheat. The Food Ministry has set up an inquiry committee to look into unaccounted stock.

Of the 255 lakh tonne wheat produced in Uttar Pradesh, only 7.5 lakh tonne has made it to the grain mandis this year. Of these, Food Corporation of India (FCI) has procured only 1.5 lakh tonne against a target of 15 lakh tonne this year. Even if farmers are presumably retaining grain for sowing in the next season, as is the usual practice in the region, and for local consumption, it still leaves most of the stock unaccounted for.

"It is presumed that the private traders are picking up stock directly from the farmer to evade mandi and trade tax. We have written to the State Government several times but there has been no response so far. The Food Ministry has set up a committee to look into the mater," said Siraj Hussain, joint secretary who looks after procurement on behalf of the department of food and public distribution.

A committee headed by additional secretary Vivek Mehrotra is likely to visit the State in the next couple of days to discuss the matter with the newly-appointed Mayawati Government. The Ministry was shaken out of complacency after it failed to procure enough wheat for the buffer and forced to import another 10 lakh tonne of wheat this year in addition to 50 lakh tonne that was imported last year.

Even accounting for stocks held by farmers, the Food Ministry estimates that at least 100 lakh tonne should come to the mandis. At 6.5 per cent tax on the grain trade, the State Government stands to lose about Rs 48 crore in revenue for trade it has no knowledge of.

The Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee Act (APMC) requires foodgrain to be traded, by private or public companies, through the grain mandis. The amended Act provides for trading at private grain markets after paying mandi tax.

In the wake of steep wheat prices, private traders are offering better price to farmers than the minimum support price. Trade watchers explain that after the deal is struck, traders do not immediately move the stock, but ask farmer to hold it for them. The stock is slowly moved out by the trader, by-passing the mandis and evading tax. In case of Uttar Pradesh, most of the grain is traded in this fashion, showing only a small fraction arriving into mandis.

The illegal move will significantly affect price stabilisation. With poor stock in its kitty, the FCI has poor leverage in stabilising wheat prices. The unaccounted stock with private sector will continue to push prices up. Much before the Government announced wheat imports last year, traders had already started pushing the prices up. This year, too, the story is likely to repeat itself and force consumers to spend more for food.

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Postby Kakkaji » 25 May 2007 02:19

From dailypioneer.com. Posting in full as the URL is not archived:

Food security under threat

Per capita grain production down to 1970s level

Bad news for the UPA Government. Even as inflation remains a cause of concern, news on food production front is grim.

Raising the alarm bell, sub-working group of the National Development Council (NDC) has submitted a report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pointing out that per capita foodgrain production has reached the levels of 1970s.

"It has raised valid concern for food security," the report said.

The NDC Sub-Committee On Agriculture and Working Groups headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar told the PMO that in the last decade there has been a sharp deceleration in Indian agriculture with the growth rate in the sector slipping from 3.62 per cent during 1984 to 1995-96 to less than 2 per cent in the period from 1995-96 to 2004-05.

"The State-wise trends indicated that the largest slump occurred in those areas/States that are predominantly rain fed,'' the committees said.

The sub-committee, which examined various reports, like National Farmers Commission Reports; Serving Farmers & Saving Farming, Crisis to Confidence, 2006; Agricultural Renewal and several others, said: "A particular area of concern is foodgrains, whose production during X Plan was less than during IX Plan."

Driving their points home, the communication said: "Per capita annual growth of cereals has declined from 192 kg in 1991/1995 to only 174 kg in 2004-2007 and of pulses from 15 kg to 12 kg. This means that per capita foodgrains production is now at 1970s levels, raising valid concerns on food security.''

The most affected States where production has slowed down are: Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala and Assam.

The report comes as a grim warning to the Centre which is talking about introducing "second green revolution" to boost the agriculture growth to 4 per cent in the XI Plan.

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Postby Suraj » 25 May 2007 02:46

A better picture would be gross foodstuffs consumption and caloric intake, not foodgrains alone. Food habits change with development, in particular the consumption of milk, meat and eggs, instead of just a larger portion of rice/dal . Youngsters today are taller and more well built, indicating greater protein intake. At least, that's the case in my extended family; four cousins (all female) - one pair born a decade before the other, are markedly different in height, with the younger pair ~5 inches taller, though their parents aren't markedly differnt in physical stature.

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Postby Kartman » 30 May 2007 15:05

Suraj wrote:A better picture would be gross foodstuffs consumption and caloric intake, not foodgrains alone. Food habits change with development, in particular the consumption of milk, meat and eggs, instead of just a larger portion of rice/dal . Youngsters today are taller and more well built, indicating greater protein intake. At least, that's the case in my extended family; four cousins (all female) - one pair born a decade before the other, are markedly different in height, with the younger pair ~5 inches taller, though their parents aren't markedly differnt in physical stature.


FWIW, I have a similar anecdotal observation... during my travel over the last 2-3 years in the north (Delhi, UP, Haryana) and the south (TN, Kerala, Karnataka), one thing that I have consistently noticed is that teenagers (high-school/college students) appear to be perceptibly taller (on-an-average nearly "half-a-head") than people of my generation. They were still lanky/skinny, but the difference in height was stark... more TDRE, than SDRE :P

This observation is from mofussil (Class C-type) towns, and the students were from Govt./municipal schools or ITI-type trade schools... so these people were largely from the lower-middle or the middle class (per NCAER's definition), rather than the uber-elite, McD-patronizing urban yuppy crowd :)


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