Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

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Arav
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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby Arav » 26 Feb 2012 08:48

GoM clears new urea policy

India has urea consumption of around 28 million tonnes at present, of which 22 million tonnes is domestically produced. There has not been fresh greenfield investment in urea for over 13 years.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby ramana » 06 Mar 2012 23:14

Krishna, They are a strawman except for those who died.

DNA Investigates BT cotton behind Marathwada bitter harvest

Blind monocropping of Bt cotton in a drought prone area, a bad monsoon and the bad state of irrigation projects are why farmers’ suicides in Marathwada and Khandesh spiked last year, overtaking Vidharbha — the symbol of distressed Indian farmers — in that regard. In 2011, the southwest monsoon was delayed and there was no northeast return monsoon. “The distress just peaked,” said Nileema Mishra, 2011 Magsaysay winner, who is immersed in agricultural issues.

“We have agitated and brought the situation of Vidharbha’s farmers to the fore, but the plight of Marathwada’s farmers is actually worse,” said Kishor Tiwari, president of Vidharbha Jan Andolan Samiti.

DNA toured districts of both Marathwada and Khandesh and found farmers with debt running into crores of rupees due to crop failure. “This year alone the total losses are about Rs2,000 crore, by a conservative estimate,” said Tiwari. Traditionally these regions are draught-prone and have a low per capita income. But now, the situation has worsened. Things started when Bt cotton was aggressively introduced in 2005-06. Farmers were assured that this variety would yield a much larger crop. It did initially, interviews revealed; but with time, production declined and the crop failed.
Since these are dry land areas, 60 to 70 per cent of the cotton depends on rain and thus on the variations in monsoon, resulting in erratic productivity. Experts say growing cotton in such areas is always risky. And according to the irrigation department, only 12 per cent of the area in Marathwada is irrigated, six per cent less than the state average. Even this 12 per cent figure is doubtful, as we shall see.


“The state government failed to learn from Vidharbha’s experience,” said Dr RP Kurulkar, retired economics professor and chairman of the Marathwada Statuary Development Board at Aurangabad. “The crop was encouraged ignoring the reality of water availability.”

DNA found that the input cost for BT cotton exceeds the output generated. So, if the crop fails, the debt is staggering. The meteorology department analysed the rainfall data for 2011 and found at least a 20 to 25 per cent below-normal rainfall in Marathwada.

Chunilal Marathe, a BT cotton farmer from Jalgaon, borrowed Rs. two lakh from a money-lender and dug two borewells. He counted on a large crop to enable him to repay the loan. “Two years ago we had a bumper crop and thought BT is the way forward,” he said. “So I bought a motorcycle and a colour TV. But during the past two years the yield has declined dramatically.”

Crop failure meant failure to repay the loan. “I am in a state of shock,” Marathe said. “By growing BT, I made a mistake.” Many others, in his predicament, unfortunately took the drastic step of killing themselves.

It’s not as if indigenous crop has never failed before; so why this misery? BT cotton made most farmers concentrate on mono-cropping instead of a varied production. In Khandesh and Marathwada, 90 per cent of the land is under BT cotton and the remaining is for grains (jowar and bajra) and pulses. A quintal of summer bajra costs Rs1,200; it was Rs400 three years ago. Jowar, the poor man’s staple, is now Rs4,000 per quintal.

“The price increase confirms that crop production has decreased,” said a Parbani agricultural college professor. “The sad part is that farmers are now completely dependent on BT cotton.”

Intermittent spells of drought are common in July-August; the monsoon usually ends by mid-September. This leads to inadequate moisture and nutrients in the crop’s later development, usually in late October. This year’s monsoon, as mentioned, was delayed. The Central Institute of Cotton Research says that in the event of a delay, farmers ought to opt for short-duration legumes and cereals, including green gram, black gram, soybean, cowpea, jowar and bajra, instead of cotton.

However, this practice just does not exist, as DNA found, simply due to the government’s aggressive selling and promotion of BT cotton. DNA witnessed this at seed-selling centres in Parbhani, Hingoli, Aurangabad, Jalgaon and Dhule, where BT cotton seeds ruled.

Even those who support BT call for crop rotation. “A refugee plant should be planted along with BT cotton seeds,” said Dr Nandkumar Dalvi, agrology professor at Dhule’s Agriculture College. “Farmers need to be trained about BT cotton and its planting methods.” Just dumping BT seeds and talking of higher yields is a wrong practice, he added.

His counterpart at Parbhani’s Marathwada Agriculture University, Dr SS Bhatade, agreed that farmers are not following rules and that is causing crop failure.

BT input cost is higher than the output. Marathwada farmers told DNA that per hectare, their expenditure was now Rs10,000 to Rs12,000, but the yield is only two quintal (at Rs3,500 per quintal). “In some cases, the difference is more than Rs5,000 per hectare,” said an agriculture university professor, demanding anonymity. Thus, the debt for even small land-holdings is also in the thousands of rupees.

Pesticide use has further driven up the cost. A survey by Navdanya in Vidharbha showed that pesticide used went up by 13 per cent since BT cotton was introduced. Another study recently published in the Review of Agrarian Studies showed a higher expenditure on chemical pesticides for BT cotton. “The farmers of Marathwada also have to shell out several times more for inputs,” said Navdanya founder and renowned environmentalist, Dr Vandana Shiva.“And productivity is on the decline.”

When contacted, agriculture minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil did not respond even after repeated phone calls and text messages.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby Haresh » 14 Mar 2012 17:18


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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby Gaurav_S » 17 Mar 2012 17:14

Scientists feel sunny with farm research push

NAGPUR: Though there is no special provision for development of science and technology in the Budget, allocation of Rs 200 crore for incentivising agricultural research has been very well received by the scientific community in general and agricultural scientists in particular in city. The money is expected to be utilized for research in raising farm productivity needed for food security.


Dunno how far 200cr will go, but atleast a good start. Need more R&D in all fields be it agriculture, defence, manufacturing..

Haryana Agricultural varsity gets Rs. 50 cr for Research and Development

"We will focus on carrying out research activity in strengthening our breeding work in wheat to develop heat resistant varieties.... We will also emphasise on increasing productivity of oilseed, rice and maize crops," he said.


How come just Haryana was qualified for this funds?

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby nawabs » 23 Mar 2012 08:16

Bedrock for reform
Agri Survey diagnoses the key problems correctly


http://www.business-standard.com/india/ ... rm/468555/
The first-ever Agricultural Survey tabled in Parliament, emulating the presentation of the Economic Survey, seems a well-meaning exercise in candid analysis of the factors that have constrained the sector’s growth. Being an inaugural report card, it has done well not to confine itself to developments during 2011-12. The long-term trends do, indeed, provide the answers to some of the key questions as to why the green revolution, which peaked in the 1980s, flagged subsequently; and why the prices of farm commodities, other than staple cereals, have soared despite a substantial increase in their production.

A complete lack of reform and a paucity of investment stand out as the most significant among the several factors that have subdued agricultural growth, especially since the 1990s. Investment in this sector amounted to barely 2.7 per cent of India’s gross domestic product (GDP), against the much higher 36.6 per cent in the non-agricultural sectors. What is worse, over 80 per cent of public investment in the farm sector went to major and medium irrigation projects where the benefits have generally been below par, because of their inefficient operation and underutilisation of capacity. Consequently, the gross capital formation in agriculture and allied sectors, which was around 18 per cent in the 1980s, slid to just six to eight per cent subsequently. Unsurprisingly, the average annual growth in agriculture and allied sectors also dwindled from 4.8 per cent in the Eighth Five-Year Plan to 2.5 per cent in the Ninth Plan and 2.4 per cent in the 10th Plan.

The stress the Survey lays on the need for wide-ranging reforms in the agricultural sector is also well timed. Marketing and other reforms are necessary to meet the ever-growing requirement of agri-products and prepare agriculture to face the challenges posed by human and environmental factors. Modernisation of agricultural markets and connecting them with much-needed supporting infrastructure and institutions are also urgently needed. Local markets ought to be linked with national and international markets to increase farmers’ share in consumer spending. A significant, but not much appreciated, feature of the farm sector has been the outstanding performance of the livestock sector, including fisheries, which has consistently registered higher growth rates than crops. However, even this has tended to slacken in the 1990s and 2000s, failing to keep pace with the rise in demand for protein-rich livestock products. The compounded annual output growth of milk, for instance, dropped from 5.6 per cent in the 1980s to 4.2 per cent in the 2000s. Similarly, the growth rate of eggs fell from over eight per cent to 5.7 per cent and that of fish from 4.4 per cent to 3.3 per cent. That explains, even if partially, the spike in the prices of these products in recent years. It is, therefore, worthwhile to keep these issues and trends under sharp focus. The Survey should, in fact, set the agenda for agricultural development in the 12th and subsequent Plans.


I was not able to find this Agricultural survey.Can anybody find it and post a link to it?


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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby Prem » 13 Apr 2012 03:44

Indian Grain May Rot After Bumper Harvest
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 21044.html

NEW DELHI--As India prepares to harvest a record grain crop for the second year in a row, fears are rising that its state granaries won't be able to handle the surplus and food that could feed the nation's hungry millions will go to waste.Food ministry officials say the government will add between 3 million tons and 4 million tons of storage capacity by May or June, just ahead of this year's wheat harvest, and a further 11 million tons by the end of next year. The combination of plentiful monsoon rains and high minimum purchase prices for wheat and rice means the country is forecasting an all-time-high grain production of 250.42 million tons in the crop year ending June 30.The government says it will have 75 million metric tons of grain stocks by June, but state-run warehouses have a capacity of no more than 63 million metric tons.
Food Minister K.V. Thomas, in an interview, said the government was taking steps to reduce stockpiles, including allowing traders last year to export wheat and rice surpluses and increasing food allocations for poor people.Even if the government meets targets to expand storage capacity by June, that would still leave around 8 million tons of grains out in the open -- vulnerable to weather and attacks by rodents. The government will likely also have to store 20 million tons in makeshift spaces, covered by water-proof sheets and resting on wooden platforms erected over bricks. Pre-monsoon showers already have damaged some of the newly-harvested wheat crop in the breadbasket state of Punjab in western India."Harvest of the wheat crop is not yet in full swing...We fear that the storage problem will only increase when government procurement picks up," said a senior agriculture official in the Punjab state government.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby SBajwa » 17 Apr 2012 01:22

Rejected Paddy off to distilleries

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120416/punjab.htm#1

Chandigarh, April 15
More than two lakh quintals of paddy procured by state agencies in 2009 and declared unfit for human consumption is on its way to distilleries to be processed as branded alcohol for consumption by the affluent and the elite.

Rotten stocks of paddy at two open storage sites in Khamano, sold through tenders to rice shellers in violation of procurement rules and guidelines, are being shifted to rice processing units at Khanna, Kapurthala, Dhuri, Jalalabad and Khamano.

Procured at Rs 950 a quintal, the stocks are being disposed off at Rs 620.25 a quintal, causing the state exchequer losses running into crores.

The stocks belong to Markfed, Punjab Warehousing Corporation and Punsup.The state agencies not only pay for lifting and transportation of the procured paddy to the storage sites but also dole out huge sums for storage besides watch and ward charges. Paddy stocks at Ranwa and the Khamano Administrative Complex have been lying on wooden plinths in the open ever since their procurement in 2009. In the absence of proper upkeep and maintenance, these stocks have been declared unfit for human consumption.

While the Central guidelines allow only 5 per cent relaxation because of moisture/discolouration or broken grains, here the percentage of damage is between 40 per cent and 100 per cent. Not only jute bags but also the paddy in them had decayed, emitting an unbearable stench forcing people in the neighbourhood to protest.

Under the rules, paddy damaged beyond a point should be sold to poultry and cattle feed units and not to shellers for processing rice.

Even officials of state agencies like Punsup and Markfed admit that the damaged paddy should not be sent to rice mills. Some junior officials of these agencies were unhappy over the manner in which they were being held responsible for damages and subsequent losses.

State agencies, unmindful of the growing damage and mounting losses, neither forced the millers , whom a major portion of these stocks were handed over after procurement, to process the paddy nor moved the stocks to other shellers for processing. The stocks were let to rot in the open.

All this continued to happen even though the apex court wanted the foodgrain to be distributed free among the poor and those living below the poverty line than allowing the stocks to rot because of the apathy of the state apparatus. Sources said the state agencies were violating Central guidelines by allotting these “damaged and unfit for human consumption stocks” to shellers for processing.

Under the rules, paddy damaged beyond 5 per cent cannot be allotted for processing as rice. The rice, so processed, is likely to be supplied to distilleries to be made into alcohol for popular brands of Indian-Made Foreign Liquor.

Most of the distilleries have now shifted to grain-based alcohol from the conventional malt processing.

On an average, the state would be losing about Rs 500 to Rs 600 on each quintal of paddy that it procured in 2009. The rice shellers may still make Rs 30 to Rs 50 a quintal on processing these damaged stocks.

A senior Markfed official, pleading anonymity, said that due procedure had been followed. It was with permission of the Arbitrator that tenders had been invited to clear these stocks.

Punjab Food Minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon could not be contacted for comment.

The Grain Rot IN THE STATE

Two lakh quintals of paddy procured in 2009 in a single subdivision declared unfit for human consumption
Paddy procured at Rs 950 /quintal and being disposed of at Rs 620.25/quintal as damaged stock
State agencies would be losing Rs 500 to Rs 600 a quintal on damaged stocks besides facing embarrassment for violating its own rules
Rice from damaged paddy would have been enough to feed 13 lakh below poverty line families( BPL) in Punjab almost for a month
Normally, the damaged paddy should have been sold to poultry and cattle feed companies. But Punjab has sold it to shellers.
Now rice from damaged paddy will be processed at distilleries for branded alcohol for the affluent
Damage varies between 40 per cent and 100 per cent
Procured stocks were stored at a cost of Re 1/bag for three months
Not only jute and gunny bags containing paddy, even wooden plinths on which stocks were placed have decayed
These storage sites are expected to be cleared of the damaged stock in next 7 to 10 days
State procures paddy at Rs 950/quintal and pays for jute bags, lifting, loading, unloading and transportation to storage site. Besides it pays for storage, watch and ward charges.
Had this paddy been processed and rice released to the Central pool in time, the state would have been saved of crores of rupees besides avoiding criticism of the apex court

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby SBajwa » 17 Apr 2012 01:58

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120416/haryana.htm#5
Image
State targets to double area under summer moong
Economics makes this crop attractive to farmers They can start adopting to it as an alternative to ‘saathi’
Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Having achieved substantial success in promoting summer moong as an alternative to summer paddy or “saathi” last year, Haryana is now targeting to double the area under this crop this year.

The state Agriculture Department has set a target to increase the area under summer moong from 50,000 hectares to one lakh hectares this year. On its own, the Agriculture Department is planning to sow summer moong as a demonstration for farmers on 14,000 hectares, spread across Karnal, Kurukshetra, Yamunanagar, Panipat, Sonepat, Kaithal and Fatehabad. Here, the department will also be demonstrating integrated nutrient and integrated pest management, so that farmers can start adopting to summer moong as an alternative to saathi.

Saathi or summer paddy has a very high water requirement. It is transplanted in the fields in April and harvested by June end, which means that farmers can get a third source of income (in between the wheat and paddy cycle). This is the reason that most farmers in Haryana had started cultivating this short duration crop. But since there is almost no rain during this period, and evapo-transpiration rates are high, the cultivation of summer paddy leads to exploitation of ground water and depletes both the water table and soil nutrients.

“Over the past three years, we have been launching awareness among farmers about the harmful effects of growing ‘saathi’. Last year, Haryana managed to achieve 100 per cent success in preventing cultivation of “saathi” by farmers. Instead the department has managed to give farmers an alternative source of income in the form of summer moong. But the adoption to grow summer moong has been slow. With summer moong getting a good price in the market, pure economics, too, is making this crop attractive to farmers. The crop generally sells at Rs 200-Rs 300 per quintal higher than its MSP of Rs 3,500 per quintal. The fact that summer moong fixes nitrogen in the soil, it helps in increasing soil fertility, and thus preparing the soil for the next paddy crop, too, goes in its favour,” said B S Duggal, additional director, Agriculture, Haryana.

He added that in order to make adoption to summer moong attractive, the state Agriculture Department is also providing 50 per cent subsidy on the seeds of the drop. “As against a price of Rs 8,000 per quintal, we are supplying the seeds to farmers at Rs 4,000 per quintal. Since the yield is good (average of four quintals per acre), the farmers can make a good profit on this crop,” said Duggal.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby SBajwa » 17 Apr 2012 20:13

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120417/punjab.htm#1

Not only paddy, wheat also rotting in the open
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
Jagtar Singh, a junior official on the verge of retirement, lies on a cot under a makeshift thatched camp office while supervising refilling of jute bags with rotten wheat that is shifted to a nearby Punsup godown.

The official reason for shifting the stocks procured in 2008-09 is to vacate the storage premises for construction of the Khamano Subdivisional Administrative Complex, foundation stone of which was laid on December25, 2006, by the then Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

Intriguingly, nothing has progressed on the proposed complex beyond the foundation stone and a boundary wall. Instead, the sprawling area has been put to use for storing paddy and wheat to overcome the problem of storage scarcity. While the new crop of wheat has already started arriving in grain markets, the state is struggling to find “safe space” to store the new stocks. The storage problem is severe, admits a senior official of the Food Department.

To cut any further losses, shifting operations are being undertaken by the corporation with its own men and machinery, including trucks. But why shift stocks if these are to be sold through tenders or in open auction?

“I am being made a scapegoat for the damaged paddy stocks. I was neither associated with procurement nor its storage. My predecessor has retired and I am being forced to take charge of these damaged stocks of both paddy and wheat,” rues Jagtar Singh who is to retire early next year.

While more than one lakh quintals of paddy belonging to Punsup, the Warehousing Corporation and Markfed has already been sold to rice millers through tenders, a decision on the disposal of damaged wheat stocks is yet to be taken. Officials point out that there is a joint consultative committee of the Food Corporation of India and state agencies that take a decision on disposing of the damaged foodgrains. Punsup has 85,485 quintals of wheat while Punjab Agro has 90,000 quintals of damaged wheat crop at this site. A securityman is posted here to guard the damaged stocks that are covered with tarpaulins and nets “to avoid any pilferage.”

Nearly two lakh quintals of damaged wheat would now either be sold to poultry or cattle feed manufacturers or supplied to wheat flour mills for processing (for non- human use).

While Punjab Agro has already got its stocks here sieved to clear it of impurities, insects and fungus, Punsup is doing it now before shifting the stocks to its own godown.

Official Take

For the past five years, not a single grain of BRL or damaged wheat has been auctioned because of stringent FCI rules. We have requested the FCI to relax conditions so that damaged wheat can be disposed of.
— DS Grewal, Secretary, Food Supplies

We have about 38,000-39,000 quintals of wheat at Khamano which has been declared BRL. The first tender issued for disposal of this wheat came with stiff conditions and, hence, could not be sold. The government has written to the FCI for re-tenders
— Rattan Mittal, GM, Punjab Agro

Some stocks of foodgrain procured in 2009 in Fatehgarh Sahib and Nawanshahr have been categorised as BRL. Some of this wheat can still be upgraded for human consumption. For disposing of damaged wheat, the Food Supplies will issue a joint tender
— V Partap, MD, Punsup

n More than 85,000 quintals of wheat belonging to Punsup stored at Khamano Administrative complex has been declared below relaxed limit (BRL)

n Wheat procured in 2009 was stacked in the open because of lack of storage facilities

n Normal life of wheat stored in the open is six months while grains stored in godowns can best last two years

n Scientific storage of grains would have saved government agencies huge losses

n 38,000-39,000 quintals of wheat procured by Punjab Agro and stacked at Khamano declared BRL

n Instead of keeping space in its godown for new stocks, Punsup is moving damaged stocks to the existing storage after getting the stocks sieved and refilled

n Punjab has nearly 65 lakh tonnes of wheat stored in its godowns

n Of the total wheat stock, 21 lakh tonnes are in covered godowns and the rest in the open

n More than 3 lakh quintals of foodgrain both paddy and wheat, stored in the open since the 2009 procurement season have gone bad

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby rajkumar » 17 Apr 2012 20:16



Picked up these at my local branch of Tesco last week. Top quality!!!

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby tejas » 19 Apr 2012 10:00

Finally a little good news on the agricultural front. One shocker is the Chinese rice yields :eek: :eek:

http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/04/19/india-farms-mechansiation-idINDEE83I01820120419


Image

Image

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby Vipul » 21 Apr 2012 02:27

Wheels begin to turn in India’s farm revolution.

As a shiny red harvester bounces across the black earth into the first row of sugar cane, excited schoolchildren run after it and several dozen men stand gaping in the wake of its swift progress.It’s the first time that Perle, a village on the banks of the Krishna river in Maharashtra, has seen a machine used for cutting the tough cane.“This machine will harvest my entire field today,” says Prashant Kadam, the young owner of the compact two-acre plot. “Had it been harvested by labourers, they would have taken at least a week.”

A short drive away in a field where the sun is just getting hot enough to halt work, a team of 12 couples cut cane the way it’s been done for centuries — with machetes. They load the cane into carts each pulled by two white bullocks with gaily painted horns and head for the local mill which dominates this sugar-growing valley some 300 kilometres south of Mumbai.It is a way of life that is fast disappearing in the world’s second-biggest producer of rice, wheat and sugar. India is finally embracing mechanisation after centuries of farming with methods the United States threw out with the British.

Interviews with farmers, tractor salesmen, economists and agricultural officials show a country on the cusp of deep change. Indian food consumption is rising and farmers are under pressure to produce more, faster and cheaper. Yet Indian farms traditionally use far fewer farm machines than their peer nations, partly because their acreage is so small.Lately however, farmers have been buying new tools and machines to cope with a labour shortage triggered by government policies aimed at promoting non-agricultural work.

Tractor sales have increased 42 percent in India over the last five years to an estimated 552,434 in 2011/12, according to industry figures.The consequent boost to their productivity is helping them sustain more expensive lifestyles and that could spur India’s cantering growth, averaging 7-8 percent a year.The sweeping changes are crucial as India adds the equivalent of an Australia to its 1.2 billion people every year. Many of them are too poor to feed themselves and rely on government subsidised grains. At the same time, the swelling middle class of Asia’s third-largest economy is demanding more and better quality food.By 2020-21, Indians will consume 280 million tonnes of food grains a year, compared with a record output of 241.6 million tonnes in 2010/11, said V. Venkatachalam, special secretary at the Farm Ministry.

At the moment, India still uses under half the amount of power on farms that rival Asian giant China does and a tenth that of Japan.
It was Sangramsingh Jayanvantrao Jadhav’s father who bought the harvester that caused such a sensation in Perle, where cane has grabbed more than 80 percent of cultivatable land.Jadhav takes the harvester around to neighbouring farmers, such as Kadam, who can work late into the night and through the noon-time heat in its air-conditioned cab.“The harvester is new for the farmers. So we are convincing them about its benefits,” says Jadhav. “From next year, we will be working in full swing.”

Renting out equipment makes sense for many farmers in India, whose plots and income are too small to justify outright purchases of expensive vehicles and tools.

Farm Minister Sharad Pawar has thrown his support behind custom hiring and the Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering (CIAE) says renting equipment could be the best way to boost production in India.“Small farm holdings mean every farmer can’t have the equipment. So what we are saying is let there be intermediaries who could purchase the equipment and then provide it on a custom hiring basis,” says Pitam Chandra, who heads the CIAE.Jadhav, who earned an MBA in agriculture and works in a bank, says he spends as much time as possible working with the harvester “because I like to be here”.

At an office in a showroom for Mahindra’s Swaraj brand of tractor in Satara, just 30 kilometres away from Perle, Sachin Sambhaji Shelke points out that small tractors are more cost-efficient than the traditional bullocks.“A pair of bullocks costs 100,000 rupees. You use them only during the season, but you have to take care of them the entire year. With a tractor, if there’s no work, you don’t have to look after it,” says the 36-year-old, who runs the business set up by his father in 1984.

While India is one of the largest markets for tractors, their use is limited — mostly on construction sites or for ferrying anything from wedding decorations to field labourers.That’s partly because farm sizes remain so small — more than 83 percent of India’s farms are on less than 2 hectares per capita, well below global averages of 3.7 hectares, according to advisors KPMG. As a result, small-size tractor sales are booming.“Most of the manufacturers are shifting their focus to smaller and low-cost tractors and specialized tractors to attract the marginal farmers,” says Vishal Srivastav, deputy manager at Credit Analysis and Research Ltd (CARE).

Sharply higher labour costs are also helping to make using machines a more attractive option.In Maharashtra, government efforts to ensure a minimum wage for rural households have pushed up labour costs nearly 40 percent in the past year.Urbanisation is also pushing up labour costs. The latest census shows city populations jumped 31.8 percent from 2001 to 2011 against growth of 12.2 percent in rural areas.“The new generation is not interested in farming,” says Vasant Nathu Rajpure, who grows turmeric near Shahbag village, about 250 kilometres south of Mumbai.”My children are studying. Their aspirations are different. They don’t like laborious farm work.”

Sugar cane is the dominant crop in this region, after the arrival of cheap motor pumps and electricity around three decades back allowed farmers here to make better use of the river and grow the crop, which needs huge amounts of water.Sampant Vishnu Chavan, a 77-year-old whose son cultivates sugar cane on most of his land in Perle, says focusing on this crop has meant farmers have switched to a cash economy from largely barter.“Around 50 years back … we were giving grains to the carpenter, the goldsmith, the potter and farm workers for their service … But sugar cane changed this practice. We sell cane to the factory. Now we pay them money.” With this move to cash and cane comes higher income for farmers and increased discretionary spending. “They are building concrete houses. They are buying modern electronic equipment like televisions, fridges,” says Mohan Patil, cane development officer at the Sahyadri co-operative mill, who has worked with local farmers in Perle for over three decades.

Just two months ago, turmeric farmer Rajpure bought a new Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire sedan, worth about 500,000 rupees. In the last year, the 52-year-old has bought three motorbikes for family members and an LCD television. Sitting in his backyard, carefully removing the stitching on fertilizer bags to turn them into a waterproof cover for crops, the white-haired Chavan points to a tractor parked outside a neighbour’s house.“Tractors have changed everything,” he says. “In the old days … four pairs of bullocks were taking a day to plough an acre of land. Now, a tractor ploughs an acre in two to three hours. Farmers don’t need to keep bullocks,” he says.
Around half a century back there were 150 pairs of bullocks in Perle village, but now the number has come down to 20, he says.Pitam Chandra at the CIAE estimates animals are now used for about 300-400 hours a year compared with over 1,500 hours in the 1960s.

“Animal power is going down because the cost of maintaining animals is going up and we are not employing them throughout the year,” he said.Reducing the number of animals has had a knock-on effect on fertiliser use, however, costing the government dear in subsidies as it tries to hold down prices in the face of 20 million tonnes of annual imports.“From animals earlier we were collecting dung, which we were using as fertilizer. Now since we have only one cow, we are not getting sufficient manure. We have to buy chemical fertilizers in large amounts,” says Sambhaji Chavan, a farmer from Perle who sold his bullocks and hires a tractor to do their work.

As he patiently crafts a wooden grip for a cane-cutting machete, 61-year-old Dadaso Khashaba Sutar reflects on the need for him to change his skills as tractors take over.“My father taught me techniques he learned from my grandfather. Those skills are no longer required. Few tools (for use with bullocks) are in use and very soon they also will be replaced by new machines,” he said.

One of Sutar’s sons has migrated to Mumbai for a job, while his second son is now working in the construction industry.“I am doing some work, but that will also vanish in the next few years. With me, our tradition of serving farmers will disappear,” Sutar says with a smile.

He shows off the old tools he keeps which were in use some 30-40 years back in Perle. The current generation of farmers don’t even know the names of some of these, he says.Sutar now spends half his time on a new branch of carpentry. “I have started making furniture. I am making doors, for them there is good demand from farmers as many are building new homes.”

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby Vipul » 23 Apr 2012 20:30

India's food grain output hits a record 257 million tonnes.

India is estimated to have produced about 256.88 million tones of foodgrains during 2011-12 compared to 244.78 million tonnes in the previous year, third advance estimates of crop production for 2011-12 released today showed.

Total production of rice is estimated at 103.41 million tonnes, which is an all time record. Production of wheat, estimated at 90.23 million tonnes, is also a new record, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said today.As a result of significant increase in production of rice and wheat, the record foodgrain production of 256.88 million tonnes is much higher than the targeted 245.00 million tonnes fixed for the year. Estimated production of foodgrains for the year is also way above earlier record foodgrain production of 244.78 million tonnes achieved during 2010-11.

Production of pulses and oilseeds is estimated at 17.02 million tonnes and 30.06 million tones, respectively.Cotton production also set a new record at an estimated 35.20 million bales (170 kg each).

The estimated production of sugarcane stands at 351.19 million tones, which is higher by 8.81 million tonnes compared to the level of production in 2010-11.

The production estimates for major crops for 2011-12 are as follows:

Foodgrains (256.88 million tonnes)
Rice – 103.41 million tonnes (record)
Wheat – 90.23 million tonnes (highest ever)
Coarse Cereals – 41.91 million tonnes
Maize – 21.33 million tonnes
Pulses (17.02 million tonnes)
Tur – 2.71 million tonnes
Gram – 7.40 million tonnes
Urad – 1.81 million tonnes (record)
Moong – 1.57 million tonnes
Oilseeds – 30.06 million tonnes
Soyabean – 12.24 million tonnes
Groundnut – 6.95 million tonnes
Rapeseed & Mustard – 6.96 million tonnes
Cotton – 35.20 million bales (170 kg each) (record)
Sugarcane – 351.19 million tonnes

Meanwhile, the agriculture minister today inaugurated the National Crop Forecast Centre (NCFC) in New Delhi today. The NCFC, named after great Indian statistician PC Mahalanobis, has been set up in collaboration with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

It will be responsible for preparing multiple in-season crop forecast and assessment of drought situation using state of the art techniques and methodology for selected major crops.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby nawabs » 29 Apr 2012 11:37

Paying a ransom for the king of mangoes

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/ind ... epage=true
This mango season, ‘Alphonso' has become scarce and pricey. A prolonged winter and insect attacks have led to a sharp drop in the yield of the King of Mangoes for the second year running.

The drop in crop yield is estimated at 70 per cent this year, say traders.

Alphonso mangoes, which are primarily grown in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, command the highest price in the market because of their taste, colour and texture.

At the Navi Mumbai wholesale market, Alphonso prices have touched Rs 2,500 for five dozen mangoes or Rs 500 a dozen.

With the retail prices in the Rs 1,000-1,200 a dozen range the fruit is beyond the reach of most consumers. Last year, the prices were in the Rs 600-800 range.

The reduced supply of the fruit is borne out by the fact that since the beginning of April only 35,000 boxes (of five dozens each) have reached the market. In the normal crop season, over one lakh boxes would have hit the market in the same period.

According to fruit trader Arvind Patil, prices have also shot up because of the chase for spotless mangoes. This season, a lot of mangoes have black spots on the skin. “Though these mangoes are of good quality, customers don't want to buy them. They want bright, shiny mangoes. As a result, the prices have been pushed up even higher.”
Farmers' woes

Agriculture expert and CEO of Sankalp Farms, Mr Milind Manerikar, said “The mango farmers in Maharashtra are dependent on Alphonso variety, which is very sensitive to changes in weather. It is time they shifted to other sturdy varieties like Amrapali, Mallika and Vanraj,” he said.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby SBajwa » 02 May 2012 04:39

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120502/main4.htm

Colossal wheat wastage in Punjab, Haryana
Vibha Sharma/TNS

New Delhi, May 1
Advising the government to distribute stored foodgrain among poor families instead of allowing it to rot, the Supreme Court had stated a few months back that wastage of even a single foodgrain in a poor country like India is a crime.

However, the latest figures of damaged foodgrain issued by the government suggest no lessons have been learnt.

Punjab and Haryana were together responsible for causing damage to as much as 76,762 tonne wheat during 2011-12, rendering it unsuitable for human consumption, while central procurement agency FCI lost 3338.01 tonne foodgrain, including 2401.61 tonne wheat and 936.40 tonne rice, during the fiscal, the government admitted today.

Even though the government claims to be taking all precautionary measures for safe and scientific storage of foodgrain in the country, figures suggest otherwise.

Responding to a query in the Rajya Sabha, Food Minister KV Thomas yesterday revealed that 66,306 tonne of the winter crop stored by state agencies in Punjab and 10,456 tonne in Haryana were rendered damaged/non-issuable in 2011-12.

By his own admission, the reasons for precious foodgrain becoming unfit for human consumption include storage pest attack, leakages in godowns, procurement of poor quality stocks, spillages due to movement and handling of stocks, exposure to rains, floods and negligence by persons concerned in taking precautionary measures.

At a time when the UPA is struggling to put on the table its ambitious Food Security Act, guaranteeing 25 kg of wheat or rice at Rs 3 per kg, the wastage of wheat is inexcusable. Even though Thomas said the damage in FCI godowns was “meagre”, experts question the gross wastage when a large population goes hungry and 46 per cent of the country’s children are malnourished.

A large population is surviving on less than minimum requirement of calories. According to the NSSO’s latest report on nutritional intake in India, about 19.4 per cent of rural households and 20.5 per cent of urban households had a caloric intake of less than 2,160 kilocalories per day in 2009-10.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby Prem » 02 May 2012 05:13

Central Government should allow direct export of Wheat from Punjab and Haryana .

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby Vipul » 05 May 2012 01:54

India emerges as world's top rice exporter.

India, a leading exporter of rice before a slew of domestic curbs came in the way, returned with a bang in the global markets in 2011-12, toppling traditional leaders like Vietnam and Thailand to emerge as the biggest exporter.

However, sustaining this performance might be difficult. For, exporters have started raising prices. Last year, they had huge stocks because of a ban imposed on non-basmati rice since 2007. Even then, India will continue to be a big player in global rice markets, albeit not as big as it was in 2011-12, say those in the trade.

According to sector officials, aided by a much-awaited decision to open export of non-basmati rice in September 2011 (a ban was imposed in 2007 to ease domestic supply), India managed to export more rice in six-seven months than Vietnam and Thailand could do in all of 2011-12.

India’s total rice export in 2011-12 is expected to be 6.5-7 million tonnes (mt), which is around seven per cent of the country’s total production. Vietnam and Thailand, too, exported 6-6.5 mt. The United States Department of Agriculture pegged export from India at seven mt in the year.

Vietnam exported some 1.5 mt during October 2011 to January 2012, while India recorded 2.7 mt during the period. Between April 2011 and January 2012, India’s rice exports were worth $3.78 billion, against $1.96 billion during the same period the year before.

Of the total rice exported by India, around 4.5 mt was non-basmati rice and 2.5 mt was basmati.

“Indian rice is priced less than Vietnam, which has propelled it to capture traditional markets like Africa,” said Ashok Gulati, chairman of the Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices.

He said when India began exporting in September, Vietna-mese rice was priced higher than that of India. As India started dropping its rates, Vietnam had to follow to stay in competition. Vijay Sethia, member of the All India Rice Exporters Association, said Indian rice was priced at $360-450 a tonne (FOB), while that of Vietnam was priced at $450-550 and Thailand at $575 a tonne. Pakistan sold at $480 a tonne.

Vietnam was the undisputed leader of the world rice market, exporting eight to 10 mt yearly. It had to undercut after India entered the market in September-October, offering prices almost $100-150 per tonne less than the Southeast Asian nation. Thailand was also priced out of contention as its output dropped because of floods and a high floor price that made its rice costly.

“Basmati rice export was not a problem, as it had its set buyers in West Asia and elsewhere, but it was non-basmati rice which changed the game in favour of India,” another major exporter said.

“Some credit should also be given to Indian exporters, who adopted modern techniques to process rice and scouted for newer markets,” said Prem Garg, managing director of Sri Lal Mahal group and a leading rice exporter. He said Africa, particularly Nigeria, was one such market which Indian exporters managed to capture because of the quality of rice and the price differential.

“Africa is largely a parboiled rice consuming region. We sold our parboiled rice at $400-500 per tonne, while Thailand could sell only at $580-650 per tonne,” Garg said, adding Indian rice was also of a much superior quality.

However, there already were signs in April of the pace slackening. “It will be a big challenge to maintain the pace of export in 2012-13, as Nigeria is not expected to purchase at the same level as in 2011-2012,” Garg said.

He said total rice exports (basmati and non-basmati) in 2012-13 could drop to around four to five mt, 29 per cent less than last year, as Indian exporters are slowly raising prices. “Most exporters till last year were liquidating stocks accumulated during the ban period, which allowed them to sell at lower rates. However, it is not the case this year, which could nullify the cost advantage that India enjoyed vis-à-vis Vietnam and Thailand,” Garg said.

However, with a bumper harvest in excess of 100 mt in 2011-12 and record stocks of a little over 34 mt in state-run warehouses, India will continue to remain a major player in the global market till at least June 2013, even if on a lower scale than 2011-12.

“We should focus more on exporting value-added rice like rice with just five per cent broken content, or else we will lose our advantage,” Sethia said.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby SBajwa » 13 May 2012 05:22

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120513/main4.htm

Plan panel clears slew of schemes for Punjab
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

The Booster

The panel at an internal review meeting on Saturday gave in-principle approval to creation of industrial infrastructure in the border districts and training youth in specialised skills
A cancer research centre for the Malwa region has been okayed
The state will now have greater access to Central funds in irrigation and rural development sectors
An expert committee will be set up to look into crop diversification

New Delhi, May 12
It’s a move that could obliterate many of Punjab’s woes. The Planning Commission has given an in-principle approval to a slew of schemes, which, once implemented, promise to usher in a much-needed change in the northern state.

The panel at an internal review meeting today approved new projects to create industrial infrastructure in the border districts and train youth in specialised skills. It also okayed a cancer research centre for the Malwa region, new norms that will allow the state greater access to Central funds and most importantly an expert committee that will look into crop diversification.

A beaming Minister for State for Planning Ashwani Kumar told The Tribune: “This is a major initiative of the UPA government. The Union Government has never discriminated with any state when it comes to to development projects.” The SAD-BJP government led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has often accused the Centre of not doing enough for the state.

In its new plan, the commission has cleared a project to boost industrial infrastructure in the border districts of Amritsar and Tarn Taran. This will begin with setting up of industrial complexes. The commission will help Punjab find funds for it. These complexes are aimed at taking advantage of the new liberalised trade regime with Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah land route. The second part of the initiative will be to develop ancillary infrastructure at Bathinda where a refinery has been set up. “The panel will support and fund these initiatives”, said sources.

Along with the industrial infrastructure, a national-level institutional facility will be established for upgrading skills of youth to help them jobs in these industrial complexes.

The project to set up a cancer research facility to tackle the deathly swipe of the disease in the Malwa region has the backing of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, said Kumar.

The PM has asked the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), the Tata Memorial hospital in Mumbai and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) to put together a plan.

For the state, which has a fast depleting water table thanks to ecologically unviable paddy cultivation, the Plan Panel has agreed to set up an expert group on agricultural diversification and rationalisation of use of ground water. Punjab is the second highest extractor of underground water at 33.97 billion cubic metres (BCM) annually. Only UP, which is more than ten times the size of Punjab, extracts more water (46 BCM).

The group will be headed by an international expert and will be formed in consultation with the state government.

On the irrigation and rural development front, the panel has proposed modifications in existing schemes to make Punjab eligible for Central funds. Punjab has long maintained that the norms of Central schemes suit only underdeveloped states. The commission has decided in principle to support the revitalisation of the fabled 14,500-km-long canal network in the state. It will ask the Rural Development Ministry and Water Resources Ministry to draw up a plan. In case they do not have the funds, the Planning Commission will provide the necessary allocation. Punjab will also be allowed some relaxation to access funds under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP).

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby RamaY » 13 May 2012 06:10

Connecting the dots between various posts

- India's food grain production crosses >250 million tonnes. This alone is sufficient to provide 2000/day calorie intake for 1.2+ billion population. Add fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat and fisheries to this and India should not have anyone hungry.

- India becomes world's largest rice exporter but rice is sold at >Rs 20 per kg in India.

Assuming 25% of the GDP comes from agri sector and 60% of population depends on this sector, it should translate to ~$600=Rs30,000 per capita income. Yet >20% of the population is malnourished and BPL @ Rs 35 per day

This is the situation while having a representative democratic system and market economy.

Something is fundamentally messed up in India.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby RamaY » 16 May 2012 20:36

Ramanaji - you might be interested in this.. .

I was thinking about the Rice exports report and this thought flashed to me...

Now I understand why Govt of India doesn't want to raise the Minimum Support Price for Rice (or most of the food grains)... will write a blog post after doing some research...

- The MSP ensures low raw-material costs
- The populist programs like Rs1 Kg (or Rs 2 Kg) rice programs ensure govt subsidized supply chain for black marketeers
- The uncontrolled number of white ration cards (BPL cards) ensure sufficient quantity of subsidized rice. Andhra Pradesh has 1 crore white ration cards. That means ~50% of AP population must be BPL (assuming a 5 member family). Every month the state govt. releases 250,000 tons of rice for this program.
- Assuming a 30-50% fake white cards, ~100,000 tons of rice is available at Rs 1000 per ton (Rs 1kg Rice). Which is of fine quality and good for exports.
- No wonder India is worlds largest rice exporter. Most of the money transactions are done outside India.

---

For the people who think Rs 20-25 price for 1kg rice is high in open market.

Govt support price for 100kg paddy is ~1200 that is Rs 12 per kg paddy.
You get ~70% rice from paddy that is 70Kg rice from 100kg paddy - that makes the rice production cost Rs 17 per 1 kg rice.
Add transportation, milling expenses per kg - 1-2 Rs = Rs 19/kg
10% taxes - Rs 21/kg

20% profit margin = Rs 25/kg

So there is little margin in the supply chain. That is not the real problem.

---

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby SBajwa » 16 May 2012 23:16

Scientists suggest trench method for maize farming
Say mechanism will help check depleting underground water, ensure better yield
Kulwinder Sandhu/TNS

Moga, May 15
In a bid to save the depleting underground water level, agriculture experts have advised the farmers to adopt trench method for cultivating maize, the sowing of which has already begun and is likely to last another three weeks.

As three out of the four revenue blocks in Moga district and adjoining areas in the Malwa heartland have already been declared as dark zones by the central water commission due to fast depletion of underground water, the practice of trench method would not only help save water but also help naturally control weeds, thereby, resulting in better yield.

Moga chief agriculture officer Dr Harpreet Singh and agriculture development officer Dr Jaswinder Singh Brar said the Agriculture Department had fixed a target of sowing maize in 5,000 hectares in Moga district. “Last year, the area was negligible — just 500 hectares,” they claimed.

Scientists say the rice-wheat cultivation cycle was taking a toll on underground water; therefore, opting for alternative cropping system was the need of the hour.

Brar said, “We have hybrid varieties of maize and scientific methods for its cultivation, which can help in more production as compared to paddy or other crops to get equitable returns.”

Studies conducted by agriculture universities and the state Agriculture Department suggest that optimum row spacing in trenches should be 60 cm and there should be 70,000 plants per hectare to get maximum yield, he said. Both the agro-scientists said they had so far organised over 20 camps in villages to provide practical knowledge on scientific cultivation of maize with a transplanter by making trenches. “Adoption of recommended chemical control for maize borer is also very important in early planting. Mid May and early June are good for sowing,” they recommended.

Tips for better yield

Scientists suggest that optimum row spacing in trenches should be 60 cm while the plant-to-plant spacing should be 22 cm

A maximum of 70,000 plants per hectare should be grown for getting the desired yield

Eight kg seed is sufficient for an acre and it should be treated with fungicide Bavistin 50wp or Derosal 50wp before being sown

Best season to sell

Experts from the Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, have observed that the market price of maize in the state would remain low during June-September due to arrival of spring maize crop and start rising after October and remain high up to May next year. In 2011-12, maize prices hovered around Rs 700 to Rs 1,100 per quintal from June to September last year and reached the maximum Rs 1,400 in April this year.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby SBajwa » 16 May 2012 23:17

Ramay:

Then problem in India is not the agriculture growth but storage and transportation. 1/3 of the grains are lost due to ancient methods of storage and transportation.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby chandrabhan » 17 May 2012 10:05

One of the most half baked pontification comes from Surjit Bhalla. I read a week back an article by him him when he was urging Government to stop raising the MSP for Paddy (1080-1100 for year 2011-12). He felt that farmers are a pampered lot. Let me throw some numbers and let the economic gurus here decide.

1. Cost of producing a Quintal of Paddy comes to around Rs1170 in the heartland (Punjab, UP, Haryana) fpr farmers with more than 10 acres.

2. Considering average landholding is not more than 2.5 acres,it will be even more

3. So MSP of Paddy (husk) at Rs1080 is not a subsidy, Its a trap for farmer. Better we take a crop Holiday

Lets look at the Elephant in the room that has helped raised this production cost from Rs990/Quintal in 2010 - NREGA

1. Cost of Labour has gone up (Planning Commission number) 74% in Andhra , more than 90% in TN and WB and UP

2. DAP cost has doubled in last 1 year alone

3. Add to the pesticide cost - Up by 25%

Lets look at the procurement cost of various Govt in neighborhood..

1. Thailand pays - $280-320 per Metric Tone

2. Philippines - $310- 340

3. Vietnam - $250-310

and what we get at $/Rs for 50 $204. Now the great game by 'Chankian' MMS . Exports have been allowed for Rice & do you know the rate - Rs1600/ Quintal FOB and farmer is still forced to sell at Rs1080. Who makes the money? CON/NCP & Cronies


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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby Ameet » 18 Jul 2012 08:18

In Tiny Bean, India’s Dirt-Poor Farmers Strike Gas-Drilling Gold

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/17/world ... wanted=all

LORDI, India — Sohan Singh’s shoeless children have spent most of their lives hungry, dirty and hot. A farmer in a desert land, Mr. Singh could not afford anything better than a mud hut and a barely adequate diet for his family.

But it just so happens that when the hard little bean that Mr. Singh grows is ground up, it becomes an essential ingredient for mining oil and natural gas in a process called hydraulic fracturing.

Halfway around the world, earnings are down for an oil services giant, Halliburton, because prices have risen for guar, the bean that Mr. Singh and his fellow farmers raise.

Halliburton’s loss was, in a rather significant way, Mr. Singh’s gain — a rare victory for the littlest of the little guys in global trade. The increase in guar prices is helping to transform this part of the state of Rajasthan in northwestern India, one of the world’s poorest places. Tractor sales are soaring, land prices are increasing and weddings have grown even more colorful.

“Now we have enough food, and we have a house made of stone,” Mr. Singh said proudly while his rail-thin children stared in awe.

Guar, a modest bean so hard that it can crack teeth, has become an unlikely global player, and dirt-poor farmers like Mr. Singh have suddenly become a crucial link in the energy production of the United States.

But much more important to farmers here was the recent discovery that guar could stiffen water so much that a mixture is able to carry sand sideways into wells drilled by horizontal fracturing, also known as fracking.

“Without guar, you cannot have fracturing fluids,” said Michael J. Economides, a professor of engineering at the University of Houston who is a fracking expert. “And what everybody is worried about is that there is virtually no guar out there now.”

India produces about 85 percent of the world’s guar. As worries rose about the prospects for this year’s monsoon, which is vital for an adequate crop, speculation over guar production built to a frenzy. Trading in guar futures was even suspended, and with the monsoon still behind schedule, it remains postponed. Ramesh Abhishek, India’s chief commodities market regulator, said guar trading would resume when supplies proved adequate.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby Vipul » 24 Jul 2012 23:21

Guar gum India's No 1 farm export.

India’s much neglected and little-known guar gum is now its biggest agricultural item of export, upstaging the much better known items of basmati and non-basmati rice.

Of the total farm export of Rs 82,480 crore in 2011-12, the share of guar gum was around 20 per cent, while that of basmati rice was 18.7 per cent and non-basmati rice 10.5 per cent. A year before, the share of guar gum was just seven per cent, while that of basmati rice was 27.2 per cent. Non-basmati export was banned.

In 2007-08, when export of both types of rice was allowed, the share of basmati rice in total agriculture exports was 9.3 per cent, non-basmati rice at 5.4 per cent and guar gum at 1.4 per cent.

In 2011-12, the export of 700,000 tonnes of guar gum fetched more in the international market than the export of either 3.2 million tonnes of basmati rice or 4.1 mt of non-basmati rice. Guar gum fetched India Rs 16,356 crore, basmati rice Rs 15,450 crore and non-basmati rice fetched Rs 8,668 crore during the period, showed provisional data recently released by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics.

Demand for guar gum, cultivated largely in Rajasthan, has been rising ever since Western nations started using it as a controlling agent in oil wells. It facilitates easy drilling. The stupendous rise in its export, along with that of non-basmati rice, has propelled India’s overall farm export to Rs 82,480 crore in 2011-12, double the previous year.

The ban on non-basmati rice export was lifted in October 2011, after a long period of restriction. The earlier normal year for its export was 2007-08. In rupee terms, in 2007-08, the share of non-basmati rice in total agri export was 9.4 per cent, while in 2011-2012, it rose to just around 10.5 per cent. As of now, guar gum, basmati rice and non-basmati rice are the three main components. Interestingly, guar gum export has happened without any tangible government support, while for both basmati and non-basmati, the government has been providing all sorts of inputs.

“This clearly shows that a stable export market is imperative to boost exports," an official said.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby nawabs » 10 Aug 2012 04:41

Bar GM food crops, says parliamentary panel

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/a ... epage=true
In a major setback to the proponents of genetically modified technology in farm crops, the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture on Thursday asked the government to stop all field trials and sought a bar on GM food crops (such as Bt. brinjal).

The committee report, tabled in the Lok Sabha, demanded a “thorough probe” into how permission was given to commercialise Bt. brinjal seed when all evaluation tests were not carried out.

It said there were indications of a “collusion of the worst kind from the beginning till the imposition of a moratorium on its commercialisation in February, 2010, by the then Minister for Environment and Forests.”

The report came a day after Maharashtra cancelled Mahyco’s licence to sell its Bt. cotton seeds.

It flayed the government for not discussing the issue in Parliament and observed that the Ministry failed in its responsibility by introducing such a policy, ignoring the interests of the 70 per cent small and marginal farmers.

The report criticised the composition and regulatory role of the Genetic Engineering Approval (Appraisal) Committee and the Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM).

According to Committee chairman Basudeb Acharia, there is not a single note of dissent in the report of the 31-member panel, including nine from the Congress and six from the BJP. Observing that GM crops (such as Bt. cotton) benefited the (seed) industry without a “trickle-down” gain to farmers, it recommended that till all concerns were addressed, further research and development should be done only in contained conditions.

Citing instances of conflict of interest of various stakeholders, the panel said the government must put in place all regulatory, monitoring, oversight and surveillance systems.

Raising the “ethical dimensions” of transgenics in agricultural crops, as well as studies of a long-term environmental and chronic toxicology impact, the panel noted that there were no significant socio-economic benefits to farmers. On the contrary, farmers have incurred huge debts because of this capital-intensive practice.

“Today, 93 per cent of the area is under Bt. cotton because no alternative seeds are available,” Mr. Acharia said.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby Prem » 18 Aug 2012 04:03

http://www.greenpeace.org/international ... log/41785/
How will the world react if India says no to GE food?

Genetically engineered (GE) food is a hot button topic in India. What happens here often sends ripples throughout the GE debate worldwide, but what happened last week is surely a major milestone.The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, made up of members of parliament (MPs) from across party lines, tabled its latest report on GE food and GE crops following intense consultation with farmers, environmental groups, scientists and consumer groups.The committee undertook extensive consultation – perhaps the most comprehensive taken anywhere in the world. The committee took two and half years holding hearings across India and going through some 493 memoranda running to some 15,000 pages.
Their conclusion?
GE crops are not the best option for a country like India, either in terms of farmers’ livelihoods or food security. In fact, the committee concluded that GE crops could pose a serious threat to people’s health and to biodiversity. The committee also found that Bt cotton, the only commercially cultivated GE crop in India, has failed to benefit farmers, especially small and marginal farmers in rainfed regions who form the majority of cotton cultivators in the country.The existing and proposed regulatory systems in India were also called into question. It has recommended an all encompassing Biosafety Protection Authority for India which will safeguard the health of citizens, the environment, food, feed and farming from any risky technologies such as GE crops. The standing committee has also asked for a halt to all open field trials “under any garb” with immediate effect.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby Don » 27 Aug 2012 20:13

http://news.yahoo.com/poor-monsoon-rain ... 08194.html

Poor monsoon rains hit millions of Indian farmers
By MUNEEZA NAQVI | Associated Press – 3 hrs ago..

With nearly 70 percent of India's population living in rural areas, farming is vital to the economy. A poor monsoon is expected to further dampen already disappointing growth this year, according Citigroup economist Rohini Malkani.

Poor agricultural output could result in growth as low as 5.4 percent in the current fiscal year, down from the bank's earlier estimates of 6.4 percent, according to the economist's August report.

"If drought conditions worsen, headline growth could come in lower at 4.9 percent," she writes.

The federal government and many state governments have hesitated to declare a drought for fear of causing panic and because it requires them to assess each farmers' losses and compensate them.

Farmers in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh state, which have not been given declarations of drought, are losing patience.

"What will it take for the government to declare a drought?" asks Narwal. "Will all the farmers have to die first?"

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby Haresh » 29 Aug 2012 20:04

Poor in India Starve as Politicians Steal $14.5 Billion of Food

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-2 ... -food.html

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby SSridhar » 07 Sep 2012 09:00

SSI-technology to remove sugarcane yield barriers
Sustained Sugarcane Initiative (SSI) technology is an integrated package capable of breaking yield barriers in sugarcane. Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) will offer solutions to problems in rooting medium and tillering of sugarcane single budded chip . . . TNAU, said that use of SSI would help save nearly 40 per cent of irrigation water.The training was being provided as part of a project sanctioned to the university by NABARD, to be implemented in 10 districts of the State, covering six sugar factory areas. It included a demonstration project to motivate farmers for large-scale adoption of SSI.There was a concern that the yield of 100 – 105 tonnes a hectare had stagnated over three decades in Tamil Nadu, and hence SSI was recommended to raise the yield to 250 tonnes


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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby krisna » 14 Sep 2012 02:34

Using Fertilizer Wisely Could Help Feed 9 Billion People
The researchers then employed national and regional agricultural data from outfits such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the International Fertilizer Industry Association to determine the root causes of these yield gaps. Simply by improving fertilizer application and irrigation, the researchers find that global yields of corn, wheat and rice—the three main staple crops—could be increased by 64 percent, 71 percent and 47 percent, respectively

That list includes the U.S. Great Plains and China, where more fertilizer is used than is strictly necessary. For example, American farmers apply so much fertilizer on Midwestern corn fields that much of it ends up running off, ending up in the Mississippi River and, ultimately, reaching the Gulf of Mexico. There the copious fertilizer fuels a bloom of algae and other microscopic plants that then die. Microbes that consume the dead plants also use all the oxygen available in surrounding waters, creating a vast "dead zone" that is devoid of sea life—an unfortunate side effect of the demand for more maize.

Lessening fertilizer use in the U.S. and China would free up nutrients to be applied to fields in eastern Europe and western Africa with no detriment to American or Chinese people. As it stands, the researchers estimate that some 11 million metric tons of nitrogen fertilizer and five million metric tons of phosphate could be saved annually at present without diminishing current yields. Those savings then could be applied to underachieving areas.

dead zone"
Fertilizer runoff and fossil-fuel use lead to massive areas in the ocean with scant or no oxygen, killing large swaths of sea life and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage

According to a new study in Science, the rest of the world fares no better—there are now 405 identified dead zones worldwide, up from 49 in the 1960s—and the world's largest dead zone remains the Baltic Sea, whose bottom waters now lack oxygen year-round.

Image


strictly not India based but relevant all the same as India is a predominantly agricultural country since 1000s of years.

See the dead zone in India in the map relative to the western world.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby gunjur » 17 Sep 2012 21:37

How Syria unrest is benefitting India's jeera exports
Syria is India's closest rival in jeera, a spice that goes into everything from curries to crusty bread.For the past one year, India has been virtually the sole supplier of jeera to the world. Exports rose 40 per cent in quantity and 63 per cent in value, according to the Spices Board.

Vietnam is the market leader in pepper, with three times more production than India, which is a distant second. Vietnam exports almost all its pepper. So, at the slightest news of any border skirmish between China and Vietnam, Indian traders perk up.

Guatemala is the world's largest producer of cardamom, and exports 25,000 tonnes annually, or five times more than India. A couple of years ago, when Guatemala's production dropped due to political events, India gained an upper hand in the Middle East. Indian cardamom vaulted to Rs 1,200 per kg.

Consumers are equally affected. Indians, the world's top consumers of jeera, are now paying almost double for the spice because of higher exports. This year, only 85,000 tonnes jeera will be available in the world market, thanks to the Syrian civil war, while importing nations require 100,000 tonnes.

For centuries, the global spices trade had the power to change the politics of several nations. Today, politics is more likely to influence the trade. Either way, the gains are huge. As Frank Herbert says in The Dune, "He who controls the spice controls the universe."

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby Theo_Fidel » 16 Oct 2012 20:43

Interesting Idea for India to follow. With our 365 days of growing season we could dramatically shrink our agriculture land use. Question is what to do with the people who do agriculture because they know nothing else, mostly at a loss.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000087 ... lenews_wsj

Image

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby Agnimitra » 21 Oct 2012 01:33

This is a study by one of the largest agricultural research universities and the Dept of Agriculture. The results show that decreasing the use of chemicals can increase productivity and profitability of farming and animal husbandry. Unlike organic farming proponents, these people are proposing a mid-path where farming is fine tuned rather than ravaged by chemical usage. But now suddenly the Dept of Agriculture (which funded this study) does not want to promote it.

Increasing Cropping System Diversity Balances Productivity, Profitability and Environmental Health

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby Vipul » 31 Oct 2012 07:35

India topples Thailand to become world's largest rice exporter.

India has the emerged as the world's largest rice exporter in 2012 beating its Asian counterpart Thailand with shipment of 9.75 million tonnes, according to USDA's latest report.

Thailand was the top rice exporter with exports of 10.65 million tonnes in 2011. However, its volume slipped to 6.5 million tonnes in 2012.

"On the export side, India's exports were raised 1.75 million tonnes to a record 9.75 million tonnes based on a record pace of shipments to date and larger supplies. This makes India the largest rice exporter in 2012, a first for India," the USDA report said.

India is followed by Vietnam, which shipped 7 million tonnes of rice, Thailand (6.5 million tonnes), Pakistan (3.75 million tonnes) and the US (3.5 million tonnes), it added.

India moved to the top slot from the third place in 2011 buoyed by record production of 104.32 million tonnes on the back of good monsoon rains.The US agency said with India's shipments rising this year it had to revise its global trade estimates upwards by 1.85 million tonnes.
"Global trade for 2012 was raised 1.85 million tonnes to a record 37.7 million tonnes, with India accounting for the bulk of the upward revision in exports," it said.

The global rice production in 2012 is estimated at 464.87 million tonnes in 2012. India is the world's largest grower.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby MurthyG » 02 Nov 2012 00:42

An impending crisis in the modern agriculture is the availability of phosphorous. Phosphorous unlike Nitrogen fertilizers can be (theoretically at least) be produced as much as we want but phosphorous is a mined resource. To make matters worse, they are really concentrated in few countries like US, Morocco and China (http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNADW835.pdf and http://csis.org/files/attachments/100922_Kauwenbergh_Presentation_0.pdf). If that happens as projected in next 20-30 years, we will all be in big trouble...this is something that may only accelerate due to the use of bioenergy feedstocks for biofuels.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby MurthyG » 02 Nov 2012 00:45

Theo_Fidel wrote:Interesting Idea for India to follow. With our 365 days of growing season we could dramatically shrink our agriculture land use. Question is what to do with the people who do agriculture because they know nothing else, mostly at a loss.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000087 ... lenews_wsj

Image

Just my 2 cents FWIW:
While this seems impressive, when looked at from the Life cycle perspective (including all phases from construction to final harvest), many such designs do not make sense. For India, we are still better off with soil based agriculture.

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Re: Indian Agriculture and Agro-based Industry

Postby jagga » 30 Dec 2012 15:13

In pictures: Natural ways of increasing Indian yields

The Karnataka government has asked the research institute, Icrisat, to help make small farms more productive, diverse and resilient to drought.


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