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RNI No. DELENG/2015/65174 Postal Reg. No DL-SW-1/4191/19-21 Published on 25th & Posted in Advance Month A Gon R I 27-28 C U LTatUNDPSO RE

ISSN 2455- 8184

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AGRICULTURE

WORLD

VOLUME 5 ISSUE 11 NOVEMBER 2019 ` 100

the pulse of global agriculture

Empowering Farmers To Practice No-Burn Agriculture THE REGIONAL COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP

SAHAJA AHARAM

Cooperatising Organic Supply and Value Chains

OUR FARMER OUR FOOD

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the pulse of global agriculture

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C o n t e n t s

WORLD

VOLUME 5 ISSUE 11 NOVEMBER 2019 ` 100 PAGES 84

Editor-in-Chief MC Dominic Directors Shiny Dominic MG Vasan Editor Head PR & Communications Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan Sr. Executive Editor Dr. KT Chandy Technical Editors Dr. Mahendra Pal (Vet. Sci) V. P. Intl. Business D D Nair (Russia & CIS Countries 6 Mikluho- Maklaya STR Moscow, Russia, 117198 Mob: 79037299830 Tel: 74995019910 Email: ddnair@ krishijagran.com Gavrilova Maria Head Operations Sanjay Kumar Sr. V.P Spcl. Initiative Chandra Mohan Sr. Manager Spcl. Initiative Harsh Kapoor Content Editor Abha Anjali Toppo Anitha Jegadeesan Sr. Correspondent Tooba Maher Correspondent Vivek Rai Manisha Sharma Kisan Agarwal Sakthi Priya Sippu Kumar Pronami Chetia Pritpal Singh President Marketing RK Teotia Marketing Managers Megha Sharma Arshina Khan Khushi Arora Girish G. Nair Head Pre-Press Yogesh Kumar Sr. Graphic Designer Atul Batham Graphic Designer Nasim Ansari Circulation Head Abdus Samad Sr. Manager Circulation Rahul Singh

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Circulation Team Sujeet Pal Tarun Singh Avdhesh Yadav Pappu Ray Manoj Kumar Digital Media Head Nishant Kr. Taak Digital Media Team Chunki Bhutia Prashant Sharma Accounts & Production Head Ashok Gupta Accountant Lakshmi Ratheesh Legal Advisors James P. Thomas H. S. Asmuddin Supporting Staff Devender Singh Pramod Singh Jagdish Jana Ravinder Jana Printed and Published by: M. C. Dominic 60/9, 3rd Floor, Yusuf Sarai Market, Near Green Park Metro Station, New Delhi 110016. Tel: 011-26511845, 26517923 Mobile: +91-9313301029, +91-9654193353 Web: www.krishijagran.com

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Empowering Farmers To Practice No-Burn Agriculture

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The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

Sridhar Radhakrishnan

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Ecological Restoration of Farm lands in Kodagu district, Karnataka

Seema Paul

Nachiappan Ramanathan, Saleela Patkar, Mansha Viradia and Sujata Goel

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Sahaja Aharam Cooperatising Organic Supply and Value Chains

Dr. GV Ramanjaneyulu

42. Empowering Farmers & Consumers The “Organic Farmers’ Market (OFM)” Way

Kavitha Kuruganti

Printed at: Pushpak Press Pvt. Ltd. Shed No. 203, 204, DSIDC Complex Indl. Area Phase-I New Delhi- 110020

50. Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI)

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan

All rights reserved. Copyright @ Krishi Jagran Media Group. Agriculture World is published by Krishi Jagran Media Group. Editor in Chief: MC Dominic

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Revival of Indigenous Cotton a KASKOM Story

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan

56.

Our Farmer Our Food

Content Disclaimer. Please note that the information in this magazine, does not make any claims. Agriculture World has made a constant care to make sure that the content is accurate. and the views expressed in the articles reflect the author(s) opinions.

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URBAN WOMEN and URBAN FARMING

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan

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An Innovative Coconut based Mixed Farming Model

Dr.P.S.Manoj, Dr.K.K.Aiswariya, Dr.B.Pradeep and Dr.P.Rathakrishnan

Images Courtesy https://unsplash.com/

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KAU Pullan

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Insecticides of Plant Origin

Dr. Meenu, Dr. Amit, Dr. Yogita Bali and Dr. Gulab Singh

COVER Image Courtesy Vincent Tan - pexels

Shamika Mone, Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan

Dr Elsy C.R., Dr Jose Mathew and Aswathy P.P.

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Editorial

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elhi is seized with - the air quality crisis to which burning of the crop residue by farmers in NW India holds a significant contributon. Seema Paul elaborates about Happy Seeder, a conservation agriculture technology that manages crop residue on site. RCEP treaty is expected to be ready for signing by the year end and we know it is expected to have the worst impact for agriculture, dairy and fisheries sectors in India. Sridhar Radhakrishnan reveals the whole gamut of drama behind RCEP and various other treaties where India got involved. Nachiappan Ramanathan, Saleela Patkar, Mansha Viradia and Sujata Goel describes how restorative programs were implemented in Kodagu areas which were totally devastated by rains and landslides and how they adopted ecologically sustainable practices to revive farm lands. Kavita Kuruganti gives us an elaborate idea on how to Empower Farmers & Consumers The “Organic Farmers’ Market (OFM)” Way. She shows us that social enterprises can indeed be not-for-profit enterprises that create a win-win for both producers and consumers. Dr Lakshmi Unnithan, Editor, AW brings in details about OFAI and Organic Mahotsav and mentions it to be the perfect platform for organic farmers from all over India to share, learn and grow. Dr G.V.Ramanjaneyulu ,explains in detail about cooperatising supply and value chain with Sahaja Aharam, the consumer cooperative that brought together consumers who were interested in being part of the initiative to support farmers by directly buying from farmers, invest in consumer cooperative which can be used as working capital and share responsibilities in building market opportunities. Dr Lakshmi Unnithan ,Editor, AW has done a detailed story on Swaminathan Vaithlingam who travelled along with his friend Soumik in an effort to help revive the Indigenous cotton. The Editor brings in yet another New Series called “Our Farmer and Our Food” where in we interact with different OFAI farmers and bring in their best practices and innovations to produce clean food. AW also brings in Stories of inspiring Urban Women who has taken up Urban Gardening for the need for providing clean food to their families. Dr.P.S.Manoj, Dr.K.K.Aiswariya, Dr.B.Pradeep and Dr.P.Rathakrishnan from Indian Institute of Spices Research, brings in a story of an award winning organic coconut farmer who devised “ An Innovative Coconut based Mixed Farming Model”.Dr Elsy C.R. , Dr Jose Mathew and Aswathy P.P. from Kerala Agricultural University elaborates on the “KAU Pullan,The Superior Nutmeg variety and Mr Jose who follows organic farming system and his lifelong association with nutmeg that started more than 50 years back. We are sure this November issue of AW will motivate every one interested in Agriculture and Organic farming..

MC Dominic Editor-in-Chief

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From the Editors Desk

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he Green Revolution that helped us in becoming a food -surplus nation has at present resulted in intensive use of fertilizers, pesticides, and large quantities of water for irrigation. Deteriorated Soil quality, Health hazards and Environmental Pollution are all hampering the quality of food produced. Last month we saw some of the grave climatic events that did not spare any part of our nation and we see it repeating frequently. Some of the serious concerns of the month is the RCEP treaty. It would be such a grave mistake if the nation decides to sign the treaty. But on the other side what we come across Renowned scientists, Policy makers, Seed savers, Innovators and Activists who came together to support and bring the developments in organic farming to a common platform - the ultimate goal being the growth of our farmers while also replenishing our natural resources. Ushering in the happiness of success were the Chennai OFM that showed us that social enterprises can indeed be not-for-profit enterprises that create a win-win for both producers and consumers. “Sahaja Aharam� showed us how to have a common frame work of quality management, pool resources and sell under the same brand name.We also met many farmer friends who were on the path of cost effective way of maintaining nutritive balance in the agricultural field.It was a great opportunity to talk to Our farmers where they shared stories adopting own innovations to fight against climate change. We hope sense prevails and we choose traditional and indigenous methods to help better the lives and livelihood of Our Population. Join us in our Journey towards disseminating information at its best.AW bring in inspiring stories and world class quality photographs to you.

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan www.krishijagran.com

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International News

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Shinjiro Koizumi, a rising political star net reshuffle. In the first press conference after his appointment, Koizumi spoke on various issues, starting with global warming and also how to deal with environmental problems.

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any of Japan’s nuclear plants are closed due to strict safety regulations introduced after the tragedy. At present, Japan can count on six operating reactors.Shinjiro Koizumi is among 13 new ministers brought in yesterday by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a cabi-

The new minister also spoke about Japan’s nuclear power plants, many of which are still closed due to the strict safety guidelines introduced after the Fukushima tragedy.”I would like to study how we will scrap them, not how to retain them,” he said. “We will be doomed if we let nuclear accidents recur.” The young politician also said that Prime Minister Abe charged him with taking steps against plastic waste at sea, stressing that “this is an area where Japan can make contributions”. He is on his way to mobilize young people to push his coal-dependent country toward a low-carbon future by making the fight against climate change “sexy” and “fun.”

Deliberating ways on Boosting EU India Trade in Agri Food Products

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uropean Union and India are the world’s biggest democracies and economies. The EU is in a prime position when it comes to global trade. Both India and EU have vast domestic markets and a strong entrepreneurial tradition. There is an enormous potential for both sides to benefit from the reinforced trade, economic and investment relations. The Seminar was opened by His Excellency Ugo Astuto, Ambassador of the European Union to India, Mr John Clarke (Direc-

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tor, European Commission, DG Agriculture and Rural Development - International Relations) and Mr Pawanexh Kohli, Advisor, National   Centre for Cold Chain development were also spoke at the opening ceremony. The Seminar also deliberated on ways to boost EU-India trade in agri -food products, present EU standards for food safety and quality and promote understanding of EU agri food systems.

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Apollo Advt.

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International News

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International Egg Day

or centuries, eggs have played a major role in feeding families around the globe. They are an unbeatable package when it comes to versatility and top-quality protein at a very affordable price. And they are also an excellent source of choline, essential in memory and brain development. When you factor in convenience and terrific taste, there is just no competition. It is a unique opportunity to help raise awareness of the benefits of eggs. It was introduced by the International Egg Commission in 1996. The main objective of this day of action is to boost the consumption of eggs. This year it was celebrated on 11th October 2019.World Egg Day was established at the IEC Vienna  1996 conference when it  was decided  to celebrate World Egg Day on the second Friday in October each year. Suresh Chitturi has been elected as Chairman of the International Egg Commission (IEC). Chitturi is the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Srinivasa Farms and the very first Indian and Asian to hold the position.

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etherlands is the world’s second largest exporter of agriculture and food products. In 2018 its total agricultural exports were worth 90 billion Euros but that’s not the reason why the Dutch horticultural sector is active in India as investors and providers of costs efficient solutions. They are in India because they are able to combine Dutch supply and Indian demand into hybrid solutions that are at the same time climate change resilient, cost conscious and high quality. Dutch horticultural companies, research and education institutions have shown themselves to be reliable partners doing business in India and they have every intention to

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NEXUS continue and expand. The India-Netherlands Technology Summit 2019 provides a high profile and wide-ranging platform for businesses, knowledge institutions and government to forge partnership and boost innovation, investment and trade. ‘NEXUS’ is the central theme of the summit, discussing how to co-create on pioneering innovative solutions for global challenges related to  Agriculture, Water, Food and Good Health.

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Argentine Lemons

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he first shipment of Argentine lemons has finally reached India, following the approval of market access earlier this year. IG International, fresh fruit importer will import the lemons from Argentina supplied by San Miguel (country’s largest growers and exporters of lemons). The opening of the 1st container of this season’s lemons was graced by the delegates from San Miguel, the Consul General of Argentina along with the representatives of the Argentina Embassy in Delhi. For now, IG International will import around 500 MT (2020) for consumption purpose in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai among other cities. It must be noted that Eureka lemons are big, averaging five centimeters in diameter, having an oblong shape. It has a vibrant yellow skin with sunken oil glands, giving it a textured surface. The skin is full of volatile oils that give an intense citrus fragrance. Eureka lemons have a marked blossom-end knob, known as mammilla & medium-thick white pith. The juicy, yellow flesh has few or no seeds and provides a tart & acidic flavor.

Saudi Arabia to invest $100 billion in India in Agriculture, Infrastructure & Other Areas

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reating a new history, the world’s biggest oil exporter Saudi Arabia is planning to invest $100 billion for the first time in India in areas like agriculture, petrochemicals, and infrastructure among others. The biggest exporter of oil has taken the decision considering the country’s growth potential. As per the report, Dr. Saud bin Mohammed, Saudi Ambassador told in a media interview that the investment will be done in the areas of energy, refining, petrochemicals, infrastructure and more. “Saudi Arabia is looking at making investments in India potentially worth $100 billion in the areas of energy, refining, petrochemicals, infrastructure, agriculture, minerals, and mining,” said the Saudi ambassador. “Saudi Aramco’s proposed investments in India’s energy sector such as the $44 billion West Coast refinery and petrochemical project in Maharashtra and long term partnership with Reliance represent strategic milestones in our bilateral relationship,” he added.

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National News

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First Plant to Convert Paddy Straw into Biogas: India

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ith a major initiative to tackle pollution in the country specially in Delhi, India is finally come up with its first Bio-plant to convert paddy straw into biogas that can be used as CNG in automobiles. The Bio-plant will be established at Karnal in Haryana, the state which often comes into the limelight for pollution due to stubble burning. The agencies and administration are giving its double effort to prevent the burning of crop stubble, which is said to be the main reason for pollution in the Delhi-NCR region. E S Ranganathan, managing director of Indraprastha Gas Ltd, the largest CNG distribution company in India, led the groundbreaking ceremony of the plant to convert paddy straw into compressed biogas (CBG) at Karnal on October 18, a company statement said here. Gas. As per reports, the plant will deploy special machines that will chop and bundle paddy straw for transportation to storage. This storage will be used throughout the year to production CBG. This unit, which is expected to come up by 2022, has been set up by Ajay Bio-Energy Pvt Ltd, under ‘SATAT’ (Sustainable Alternative towards Affordable Transportation) scheme on CBG launched by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural

National Indigenous Seed Festival

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gricultural University (CAU) campus, Imphal. Seed Savers and farmer groups from several states participated in the three-day event. The festival that continued till 14 October created awareness on conserving the indigenous seed ecosystem, reviving of indigenous seeds, networking with farmers, protecting traditional wisdom, ensuring agro-biodiversity and agro-ecology conservation activities. The festival helped in creating a platform for farmers to come together and exchange indigenous knowledge, their ideas and culture, exchange of seeds and many more. A seminar on seeds and related issues, an exhibition of Indigenous seeds and other organic-based medicinal and aromatic plants, stalls for agricultural and allied products along with field visits were organized.The National Seed Festival adopted a seed declaration and called it Imphal Declaration.

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National News

Chennai startup Aquaconnect

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hennai startup Aquaconnect has raised seed funding of $1.1 million led by Omnivore and HATCH. It has a network of over 3,000 shrimp farmers across India and Indonesia. Aquaconnect is an AI-enabled platform that integrates Asia’s leading network for aquaculture farmers with predictive SaaS tools for farm management, and an omnichannel marketplace. Aquaconnect is currently focused on India’s US$ 7.1 billion aquaculture sector, which produces almost 700,000 tons of farmed shrimp annually, and has become the top global exporter in recent years. With the current round of funding, Aquaconnect plans to accelerate the growth of its aquaculture farmer network, roll out deep tech improvements to FarmMOJO, launch new SaaS tools for the aquaculture ecosystem, and expand monetization across its omnichannel marketplace.

‘Rythu Bharosa’

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nder the Rythu Bharosa scheme, financial assistance will be given to farmers of the state. The list of eligible farmers will be made and financial support will be given to them as per the scheme. YS Jaganmohan Reddy-led YSRCP government has decided to raise the amount of ‘Rythu Bharosa’ scheme from the previous Rs 12,500 to Rs 13,500 yearly and implement it for 5 years instead of the promised 4 years. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister will be launching his government flagship scheme today in Nellore. Rythu Bharosa is one of the nine promises made by the YSR Congress Party in its election

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manifesto.Under this scheme, the amount will be distributed to farmers in three instalments. The 1st instalment, Rs 7,500, will be credited to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries in the month of May, the 2nd instalment of Rs 4000, will be transferred in the accounts in October and the 3rd and last instalment of Rs 2,000, will be given in the month of January.

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Corporate News

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Contribution of Ichiban Crop Science Limited in Pesticide Industry

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volution of Pesticide Industry: Modern pest management and control is an increasingly diverse science with thousands of different management strategies. The various scientists associated in pesticide industry derived ideas from Mother Nature. They all always linked with a single thought process “What can Kill a man can kill an insect too” The first ever commercial insecticide launched in the early fifties was after Nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 during World War II. This fact made scientists to think “What can Kill a man can kill an insect too” and thus came into existence the first commercial insecticide “DDT”. The scientists kept observing the Mother Nature as to how the plants were protecting themselves from Insect attack. Age old practices of farmers dusting “ash” on crop was analyzed to find sulfur content. Sulfur serves as good miticide and also protects plants from diseases like Powdery mildew!, besides providing nutrition for crops . Currently, sulfur is registered in the U.S. by EPA for use as an insecticide, fungicide, and rodenticide on several hundred food and feed crop, ornamental, turf and residential sites. It is also used as a fertilizer or soil amendment for reclaiming alkaline soils.Neem and neem extracts were also used by farmers before evolution of insecticide. Scientists found that it contains Azadirachtin as the key element that kills insecticides. So that was commercializes as Azadirachtin !

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Chrysanthemum flowers contain all kinds of pyrethrum, helped evolve the Synthetic pyrethroids commercially in the eighties.. Scientists thought if disease can kill a man, it can kill an insect too! So the evolution of Bio-pesticides came into existence. Bt (Bacillus thurengensis) is a widely known bio insecticide and now the Bt gene has been incorporated in the varieties of crops to protect themselves from Heliothis, a pest, during 1990’s which had devastated crops (cotton particularly), across the world ! Environmental Pollution, Human health got adversely affected because of indiscriminate use of pesticides by farmers became a matter of concern. The need for developing low dose high potency pesticides developed. Pests started to develop resistance quickly during early 2000 in India. Scientists then thought of controlling population and growth of insect pests introducing IGR insect growth regulators with ovicidal action and paralyzing the insects leading to their death Resistance Development and management: Owing to very short life cycle of not more than 30 days of insect pests and disease and with 200-300 eggs laid by single adult insect, poor pesticide management practices of farmer like under dozing etc, the insect pests developed resistance. They are able to mutate themselves in a manner that they can develop resistance. Thus there is need for controlling insects besides rewww.krishijagran.com


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sistance management. This lead to introduction of combination (combo) products that could break resistance and regulate insect growth and kill them as well. A combination of an IGR and regular insecticide have now become very potent insecticides. Ichiban Crop Science Limited, a startup company, is already making difference in the lives of the farmer. Ichiban Crop Science is a one stop window providing all crop solutions for different kinds of pests prevalent. With its 100 plus products in its portfolio, Ichiban is the only company that has more than 50 products with latest chemistry introduced in India. Ichiban is also first to release a couple of products in the market place. Ichiban also boasts of launching the latest formulation technology products like the Zeon technology (ZC formulation) which no ordinary Pesticide company can formulate. The Zeon technology product Tamasha ZC, a combi product of Thiamethoxam 12.6% and Lambdacyalothrin 9.5 %, efficacy gets enhanced by much more than the normal Lambadacyalothrin which is ordinarily a contact insecticide. This is because the Zeon encapsulated product makes the same ordinary to have translaminar action making it much more potent for the target insects. Ichiban has introduced into the market place effective latest Agriculture products providing effective solution for otherwise difficult to control White flies. Ichiban has three such products with brand name Polarity, Veerappan and Rangoon. For other major pest BPH (Brown Plant hopper) also Ichiban has provided a complete solution. Chousat, with its unique mode of action of paralyzing the hind legs of BPH, blocking its probasis thereby blocking the feeding and also ovicidal action reducing reproduction of future generation of BPH. Other products controlling BPH have been widely accepted by farmers like Doklam and Othello Gold Ichiban has in

its portfolio highly potent with low dose insecticides like Gentleman, Novacrop and Kitakata SG formulation For All kinds of chewing pests like Heliothis, Prodenia, loopers spotted and pink boll worms, borers attacking various crops Cotton, Paddy, Soybean, Sugarcane fruits and veggies Under the disease control banner ichiban boasts of single fungicide that controls multi fungal pathogens of blights, blast, rust, smut, leaf spots etc. Both products of Ichiban Takeshi and Takshila are combo fungicide with broad spectrum control of fungi, In the previous month edition Ichiban talked of the latest EPP technology products, imported from japan, being introduced for the first time in India. A large scale demonstrations were conducted and the results were lauded by the farmers themselves. Indian farmers never thought the production/ yield could be increase by increasing the photosynthetic activity in the leaves of the crop. They were so very much tuned to provide nutrition through soil and increasing yields by effective disease and pest control! Ichiban in a short span of three years has increased its sales three times from the first year of its launch at Rs 100 crores! The success of ichiban has made many a heads to turn! Ichiban has moved from one production facility to two, both already operational, the no. of employees employed have doubled since the time of inception in 2016. The way Ichiban is progressing thus far, the vision of Ichiban being one amongst top ten Indian multinationals will not be a distant dream any more. And also Ichiban is committed to bring Agriculture technology to the door steps of the farmer. With the blessings of the Almighty Ichiban would like to thank all the stake holders for their whole hearted support in its progress since the time of inception!

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Sustainability

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Empowering Farmers To Practice No-Burn Agriculture Seema Paul Managing Director The Nature Conservancy in India

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Sustainability

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Sustainability

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The farmers of North-West India led the Green Revolution that turned the tide of famines in 1960’s and helped us become a food-surplus producing nation. For this, we the people of India, owe the farmers’ a debt of gratitude. In the decades since, the varieties of grains and cereals that ushered in the Green Revolution have resulted in intensive use of fertilisers, pesticides, and large quantities of water for irrigation. These are proving harmful for people and nature, on which the agriculture system significantly depends. For example, the depleting groundwater and deteriorating soil quality, combined with fickle rains owing to climate change, is undermining and could ultimately destroy the food productivity of the farms. In Punjab alone, the water table has declined so dramatically that unless there is a drastic change, the State will run out of water in the next 25 years. These deep issues are begging solutions without delay. They also have a more visible symptom that the public at large (especially the citizens of Delhi) is seized with - the air quality crisis to which burning of the crop residue by farmers in NW India is a significant contributor. In 2009, in an effort to reduce ground water extraction, the governments of Punjab and Haryana mandated that the timing of rice planting must coincide with monsoon rains. This shift, while reducing water consumption, left farmers with a short window of about 15-20 days to

Do you have a solution to beat Delhi’s air pollution? This space is all yours 18 NOVEMBER 2019

harvest rice, dispose of its residues, and plant the subsequent wheat crop. Burning has since been viewed by the farmers as the cheapest and quickest way for them to accomplish this and has been widely adopted. Current estimates indicate that 23 million tonnes of rice residue are burned each year in Punjab, Haryana and Western UP alone. Apart from air pollution, which has been linked to chronic respiratory health issues and increased mortality rates, the practice diminishes soil health and long-term agricultural productivity, and contributes to climate change. Thus, it impacts the health and livelihood of millions of farmers, as well as, hundreds of millions of people living in cities downwind, especially in New Delhi and the National Capital Region. The Nature Conservancy Centre – India (TNC-India), in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA), and a host of other relevant stakeholders started to review the available options for tackling the crop residue burning in 2017. With the ultimate goal of ushering in conservation agriculture practices to address the challenges resulting from the Green Revolution, TNC-India and its partners decided to undertake research that would allow us to advance the most cost-effective and scalable solutions on-the-ground. Through a series of farmer and policy-maker dialogues organized by the partners, we worked with farmers, leading economists, finance and policy experts and conservation and natural resource management practitioners to explore the challenge and its solutions. Our analysis, captured in a resultant publication, found the Happy Seeder, a conservation agriculture technology that manages rice residue on site, to be the most scalable option . We then advanced a deeper analysis by engaging the farmers in surveys. TNC-India led a review from 29 researchers to analyse the results of these surveys and concluded that the best and most-scalable solution to manage such large volumes of crop residues across millions of hectares is to utilise it on the field itself and that the Happy Seeder is the most preferable technology for it. Published in the internationally acclaimed journal, Science, this research paper “Fields on fire: Alternatives to crop www.krishijagran.com


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residue burning in India ” evaluated the public and private costs and benefits of 10 alternate farming practices to manage rice residue (burn and non-burn options). It found that the Happy Seeder has the potential of generating an annual maximum profit of Rs. 22,254 per hectare for an average farmer. This research also shows that the Happy Seeder has the largest potential to reduce air pollution and to contribute to a 78% reduction in GHG emissions per hectare from on-farm activities when compared to alternative crop residue management scenarios. Over the last 10 years, the Happy Seeder is a tractor-mounted machine that cuts and lifts rice straw, sows’ wheat into the bare soil, and spreads the straw over the sown area as mulch, all in a single pass after harvesting paddy through combines with super straw management systems (SMS). It therefore allows farmers to sow wheat immediately after their rice harvest without the need to burn any rice residue for land preparation.The use of Happy Seeder is a win-win for the farmers, the environment, and the residents of cities living downwind of NW India, such as the National Capital Region. It has the following advantages: • Reduces additional labour requirement (especially for application of agro-chemicals), fuel (saves 10 litres of fuel mainly diesel per ha), www.krishijagran.com

chemical fertilizer use and pre-sowing irrigation requirements (saves almost half a million litres of water per hectare), which results in the 22,254 INR cost savings per hectare referenced above. • Improves soil organic matter over time, which enhances soil health, productivity potential and soil biodiversity. • Reduces green-house gas emissions and air pollution from PM2.5 and PM10 particles, black carbon and obnoxious gasses. Convinced by these benefits, in 2018 the government of India had announced a two-year subsidy of INR 1,151 crores in the Union Budget to promote the adoption of in-situ crop residue management machinery including the Happy Seeder. Since the subsidy was offered by the government, the uptake of this technology has increased ten-fold from 1,000 units in January 2018 to 10,000 units by December 2018. However, it has not yet translated to completely eliminating the practice of burning. The subsidy has partly addressed a major financial barrier for farmers. However, other barriers still exist, such as lack of knowledge of profitable no-burn solutions (including the Happy Seeder) and impacts of burning, uncertainty about new technologies, and constraints in the supply-chain and rental markets/ service provisions for crop residue management machineries. NOVEMBER 2019

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To address these barriers and informed by our scientific analyses, TNC - India and its partners have designed an initiative called “Harnessing the power of Agricultural Residues through Innovative Technologies” (HARIT). With support from the Tata Trusts, we have set the ambitious target of achieving zero-burn agriculture through the use of Happy Seeders by 2024. To achieve this, we are creating ‘clusters’ of 150 zero-burn villages across seven districts and conducting focused communication and educational activities in 700 additional villages in Punjab and Haryana to eradicate burning crop residue in the winter. We expect to bring about changes in these clusters by raising awareness regarding the use of Happy Seeder, field demonstration and trainings on Happy Seeder use on farms and working towards improving service delivery of Happy Seeders to increase its access in the field. Of course, the transition to make the Happy Seeder mainstream will not be easy. Our work will focus on engaging with all stakeholders, providing an interface between farmer groups and the agricultural experts and providing the handholding needed to help farmers transition to using the new technology in the areas identified. Through coordinated public and private actions, India has an opportunity to eliminate burning, increase

farmer income and transition to more sustainable agriculture, while also addressing the urgent problem of seasonal air pollution. India’s efforts can provide lessons for other countries facing similar risks and challenges. In the long run, India will also have to make efforts to overcome underlying systemic challenges facing agriculture sector. These include shifting to a more diversified cropping system that is not water intensive; aligning policies related to agricultural practices to reduce clashes and key policy reforms in the agricultural sector.

Pollution is Nothing But the Resources we Are Not Harvesting. We allow them to disperse Because we’ve been Ignorant of their value. ~ Buckminster Fuller

Seema Paul is Managing Director of The Nature Conservancy in India. Since 2015, The Nature Conservancy in India has been advancing projects to support India’s efforts to develop win-win solutions for people and nature. We work closely with the Indian government, research institutions, NGOs, private sector organisations and local communities to develop science-based, on-the-ground, scalable solutions for some of the country’s most pressing environmental challenges. (To more about our work please visit our website at https://www.tncindia.in/about-us/) 20 NOVEMBER 2019

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Renault Targets Rural India and Country Roads to Grow Sales

have seen strong recognition among customers and industry experts which turned it to one of the most awarded automotive brands in a single year in India.

Venkatram Mamillapalle Country CEO & Managing Director

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n the midst of the ongoing slowdown of Automobile Industry, the Indian subsidiary of French Carmaker ‘Renault’ is planning to target the Indian rural markets and country roads. Renault, the leading European brand in India sees tremendous potential in these new and emerging markets, which will play a key role in Company’s sales strategy. Venkatram Mamillapalle, Country CEO & Managing Director, Renault India Operations says, “With the launch of Renault TRIBER, we will enter the largest and the fastest growing segment of the Indian automobile market. The leading European brand in India has launched ‘Renault TRIBER’ at an attractive starting price of INR 4.95 lakhs which will be available in four trims - RXE, RXL, RXT and RXZ. Renault TRIBER is part of Renault’s product offensive strategy, which is developed keeping in mind the mid-term objective of doubling the sales volume to 200,000 units annually in India.

Renault has also launched the all-new KWID at an attractive price starting at INR 2.83 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi). After the tremendous success of Kwid in India, the all-new Kwid is a breakthrough product in terms of design, innovation and modernity, while offering even more value and best-in-class cost of ownership. Built on the pillars of attractiveness and innovation, KWID has been a game-changing product for Renault in India with 3-lakh+ happy customers. The all-new KWID is bolder, more stylish and comes loaded with many first-in-class features. The all-new KWID is available in both 0.8L and 1.0L SCe (Smart Control efficiency) powertrains with manual and automated transmission options. Renault India is launching Triber and New Kwid in 330 small rural towns/tehsils in 18 States across India wherein customers can come and take the test ride of the vehicle. This initiative is generating enormous responses wherein farmers, rural traders & Govt. employees are coming to see the car and making the booking on the spot as they find it great value for money and very appropriate for rural markets.

Moreover, it comes with some unique feature such as EASYFIX seats, SUV Skid plates, LED instrument cluster, 1.0-liter petrol engine along with a low total cost of maintenance. While comes to the safety part, Renault TRIBER is built with several safety features including a class leading offering of 4 airbags. It is quite notable that while other Auto makers are trying to grab the attention of urban class, Renault is trying to firm its grip in rural India and country roads. Renault India’s product line up and services www.krishijagran.com

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The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Sridhar Radhakrishnan Director, Thanal, Coordinator (Campaigns & policy), Save our Rice Campaign

Source:ASEAN

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The Latest Gamble in the Global Trade Game !

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AUSTRALIA BRUNEI CAMBODIA CHINA INDIA INDONESIA JAPAN KOREA LAOS MALAYSIA MYANMAR NEWZEALAND PHILIPPINES SINGAPORE THAILAND VIETNAM NOVEMBER 2019

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he RCEP or the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is the latest of the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that India is negotiating as part of a 16 nation trade deal. The ASEAN or the Association of Southeast Nations comprising of 10 countries namely, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, all of with whom we already have a Indo-ASEAN FTA is part of RCEP as well. The other nations that are part of this treaty are the large industrial economies like China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. This treaty by demographics covers nearly half the worlds population and one-third the global economy.

rest of the nations - ASEAN countries, Japan and South Korea wanting 90% of products to be covered. Its also clear that over a stipulated time, the tariffs have to be fully eliminated. India already has comprehensive free-trade agreement with the ASEAN nations, as well as Japan and South Korea.

Discussions that have been on for six years now, is in its final stages, and the treaty is expected to be ready for signing by the year end. Going by the experience of the earlier FTAs that India has signed with various nations, and also the extent to which the trade is sought to be liberalised by removing tariffs for imports, the RCEP is expected to have the worst impact for various manufacturing, agriculture, dairy and fisheries sectors in India. None of the earlier FTAs signed by India has benefitted us in terms of overall trade gains.

This situation itself does not auger well for India and its primary and secondary production sector. Only the service sector it is learnt would gain, though not significantly, if we were to go by experiences of all the earlier FTAs, including with ASEAN, Japan and Korea.

The trade deal and the drafts that go into discussions have never been made public and one of the strong criticism about most trade deals, especially the Free Trade Agreements or Regional Trade Agreements is the secrecy that shrouds it. RCEP negotiations are done under absolute secrecy and texts or parts of it that the external world gets are leaked documents. FTAs in principle, as the name suggest demand full elimination of import tariffs for all products that are sought to be exported to party nations. And this may be brought to force immediately or over a period of time as is negotiated. But most nations have products and livelihoods related to it that needs to be protected from imports, that could bring down domestic prices, eliminate the markets and even destroy all prospects of future investment, production and growth of that sector. It is now learnt from leaked documents that the biggest of the benefitting nations, China has demanded duty reduction or elimination on 80% of the goods imported, which India seem to have agreed to.Similarly, Australia and New Zealand wanting 86% of goods with tariff reduction/elimination and the 24 NOVEMBER 2019

The last of the negotiations meetings just concluded in Bangkok on 11th and 12th October could not conclude the treaty as expected, due to India’s strong position on some of the proposals, especially related to opening of market access. It is learnt that out of the 25 chapters in the text, 19 of them have been resolved and agreed upon and 6 remain in contention.

Various reports of Government agencies itself show that the Indo-ASEAN FTA was not beneficial for India, and that the trade deficit is increasing by the year. This means India’s value of exports to these nations falls much below the value of imports from them. This is quite contrary to what was projected when the treaty was signed in August 2009. At a micro-level, for many products that saw imports surging from ASEAN nations, our own domestic products were affected by lowered prices, which eventually translates to producers being impacted. Kerala, for instance clearly saw the fall in rubber prices with cheap rubber being dumped into India from Vietnam and Indonesia, cheap mports of Cardamom and Black pepper from Sri Lanka and ASEAN countries or with coconut oil cakes coming-in from the Philippines and Indonesia. The opening of the markets to palm oil and the effect of the same on coconut farmers in Kerala and the groundnut farmers in Tamilnadu is also a case in point. All this has seriously hurt the farmers. India’s trade deficit with the ASEAN countries and others in the RCEP deal is at $105 billion (Rs 7.46 lakh crore) as in 2018-19. Five years ago, in 2013-14 it stood at $54 billion ( Rs 3.83 lakh crore). In just five years, the trade deficit doubled. This was also the period when the tariffs with ASEAN came down in a phased manner. Now, while India’s export to ASEwww.krishijagran.com


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AN nations is 20% of India’s total exports, the imports from ASEAN nations to India is 35% of all imports.

their massive production of milk and other dairy products. This would lead to a crisis among the dairy farmers.

China which is a partner in the RCEP is the biggest pressure to open India’s markets, but we are already a very large importer of products from China, with the biggest share of trade deficit. In Kerala, for instance, we know that products as minor as even rubber bands, toys, idols, and even coffins from China are common in the market. Out of the $ 105 billion trade deficit thats already there with RCEP countries half of it, $ 53 billion is due to China alone.

The Indian dairy sector is the highest producer of milk in the world and is growing at an annual average of 6.4% in the last four years compared to global growth rate of 1.7% according to the Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Giriraj Singh. There are atleast 8 crore households engaged in milk production in India, most of them being in the landless, small or marginal farmers category. India is also not a major exporter of dairy products with its contribution to global exports at just 0.01% only.

The negotiations it is learnt have reached a stage where India is asking for providing a safety valve to cover Chinese imports. The point of contention being on how many products. Even with 60-65 % of products proposed now, we will face a hurricane of destruction in India’s industries, agriculture, dairy and other allied sectors. And the eerie matter is, we dont know which products and how much is the trade-offs. We also dont know what is it, meaning benefitting what sectors, that this trade-offs are being done for and whether we have the strength to even take advantage. Data from the last five years clearly gives us the answer – No. The major sectors that have come out openly in protest are the dairy sector and the steel industry. The NDDB running the Amul Cooperative, India’s pride in the dairy sector have categorically asked the Government not to go ahead with this treaty. More than 75,000 women dairy farmers from Gujarat have sent postcards to the Prime Minister urging him to exclude dairy products from the RCEP. They fear that cheap dairy products from Australia and New Zealand would destroy their livelihood. In the times of the agrarian crisis, in many regions in India, it was the milk production that kept the farming economy live at the local level. For instance, in Wyanad in Kerala, which was hit with a crisis before 2005, and atleast 2000 farmers had suicided, one of the saviour was the milk production that families adopted and the local procurement of the same started by the Milk cooperatives under the state-run Milma. This gradually turned into a revolution of sorts, with Kerala almost reaching self sufficiency in milk production, had it not been been for the floods of 2018. Both Australia and New Zealand is eyeing the Indian market for dumping www.krishijagran.com

Compare this with the Australian figures of just 5700 dairy farms employing just 43,000 people. And the fact that they have milk to export, but we have 8 crore housholds lives to protect. No wonder that even from within the Government, Giriraj Singh has demanded that dairy be kept out of RCEP. The Swadeshi Jagram Manch, an influential wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has decared their outright objection to the RCEP. Most farmers federations have already raised their objections to Goverment going ahead with the negotiations. Many Parliamentarians have raised objections through letters to the Minister of Commerce, asking for discussions in the Parliament and in the States before signing the treaty. The Government of Kerala through its Minister for Agriculture V S Sunilkumar, has been in the last three years repeatedly writting to the Central Government asking for consultations and consent from States before going ahead with the treaty. And in the latest show of protest, the Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan has also expressed the State’s disaproval of going ahead with the treaty. Both the Karnataka Government as well as the Farmers Commission from Punjab has asked the Centre to desist from going ahead with the treaty. Apart from repeated assurances from the Centre, there seems to be no indication that the Centre is planning to consult with the farmers groups or the States or even the parliament. Agriculture, as per the Constitution of India, is a state subject, and when farmers get pushed into a crisis, it is the state governments that are mainly left to contend with adverse repercussions. The Kerala Government is spending nearly Rs 500 crores to offset the price fall in rubber NOVEMBER 2019

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due to the Indo-ASEAN treaty. Therefore, it is imperative that Central Government must open up consultations before signing the treaty. Some of the serious concerns around the RCEP is - The RCEP will permanently bring down import duties on most agricultural commodities to zero, some immediately, some over a priod of time. - Many countries are looking to dump their agricultural produce in India - sectors like dairy, which support livelihoods of millions of our marginal farmers, especially women, are under grave threat. Similar is the case with plantation products. Nations want full market access in India for most of their products. Much of these products are heavily subsidised or have a very

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different but cheaper production ecosystem in these countries, making them cheaper. This will destroy the domestic farmers and industry. - Seed companies will get more powers to protect their Intellectual Property Rights, and farmers would be criminalised when they save and exchange seeds, a right they now enjoy without any IPR controls over genetic material. - Foreign corporations could bypass national courts and sue our governments for favouring our own farmers and workers at private arbitration tribunals via Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms that are being discussed.

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- There is unconfirmed apprehension that foreign investors would be able to purchase farmland and foreign corporations might also get support in government/public procurement of goods and services. - The treaty could lead to a new exodus of supermarkets and hypermarkets thus impacting small retail traders even further. - That the RCEP negotiations are done in complete secrecy makes matters worse. Neither the experts, nor civil groups working on these sectors have been able to see the text under negotiations. It is said that this has not been discussed even with the concerned departments and has been guarded in secrecy by the Commerce Ministry.As far as states like Kerala, being a cash crop driven agrarian economy, are concerned, the RCEP could seriously affect rubber, pepper, cardomom, coconut, milk and their allied products as well as industry. It could also affect fisheries and related industries. The other manufacturing industries that are under threat, at a national scale itself, is the electrical goods, plastic, iron and steel, aluminium industries. Industries related to mud, clay, man-made fibre, bamboo and wood could also face serious impacts.

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It is in this context that industry based associations, farmers organisations, the dairy sector and the fisheries sector have appealed to the Government of India not to sign the RCEP treaty that is a threat to their livelihoods. India is reeling under an economic slowdown which has even hit some of our most vibrant sectors such as automobiles, FMCGs etc, not to forget that the agrarian and rural side has been in a state of crisis for atleast 2 decades. Added to this is the climate events that did not spare any part of the nation and threatens to repeat itself year after year. It would be such a grave mistake then if the nation decides to sign the treaty. As a farmer tweeted out recently “Free Trade is never free, it cost our lives�. There is no immediate demand of any justifiable nature to sign this treaty, except probably the pride of being seen to be playing into a global galary of diplomacy. We as a nation has done this before in earlier treaties, especially the Indo-ASEAN, and lost out miserably. This time, let better sense prevail, as the RCEP is much bigger, covers one-third of global economy, but much more sinister, as it could cost the lives and livelihood of more than half of India’s population.

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Ecological Restoration of Farm 1 Nachiappan Ramanathan, 2 Saleela Patkar 3 Mansha Viradia and 4 Sujata Goel

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lands in Kodagu district, Karnataka

Heavy Rains hit Coffee Production in many parts of Kodagu www.krishijagran.com

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odagu District of Karnataka State, Southern India, was hit by very severe storms during the Monsoons in August 2018. The violent and incessant rains, heavy winds and subsequent landslides in the northern part of the district, left immense expanse of lands completely wasted, and mud covered the forest, plantation and agricultural areas in several villages, including Kaloor and Hebbettageri where we have our farms. Many families ran, abandoning homes, farms and livestock, and were able to save their lives. However, their livelihoods have been lost. It now becomes imperative that healing the lands is the first step towards restoring the livelihoods of these people who depend on the agricultural economy of Kodagu. While restorative programs are being implemented in areas which are totally devastated, we are adopting ecologically sustainable practices to revive farm lands which can still support the growth of crops.Kodagu is blessed with Sholai forests, which over the years, have become fragmented into plantation lands. Most farmers here cultivate crops that can be grown under the shade of rain forest trees. These include coffee, cardamom, black pepper, vanilla, and fruits and vegetables in the relatively open areas. Ecological farming allows for cultivating crops along sustainable principles, regenerating ecosystem services like reviving soils, replenishing humus and soil nutrients, recharging local water bodies, and conservation of biodiversity, which from the farmers’ perspective is primarily responsible for a balanced pest-predator relationship. Low input agricultural systems aim at reducing the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides in order to improve sustainable production and ecosystem health. These principles form the basis of agroecology.

The roots of most land plants are colonized by mycorrhizal fungi that provide mineral nutrients in exchange for carbon. Livestock animals are intrinsic to organic farms. Their gut microbes have evolved to digest green and other organic matter to simpler compounds. Introduction of these microbes through animal waste (cow and goat dung) into the farm composting system accentuates compost quality and reduces composting time. Making compost Composting contributes to the active buildup of humus in the soil. The weeds, which are abundant on our fields, provide a continuous source of biomass which we use as a nutritional supplement for the livestock. The waste from the animal houses is used for enhancing the compost quality as it brings in the bacteria and fungi which actively break down organic matter. This activity is further amplified by drenching the compost heaps with Effective Microorganisms, the preparation of which is described later. We prepare compost by mixing together weeds, farm waste, any oil cakes (neem or karanj), wood ash, animal dung and EM. This is thoroughly mixed, heaped compactly, then covered and again turned by mixing on the 3rd day (1a). The heap is covered by a tarp to keep moisture and heat in. Generally, the heap is opened in 6-8 weeks, revealing sweet smelling friable compost which can be applied directly around the base of the crop plants, mulched, and if possible, watered. About 5-8 kg of 1a. Mixing compost and biochar

Ecological Farming Practices In this article, we propose to focus on the two main aspects of agroecology which dominate farming: feeding the plants and keeping them disease free. Traditional farming focuses on enriching the soil. The tropical rain forest soils, though fragile, are extremely rich in microbial diversity. While the larger animals like earthworms, insect grubs and others break down large particulate matter, the fungi and bacteria mineralize and provide nutrients to plants. 30 NOVEMBER 2019

1b. Applying compost around the base of a cardamom plant www.krishijagran.com


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Fig. 2. Making Biochar on the farm

compost per adult cardamom or coffee plant is used (1b). This will feed the plants for the next 4-6 months. Biochar Compost can be fortified with biochar. Waste wood can be converted into biochar under controlled, incomplete combustion in an oxygen-limited environment. This process is known as pyrolysis. As a soil amendment, biochar can be used for sequestering carbon dioxide and virtually creates a permanent carbon sink (this can last 1,000-2,000 years). Biochar has adsorbent qualities which increases the ion exchange capacity making www.krishijagran.com

nutrients available to plants which would otherwise get leached in high rainfall areas such as ours. The microscopic pores in biochar can also provide habitat for bacteria and fungi. Biochar can be produced through various methods and in kilns of different designs. We have tried a controlled open burn and used Top-Lit Updraft Kiln (TLUD) (Fig. 2) that cost anywhere between Rs. 250 to Rs. 20000 a unit. TLUD kilns are very efficient in converting chunky woody matter into biochar in a short time and with low smoke. The biochar produced on the farm is pulverised and soaked in liquid manures and microbial solutions, before being applied to the soil at rates of at least 3% of soil weight. Alternatively, we use biochar to fortify the compost as it increases NOVEMBER 2019

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its ion exchange capacity. Its addition it has been found to dramatically improve soil structure, increase water holding capacity during dry season and enable prolific root growth (2). Nutritive mixes to recharge soils and enhance plant growth and vigour Despite the integral role of the soil microbiome in crop productivity, we still have a very limited understanding of the diverse groups of microbes which interact within our plant world. Recent research shows that microbes influence plant growth, vitality, resistance to diseases, resilience to change in temperature and conditions of drought. We regularly prepare different microbial cultures to use on our plantations, and have found these simple to make and effective in enhancing growth and productivity.

soil Make volume to 200 litres with water, stir, use after 7 days. Pre-soaking seeds in Beejamrutha (diluted 1: 50 in water) enhances percentage germination and survival rates. 3. Panchagavya is a traditional mix initially formulated by Dr Natrajan (2003), and is remark3. Panchagavya preparation showing main ingredients

1. Jeevamrutha: Cow dung 10 kg Cow urine 10 litres Lime and other fruits chopped and mashed into mixture (2-4 kg) Local unprocessed jaggery 2 kg Gram flour 2 kg Forest soil about 500 g Make up volume to 200 litres, stir as frequently as possible, at least 3 times a day, in clockwise and then anti-clockwise directions. Ideally, one can attach an air tube through a simple bubbler used in home fish tanks; this keeps the suspension well aerated and fermentation occurs rapidly. Devakumar et al (2014) showed that highest bacterial numbers were recorded on the day of mixing, and later between the 9th and 12th days after preparation. Their studies indicated that such microbial preparations had high numbers of Nitrogen fixers, Phosphate solubilizers, fungi and actinomyces which are known to mobilize soil nutrients required by plants. 2. Beejamrutha Soak overnight Cow dung 5 kg in 20 litres of water Lime 50 gm in 1 litre water Next day, squeeze cow dung into the limesoaked water Add cow urine 10 litres Mix well, add Jaggery 2 kg, handful of forest 32 NOVEMBER 2019

4. Pepper vines showing recovery from wilt disease 3 weeks after Jeevamrutha spray

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able for stimulation of plant growth and imparting resistance to diseases. Cow dung 5 kg Cow urine 3 litres Curds from cow milk 2 litres Cow milk 2 litres Cow ghee 500 gm Local Jaggery (unprocessed) 2 kg Sugarcane juice 3 litres Tender coconut water 3 litres Toddy (optional) 2 litres Bananas or any pulpy ripe fruit 4-5 kg Leaves of pest repellent local plants like Ocimum (Tulasi), Lobelia (wild tobacco), Vitex, Citrus, Lantana, Pongamia, etc. Make up volume to 200 litres with water, incubate in warm shady place, stir repeatedly in clockwise and anti-clockwise direction 2 to 3 times a day. Ready to use in 21 days (3). Sprays of 1000 litres per acre work well for soil regeneration, as plant growth boosters, keeping diseases at bay and may be done at frequencies of once in 2-3 months. If all is well, 2 applications a year are sufficient.We like to add cultures of Pseudomonas flourens, Paecilomyces,

and Trichoderma to the microbial preparations as these bacteria and fungi help control plant diseases caused by fungal pathogens like Fusarium, Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia and root knot nematodes, Melodogynae. In fact, if mustard seeds are broadcast in the field interspersing any crop, and then ploughed into the soil after the life cycle is over, soil microbes work on the mustard roots and stems to release isothiocyanates which are known to supress growth of Rhizoctonia, Pythium and other such fungal pathogens which cause damping off and root rot diseases of several crops (Kirkegaard et al, 1996). Trouble can hit a farm any time. Its best to have a few standard protocols to overcome these in sustainable ways so that the infestations do not return. Dieback of crops like Black pepper caused by Phytophthora and then subsequently secondary bacterial infections (4), or Stem rot or “bleeding” of coconut trees, can be caused in different plants by a range of pests and pathogens. If the disease has progressed, it is desirable to remove soil around the base of the plant up to 2-3 feet, and fill this with neem cake, mulching over that by neem leaves. Basal drenches with Jeevamrutha (10-15 litres) assisted by liquid cultures of Trichoderma and Pseudomonas (500 ml diluted in 10 litres of water) help curtail the problem. This drench needs to be repeated every fortnight until the plants begin to heal. 4. Fish Meal stock Another nutrition enhancing spray can be prepared by taking waste from fish (heads, gut, etc) and soak in molasses or melted jaggery. About a kilogram of fish waste can be immersed in a litre so that it is completely covered up to the brim of a container which can be sealed tight to maintain anaerobic conditions. We generally add about 50 ml of EM (Effective Microorganisms) to this. In about 3 weeks, one can open to find that all the solids have dissolved to yield an enriching semi solid which can be diluted into 200 litres water, ready to be sprayed on plants. Foliar sprays or basal drenching are good ways to get the nutrients rich in amino acids to the plants in a most effective way. 5. Effective Microorganisms This mixture of “good bacteria” were first put together by a Japanese Professor of Horticul-

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ture, Dr Teruo Higa in the early 1980s. These are select soil bacteria, cultured on molasses and can be used in agriculture to enhance plant growth, make them more resilient to pathogens, for aquaculture, poultry and animal husbandry. Its use in agriculture has had several beneficial impacts and has been extensively researched by APNAN (Asia Pacific National Agriculture Network) in Bangkok, Thailand. EM is now commercially available in 1 litre packs and can be grown in jaggery or molasses (100 ml stock solution cultured in 1 kg jaggery per 10 litres of water). The bacteria multiply in a week yielding a turbid and sweet-smelling suspension. This can be diluted 1: 500 times for spraying on plants, and 1:200 times for saturating compost heaps for rapid maturation. We have found that regular use of EM promotes germination, plant growth, flowering, fruiting and ripening in crops by making nutrients available, and enhances resistance of crops to local pests and diseases. We wash our animal houses with dilute solutions of EM and as a result the houses stay very clean and devoid of pests or foul smells. On Nachiappan’s farm, manure solutions are fed to the plants through 1 foot long bamboo pieces or plastic pipes inserted near the base of the plants (5). This ensures direct delivery to the root zone, maximizing the effect of the nutrient supply, and safeguarding the plants from being dug up by animals like wild boar which are common on farms in this region. Green Manure A cost effective way of maintaining nutritive balance in the agricultural field is by broadcasting seeds of legumes to encourage a ground cover of green manure. Seed balls provide an efficient way of establishing such a green cover. Seeds of horse gram, cow pea, marigold, hemp, and any nitrogen-rich plant may be used. These are rolled into a mixture of clay and cow dung into tennis ball sized balls and broadcast on the field. The clay and cow dung ensure better survival rates. This method also helps in restoration of denuded areas like the land slide areas of our district. As the nitrogen-fixing legumes grow, their roots get inhabited by Rhizobia and other microbes, bringing life back to the soil.

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5. Bamboo segments inserted into ground

Given the unique geographical location of Kodagu district in the Western Ghats of southern India, and the unique selection of crops like coffee and spices which can be cultivated in the shade of rain forest trees, an agroecological approach is the only way of saving the rich biological diversity and the fragile landscape of this region. The enormous impact of climate change and the devastation it has caused will only be amplified over the next few years unless checked now. We cannot afford a “business as usual” attitude any more. References Devakumar, N., Shubha, S., Gouder, S.B. and Rao, G.G.E. (2014) Microbial analytical studies of traditional organic preparations beejamrutha and jeevamrutha. In Proceedings of the 4th ISOFAR Scientific Conference “Building Organic Bridges” at the 18th Organic World Congress, Turkey. Kirkegaard, J.A., Wong, P.T.W. and Desmarchelier, J.M. (1996) In vitro suppression of fungal root pathogens of cereals by Brassica tissues. Plant Pathology 45 (3) 593-603. Natrajan, K. (2003) Panchakavya. Other India Press, Mapusa, Goa.

1 nachi.ramanathan@gmail.com Kumaran Estate, Hakkathur Village, Madikeri 571201, Karnataka 2 bellachu@gmail.com 19/71 Old Siddapur Road, Madikeri 571201, Karnataka 3 manshaviradia@gmail.comMojo Plantation, Galibeedu, POBox101, Madikeri 571201, Karnataka 4 sujatamaya@gmail.com Mojo Plantation, Galibeedu, PO Box 101, Madikeri 571201, Karnataka

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Cooperative

SAHAJA AHARAM

Cooperatising Organic Supply and Value Chains Dr. GV Ramanjaneyulu1

Agricultural Scientist working with Centre for Sustainable Agriculture and can be reached at ramoo@csa-india.org

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Food is only as Safe as it is Grown

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afety and health of food is everyone’s concern in addition to taste. Food and lifestyle related diseases are increasingly becoming top cause of death in India. We are what we eat and what we eat is what is grown. The ecological foot prints of food before it reaches is as important as what it does to you as a consumer after you eat.

High agrochemical use, high water use and high energy use in agriculture are having severe impact on environment. The shift towards agroecological approaches can make food production process healthier. What food does to the farmers who produced it is another matter of concern. In the processes of addressing these two concerns farmers and consumers in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana have come together to form to create a community owned and managed enterprise ‘Sahaja Aharam’.

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In 2008, after initial successes in scaling up of non-pesticidal management and organic farming in Andhra Pradesh and other states, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture made an attempt to collectivise farmers to reach consumers directly by setting up a farmers’ market in Hyderabad where farmers can directly sell to consumers in 2007. Soon we realised the difficulties with individual small farmers with small marketable surpluses connected to individual consumers. We started organising farmers and consumers into cooperatives and bringing them on to a common platform to work with cooperation. The farmers cooperatives spread across several district share common frame work of quality management, pool resources and sell under the same brand name ‘Sahaja aharam’. The consumer cooperative brought together consumers

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who are interested in being part of the initiative to support farmers by directly buying from farmers, invest in consumer cooperative which can be used as working capital and share responsibilities in building market opportunities. The first store was started by the Sahaja Aharam Consumer Cooperative in Hyderabad in 2009. The farmers cooperatives were federated into Sahaja Aharam Producer Company (SAPCO) in 2014. Today the Producer Company sells organic produce directly through the retail stores owned and franchised. The business model is to build organised producer and consumer communities who move towards each other in the supply chain, build a trust and cooperative based relation than a competitive and policing relationship which modern markets impose. Today, in the conventional market the farmers share in consumers price is less than 25% in primary produce. The rest of 75% goes to various middle men who generally do not add much value but take significant margins. These include aggregators, processors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers etc. The situation of organised organic market is no different. While the Indian organic market is growing by more than 20% per annum the benefit is not much transferred to the farmers. Sahaja Aharam made an attempt to break this and create a supply chain which can increase the farmers share to more than 50% in the consumer price while rest of it is spent on the processing,

further building capital and retailing. How Sahaja Aharam Producer Cooperatives operate? Sahaja Aharam Producer Company is a federation of registered producer cooperatives whose members are into any form of agroecological production like organic/natural farming, sustainable agriculture, biodynamic farming or permaculture. The members are encouraged to follow an incremental approach to become fully chemical free and are supported through a strong extension system. The cooperatives are formed with share capital from the members and the cooperative invests in the producer company. The cooperatives develop a production plan based on their agroecological conditions and develops a businessplan for marketing. The farmers cooperative provide support for farmers to access all basic services-extension, finance, inputs and market. In some areas on a pilot centres for providing custom hiring of services like farm machines and skilled labor. Farmers who adopt organic/natural farming practices are brought under organic certification (both PGS/ICS discussed separately). While market linkages are created for all farmers for their produce, the value addition and retail marketing support are restricted only to the farms which are more than three years into organic production and are certified either under PGS/ICS. The role of producer cooperatives is to provide support services to plan, organise and strengthen production and aggregation of produce. How federation operates? Any registered farmer cooperative can become a share holder of the Sahaja Aharam Federation if they are into organic/natural farming and abide by the cooperative principles. The federation provides support to its member cooperatives in providing last mile delivery of support services. The Federation is managed professionally, organises business operations -aggregation, value addition, marketing. The infrastructure like processing and storage facilities are organised as ‘Food hubs’. Currently Sahaja Aharam operates four such hubs one in Bhoddam, Vijayanagaram district and Naguladinne, Kurnool district of Andhra

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Pradesh and Kallem, Jangoan district of Telangana and Dorli, Wardha district of Maharashtra. Each hub has storage, integrated processing and packing facilities. Federation also operates distribution centres in Hyderabad and Vishakapatnam for supplying produce to the retail stores. In addition to the Sahaja Aharam Retail stores, the federation also supplies to other bulk buyers. The federation apart from raising loans from banks and financial institutions also raise loans from individuals who can extend loans not just for financial returns but also for social and ecological returns at a low interest rate. The federation owns retail stores in Hyderabad and vishakapatnam and also franchise the stores to small entrepreneurs. The mobile stores go to different living and working complexes at schedule times. Sahaja Aharam also experimented with building communities in few residential complexes where a group of consumers together aggregate their purchases and buy in bulk. In some areas, such aggregation is also done by women entrepreneurs. Sahaja Aharam also has an online store where consumers can place their orders and get delivered at home. How do we engage consumers? Sahaja Aharam consumer cooperative constantly engages the consumers to improve their consumption and purchasing behaviour. Nutritional Counselling sessions, urban gardening, house hold waste management and composting, water harvesting and recycling. Sahaja Aharam also regularly takes up consumer engagement through cooking festivals, exhibitions etc. Sahaja Aharam also engages schools to create awareness in children about healthy consumption.

How to ensure quality? All farmers who are members of cooperatives register themselves for either Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) or Third Party Certification system through Internal Control System (ICS). Under Sahaja Aharam both kinds of certifications follow the same process. 10-15 farmers are organised into a group. Individual farmers maintain records of their operations and the group verifies and gives a collateral guarantee, which means if anyone found to be defaulting, the entire group would be made responsible and again has to follow three years of cycle again. A random sample of 1% of the produce is tested for chemical pesticide and GM crop residues. At Sahaja Aharam, we believe strong quality management system is important if farmers have to reach out to the markets. It is not because market is setting the standards, it also to build accountability when many players are involved. Traceability of produce and Ecological Foot Prints Each packet sold at the Sahaja Aharam stores can be traced back to the farmer group which has grown it. Centre for Sustainable Agriculture has also developed a methodology to quantify the ecological foot prints of food before it reaches the consumer plates. This can help consumers to make more informed and responsible choices while buying. Other experiments

Expanding the basket of products The federation also works on developing various food and non-food products which can be made with locally available material and build skills of the local communities to take up these products as livelihood options. From Sahaja Aharam which broadly covers all food produce including ready to eat snacks and foods, the federation now has Sahaja Soundarya-for personal care products, Sahaja Oushadi-natural health care products and now Sahaja Kala-art forms from natural products. 40 NOVEMBER 2019

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Annual subscriptions, Vegetable boxes, Any Time Food machines, urban vertical gardens How this model is different from other organic businesses? Sahaja Aharam is the first organic retail chain owned by farmers and consumer collectives. It is build on a cooperative model where several players work together for mutual benefit rather than trying to get into a rat race of competition and try to kill each other which is happening in the mainstream markets. The Sahaja Aharam pricing both at farmers end and consumers end is based on fair and equity principles. At farmers level, three price indicators are considered. a. cost of cultivation plus 50%, b. local market price plus 15% and c. 50% of average consumer price in a year and which ever is highest is given to the farmer. Similarly, at consumer end the prices are normally fixed at 15-20% over the local market price for conventional produce, b. 50% over the producer price and c. even out extreme prices of last year. Sahaja Aharam pays more than 50% of the consumer price to the members while many organic

Why organic food is pricy? Discussion about organic food will not end without discussing about pricing. There is a general feeling that organic food is priced high and a premium is paid by the consumer. The prices with which we are comparing are the conventional market prices. A. farmers are always paid low price and market is exploitative that’s one of the reasons we see severe distress in farming, while farmers have a choice to sell in the market and set a price, farmers expect a viable price B. conventional production is subsidised in production, where as organic/natural farmers have to bear all the costs themselves. C. the supply chain is well build for conventional produce where as in organic market each player has to build their own supply chain and infrastructure facilities are also very poor. As a result, prices always goes up. But the worry all of us should have is not about the increased prices, but what is the share of the producer in the price consumer is paying.

What you can do as a consumer? As consumer make right choice of food, buy directly from farmers or farmers cooperatives and that helps both producers and consumers. We do organise trainings for farmers, entrepreneurs and consumers. Interested can contact. Sahaja Aharam http://www.sahajaaharam.com; http://www.facebook.com/sahajaaharam www.krishijagran.com

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Empowering Farmers & Consumers The “Organic Farmers’ Market (OFM)” Way Kavitha Kuruganti Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture

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WO R LD Retailing, with a World of Difference:

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amuna says laughingly that she will follow them to Singapore, if they move there. She ekes out a living by ironing clothes in Adyar in Chennai, travelling about 3kms from Tiruvanmiyur every day. She is single and lives with her daughter. She was referring to Organic Farmers’ Market (OFM), an organic retailing space that she visits regularly for all her grocery and vegetable needs even though they had shifted to Indiranagara year ago. The distance she travels is again about 3 kms.‘So, you won’t look for other organic outlets near your workplace?’ I asked her. She firmly said No. She will buy only in OFM and will follow them all the way to Singapore, if they shift there. Jamuna has become a regular customer after she visited OFM in their earlier outlet space, when they were across the road from her ironing cart. She vouches that all her body aches disappeared after she switched to organic on the advice of a neighbor. The tests and medicines prescribed by the doctors didn’t help, but eating organic food from OFM did, she says. “The vegetables here are my medicines”, she remarks. Why not go to other organic shops closer to her, I was curious to know. “The products are cheaper here, and the young people working in the shop always have a word or two for me. They always make time to talk to me,” she replies promptly. There are standing instructions that Jamuna can pay whatever price she wants to, for the products that she picks up. She has also been told that on days that she cannot travel to Indiranagar, her order will be delivered to her cart. It is another matter that she has chosen not to avail of this offer so far. This is indeed an unusual relationship between a (organic) ‘shop’ and its customer, that too from a lower middle class background. Siva is a 7th Class student and has visited OFM several times with his mother as she is a regular customer in the shop. He understood why organic food is important and inspired by what he saw in OFM, he started tending to a little garden of greens in his courtyard. After the greens grew, he wanted to sell them to OFM customers. OFM promptly set up an exclusive table for him and announced the special sale from their young farmer to all the customers over email. Siva’s greens got sold out in 30 minutes flat. He is a more-inspired boy today and is enthusing his friends to try their hand at growing veggies.

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When was the last time you came across a neighborhood ironing lady shopping regularly at an organic outlet? Or when you saw an urban child so motivated by a “shop” that he decides to grow some greens organically and sell in the shop? Have you seen a shop being able to motivate urban consumers to protest on the streets for the rights of farmers? Did you imagine an organic shop which can remain unpretentious, eco-friendly and small, but still draw in urban middle class consumers in droves? Chennai’s Organic Farmers’ Market (OFM) is all of this and more. GENESIS A group of NRIs discovered themselves scouting around for safe food in Chennai, in the late 2000s, after returning back to India from wherever they were busy working and earning money. Some had vague plans of producing organic food themselves, and thereby greening a patch of earth. It so happened that several of them had also had enough of the rat race and while looking for healthy food for themselves, were also keen on helping the food producers. Severaltrips into Tamil Nadu’s villages in search of organic farmers reiterated one message clearly for them, and this came from the farmers themselves –no need for more people to get into farming and ‘demonstrating’ to fellow farmers how to take up sustainable farming. “Just support us with remunerative markets, fair (priced) www.krishijagran.com


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markets that make us feel dignified about what we are doing right now.”That brought them together to initiate a periodic market with Chennai’s consumers – they did not begin with a swanky air conditioned organic mall. Nor did they invest lakhs of rupees. No. It was a volunteer-driven model where a group of 4-5 individuals (with their spouses pitching in) took the responsibility to scout around for organic farmers in and around Chennai, even lug down the produce in their personal vehicles to the city, set up a few tables in a garage and start selling the produce. The group drew its inspiration from what they have heard and read about Deccan Development Society’s work in Medak district and requested a group of women farmers from there to be present for their inauguration. Thus began reStore. The volunteers would mop up all the unsold produce at the end of each bazaar themselves and gift away to neighbors, friends and an old age home. Slowly, they learnt their “business” but never sold their heart and principles while at it. And there have not been any losses at all from the beginning. reStore only grew steadily over the years, and set the bar high for other organic stores in Chennai and around the country, with its entire approach to retailing being very different. It was retailing that allowed farmers to have a central space in the effort, including often in determining their own, stable price; an effort that sought to provide the greatest share possible of www.krishijagran.com

Ananthoo was one of the founders and active volunteers in reStore. Ananthoo was trained as a telecom engineer and ran his own distributorship in the telecom sector for several years in India, before moving abroad with his wife Sumathy to work in the IT sector. Six years of a comfortable and well-paying life in Switzerland however brought new thoughts too. Around environment, around food production and consumption, around lifestyles, around “giving back” to communities which are feeding us etc. His return to India resulted in the birth of reStore, where along with other founders like RadhikaRammohan, UshaHari, SangeethaSriram etc.,he shaped an exciting journey around empowering both farmers and consumers. Ananthoo realized that it is not enough to have

one well-known retail outlet for all the things that reStore was dreaming about – a paradigmatic change around how producers are supported and consumers behave, in our current economy. Thus started one more journey in Feb 2014 – this time, a cooperative effort between several retail organic outlets, called Organic Farmers’ Market (OFM).Ananthoo hand-picked committed individuals from different parts of Chennai(who wanted to know what they could do to support farmers or for food safety) and created a hub and spoke model of 15 organic retail spaces. NOVEMBER 2019

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The Central unit of OFM in Adyar, apart from retailing was to become a location where several functions would be taken up like procurement, cleaning, processing, packing, storing etc. The retail units were to run with their own investments, but with some norms adhered to. “In the current organic supply chains, each retail unit is often trying to deal with supplies entirely on its own, that too in urban centres where space is of premium value (limiting options for storage). On the other hand, farmers cannot keep their stocks with them for too long and are desperate to dispose them off (not just for space reasons but mainly for cash flow reasons, after having waited out an entire season for incomes to flow in). Meanwhile, there is a whole set of players flourishing in the name of ‘branded organic’ whose ‘organicity’ is not always reliable, and who don’t break any norms related to the mainstream markets out there,including continuing the arm twisting for better prices and credit not even in terms of their packaging and marketing strategies”, explains Ananthoo. Norms that defy the usual markets logic: OFM had several norms laid down at the very beginning which ensured that these retail spaces would not compete with each other but rather cooperate; they would try to cater to (middle) middle class and not just to the elites in a city; they will be as eco- friendly as possible in the running of the shops. This resulted in 15 “hole in the wall” non-descript spaces emerging under the OFM umbrella, with each outlet also having its own name. Each of these were keen not to spend on themselves but give the best possible prices for both farmers and consumers, a win-win-win for everyone. The norms that everyone follows include: • No major investments in setting up and running the outlet (usual investment ranges from Rs. 50000/- to Rs. 200000/-) in terms of infrastructure (décor, furniture, decoration etc.)& stock

protecting the farmers from market volatility. Farmers price the vegetables at the start of every season. Here, all vegetables of a particular category (bhindi, lauki, ridged gourd, brinjal for example, in one category) are priced the same per kilo. A consumer just needs to put in all vegetables in one category into one basket and get them billed at the same rate per kilo. “Hill vegetables” are sold at a higher price, coming from cooler places like Kodaikanal and Ooty (carrots, radish, turnip etc.). The reasoning behind this is not a logistical advantage sought in billing. But to ensure that farmers are protected from the volatility of rigged mainstream markets. There is a predictability involved for the farmers who supply to OFM given that they know what price to expect for their produce. What’s more, there is also a predictability for the consumer’s budgeting on vegetable purchases. Whatever might be the outside market price, consumers of OFM get their vegetables at the same rate throughout the year. This then becomes a win-win option for both the farmer and the consumer, and also for OFM. • Every outlet entrepreneur to take up a allotted set of farm visits for checking ‘organicity’ on a monthly basis • No branded products to be sold, and bulk vending to be taken up as much as possible to avoid usage of packaging materials unnecessarily. The only brands allowed are those of women’s groups and farmers’ collectives • All products to be taken only from the OFM central (Adyar) unit • Outlet entrepreneurs to send customers to their nearest outlet and not try and retain them at a ‘wrong’ outlet • A maximum of 20% margin only to be kept on any item sold, over and above procurement price for the outlet

• Notice board displaying sourcing information to ensure ‘traceability’ of the producers for the benefit of the consumers

• Organise events, or engage consumers in events centrally organized, to create greater knowledge and interaction on chosen issues, and to awaken citizenship.

• Flat slab rate for all vegetables, put into 3 categories of vegetables, to ensure predictability for both consumers and farmers, in addition to

In other ways, these retail outlets in the cooperative would be similar to reStore. Quality of produce would be paid great attention to, start-

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ing from the farmer. The outlets shun the use of credit cards and instead trust the consumers who are not carrying cash with them to do an online transfer or come back with cash the next time. It is often experienced that consumers promptly pay the store whatever is due. However, as an unfortunate fallout of demonetization, the stores have taken to accepting debit cards. These stores collectively strive to break what is the prevalent norm in the regular market – greed, profit and profit alone being the bottom line without any voluntarism, passion or social/ environmental concern; treating the customer as someone to be exploited, rather than building a relationship with customers and grooming them as citizens; exploiting the farmers, rather than cushioning the farmers from rigged and volatile markets; invisibilising the farmers and their contribution, rather than keeping them on the forefront; eco-unfriendly outlet spaces and packaging rather than appreciating that organic is a lot more than poison-free food; creating brands that make more money for investors rather than providing more income for farmers; opaque functioning, rather than transparent and traceable functioning; making organic an elitist fad rather than being affordable to at least the middle class. OFM started in the same garage where reStore was started (and later on moved to a bigger space), with an investment of just ten thousand rupees per store in the coop. 12 youngsters who wanted to be part of the endeavor paid 10000 rupees each, and Ananthoo added an investment of 20,000 rupees to this pool. With this, initial stocks were procured from organic farmers. OFM tries and pays all farmers within 3 days to a week of delivery of produce. When they moved to a bigger space after one year of operation, the new space needed a bigger rental advance/deposit. Around 15 customers paid upfront (10 thousand each)for the house deposit in Adyar. This was repaid in kind, with the customers picking up material from OFM over a period of time – this also ensured a captive market for us, says Ananthoo, with a smile. Also to be noted is that the 1.5 lakhs they got this way was at a negative interest. Nearly all materials in the store were ‘up-cycled’ – almirahs, chairs, computer, cupboards etc. These were gifted by consumers and friends. In OFM, one very often sees a “What OFM Needs” board, with a list of www.krishijagran.com

things needed, to which people contribute. Here, buying new material on behalf of OFM is not allowed, only recycled/upcycled material. OFM functions like a cooperative or collective. It is not a registered body. Regular meetings are held with all those who run the retail stores and all decisions are taken collectively. All members are involved in the decisions to induct new members or introduce new products into the stores. “Two housewives approached me, wanting to run OFM stores and being part of the Coop. It is an employment model now for those who want to support farmers and consumers”, shares Ananthoo. OFM also tried to run stores with a couple of autistic persons, but the effort did not work out. However, a Special School for autistic children has now stepped forward to open a shop. They will also be using organic food for their own children.

I met with Damodharan Chandrasekharan, who runs an OFM outlet by name “LingaBhairavi” in Medavakkam, Chennai. He is a software professional who is also managing the OFM outlet, with the help of his wife Yamuna. Over the weekends, he goes for farm visits as part of this commitment to the cooperative. “I want to do something to support organic farmers and also make sure that consumers get safe food, that too in an affordable manner”, he says. 90% of his shop’s products are without plastic packaging, and the shop is run from his home. He has a regular customer base of 70 to 80 buyers. He also employs two persons on the turnover of around 3 lakhs that the shop has each month. “We keep the overheads as low as we can, including my own margins. I am ready to reduce prices further for patients amongst my consumers”, he says. For the first six months after starting his OFM outlet, Damodharan went to a local Shiva temple thronged by people every weekend, to reach out NOVEMBER 2019

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to public and educate them about safe food and draw them to his shop. “I don’t have to publicise any more. We have a good name and consumers trust us”, he says. It took him 1.5 years to break even but now, he has comfortable margins and he is happy to be part of OFM cooperative. “I feel confident that we are selling only authentic organic products, that I don’t have to deal with small quantities to be procured myself when the central unit can procure larger quantities for all of us. Transport costs are also cheaper this way and my consumers find the prices of organic produce affordable”, Damodharan shared.

ment price is still low, he confesses. It could be just 10%. He also admits a little hitch with the vegetable supplies, for which OFM itself depends on a farmers’ collective in Karnataka. “While we did not ask for an exact break-up of how many smallholders are part of the vegetable supplier group, I think it is mostly smallholders”, he says. Ananthoo mentions that when they first began, vegetables were supplied by farmers about 45kms from Chennai. That has changed with real estate development, which he terms as (Un) real estate! Now vegetables come from as far as 100 to 400kms away, with the Hill vegetables coming from Ootacamund. Pulses and grains are sourced from Gadag/Hubli and wheat from even further away from North Karnataka and Southern Maharashtra. Ananthoo points out that whenever they cater to undesirable consumer demand (for pineapples for example which is not a local produce), they end up reaching out to big farmers to procure from. He rues the fact that they have not been able to change consumer demand based on seasonality of production, especially around fruits.

Gopi Deva, who runs the OFM central unit in Adyar, has responses that are tinged with reality – “we do try and have products every now and then with differential prices after allowing a farmer himself/herself to fix the price. But consumers don’t always respond to the distress and usually decide based on lower price”, he says. Gopi is an IT sector walk-out himself, who opted to become the anchor of OFM in Adyar, so that he could do something meaningful. Over the years, he has developed a knack for assessing consumer preferences and behavior, as well as product quality and reliability. ‘Does OFM buy only from smallholders? Are you sensitive about your support going mainly to marginalized farmers’, I ask GopiDeva.As a policy, OFM buys only from smallholder farmers. The number of women farmers into whose hands we are directly passing on our procure48 NOVEMBER 2019

Around 200 farmers are supported by the OFM Coop. At the farmer end, OFM has been able to facilitate the setting up of processing units in a couple of instances, and also began working with collectives set up by NGOs. Supply of processed produce to OFM has given greater incomes to farmers as in the case of Pudukottai and Sirkazhi farmers. While individual farmers find it difficult to take up processing, OFM has been nudging farmers to get into collectives and has supported such collectives. In these days of much FPO (Farmer Producer Organizations) talk all around, why is OFM not a farmer- owned enterprise, I wanted to know from Ananthoo. Ananthoo responded by saying that associated farmers get much more here than they would get in an FPO as dividend or bonus. “It is also somewhat unfair to expect farmers to figure out about higher profitability all by themselves, and very often, these FPOs are actually controlled by others. Here, we don’t expect farmers to perform additional roles than what they are already handling. Why should they? We make sure that consumers are sensitive to their contribution and support them properly. This is also a new cooperative www.krishijagran.com


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model but at the consumer end, between retailers. Sitting in an urban centre, this is the best that we can do for farmers”, he says. He goes on to explain that they support farmers associated with them in other ways – sometimes by way of providing small loans/financial assistance against which they send their produce later on. OFM also organizes funds through crowd-funding for other investments of farmers like restoring an open well, or digging a new one. OFM is a successful proof of concept with regard to collectivization, instead of competition, between different entities at the consumer end. This is a win- win for everyone, including the consumers. While customers are given credit option at times, there is no delay in the payment to farmers. There is a strict rule that all farmers will be paid from 3 to 7 days after delivery of stock. There is no credit given to the cooperative members. Everything is on immediate payment. This keeps the accounting system clean and ensures that farmers are not harassed in any manner. This is sensible economics based on ethics, says Ananthoo. By all the usual parameters, OFM model is a success. The usual monthly turnover per OFM shop is around 3 lakh rupees, while the central unit of OFM in Adyar has a monthly turnover of 10 to 12 lakh rupees. The Adyar unit does not charge a margin for what it supplies to the other shops in the coop but tries to meet all its expenses through its own direct sales to its customer base. The profits are due to quick turnaround of money and stock, which is propelled by consumer trust in a “not for profit” model. Ananthoo does not take any share of the profit nor pays himself any remuneration. A few other promoters/volunteers also devote their time but not-for-profit. There are several youngsters who have come from different professions who work for very nominal salaries in OFM (there are 5 men and 4 women employed by OFM Adyar). In the other retail stores in the OFM cooperative, it is some housewives who would be earning a nominal salary from the margins that they keep, based on the turnover. Today, OFM has nurtured a base of committed young volunteers in a city like Chennai, who are not only giving their time for various events that support the cause of farmers in a city, but are also actively trying their hand at farming. Many of them are getting into farming themselves, or finding ways of supporting better markets for www.krishijagran.com

farmers. The consumers associated with OFM are ready to go the extra mile to participate in educational and interactive sessions organized by OFM, to listen to eminent thinkers of our times, and enrich their understanding of agriculture and Nature. There are many Tamil film personalities who are regular customers of OFM and act as ‘brand ambassadors’. Senior writers, editors and owners of publishing houses make the effort to buy at OFM to support the farmers that OFM is associated with. Farmers associated with OFM take great pride in telling other retailers that they sell to OFM, and that itself is an authentication of their produce. The OFM model shows that consumer behavior can be changed to be more sensitive towards producers and their hardships, that they can expect uniform prices for vegetables, some seasonality discipline, to get into non-packaged purchases, to be extra supportive of certain special products of severely distressed farmers. The consumers’ food consumption patterns are changing, with perceptible improvements in their own health, making them come back to OFM for continuous purchases. They no longer fall for glossy appearances. They even donate to various causes and OFM has been consistently contributing to various events organized on farmers’ rights and sustainable agriculture. Farmers feel respected. They are requested to come and sell any time they want, directly to consumers of OFM. Some choose to set up juice stalls, for example. Special “meet your farmer” events are also organized occasionally. Farmers associated with OFM feel recognized, respected and supported. They also find greater profitability. The success of OFM shows us that social enterprises can indeed be not-for-profit enterprises that create a win-win for both producers and consumers, with consumers changing their purchase behavior in numerous ways in support of economic and environmental change in society, even as their own self interest is taken care of. NOVEMBER 2019

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Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan Editor, Agriculture World

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he Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI) was set up by the senior most members of India’s organic farming community in the year 2002. The association was primarily set up to promote organic farming, to pay more attention to sustainable agriculture, and assist farmers using chemicals and pesticides to convert successfully to organic farming methods. D.D. Bharamadoudra, a native of Yalavatti village in Shirahatti taluk of Gadag district, D.D. Bharamagoudra was a pioneer in initiating organic farming in rain-fed areas and also motivated many to follow him. He was the first president of the Organic Farming Association of India, and served the association for two terms. He was also a member of the Organic Farming Mission set up by the BJP government in the State. At present Ilias K.P , a young farmer from Kerala is the President of OFAI. Ilias had taken up initiative to train young people and adults who want to get into organic farming. He is currently elected as National President of OFAI India in recognition of such efforts. Ilias is the youngest President ever in OFAI and was the only face of the Salim Ali foundation when he took over 16 acres of farming in Vellangaloor Panchayat in Kerala, India. The association has formulated programmes to assist organic farmers with organic certification and also participates fully in the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) of organic certification designed mostly for small and marginal farmers; it has steadfastly resisted becoming an agency for the procurement and distribution of organic produce. It prefers instead to promote and support individuals, communities, NGOs and networks who are in the business of

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organic marketing.OFAI was formally registered under the Societies Registration Act only in 2006, after the rules of the association were discussed and vetted by several meetings of organic farmers and NGOs involved in the promotion of organic farming. OFAI today remains the only membership-based national association of organic farmers, organic farming promoters and green stores. By charter, the President of the association will always be an organic farmer. The association will also strive to ensure gender equality in all its activities. It campaigns actively against the introduction of genetically modified organisms and seeds in India’s agriculture. Organic Mahotsav 2019 is the 7th in series of the popular biennial conventions held by the Organic Farming Association of India. The event is being held in Udaipur (Rajasthan) at Shilpgram from 29th November to 1st December, 2019. The convention provides a platform for organic farmers from all over India to share, learn and grow. Renowned scientists, policy makers, seed savers, innovators come together to bring the developments in organic farming to a common platform - the ultimate goal being growth of our farmers while also replenishing our natural resources. As a new initiative this year, we are involving consumers who have been supporting, as a part of the organic movement. Awareness and involvement of the youth in organic agriculture at every level is a key focus area. A youth incubation program will be developed to promote innovative ideas in the field of organic farming.

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waminathan.Vaithilingam is a young enthusiast of Organic farming and is at present doing an exceptional work in the area of conservation of Desi Cotton. Swaminathan,a Post graduate in Biotechnology from Annamalai University, Chidambaram and a M.Sc. Advanced Diploma in Molecular Diagnostics from Alagappa University, Karaikudi initially used to farm in his traditional land,but the urge to travel, learn and document stories led him to lease his own land.

Swaminathan is a Freelance Consultant involved in developing the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for all the activities of the seed to fabric, from Indian short-stapled indigenous cotton, along with Ghandhigram Khadi, Dindugal, Gram Seva Mandal and Wardha. He is very instrumental in connecting the Khadi people across the country to work with Indigenous cotton. Swaminathan has his expertise in working with short-stapled indigenous cotton and gets involved with farmers of rainfed tracts of Dindugal & Perambalur district for reviving the cotton-based multi cropping system. At present, he is also a Managing Committee Member in Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI). For the past four years he has been working as Project Coordinator in Sahaja Samrudha (Organic Farmers Association of Karnataka). Swaminathan has expertise in coordinating projects, for “Revival of Indigenous Cotton” as part of reviving “Community Based Indigenous Seed Systems”, funded by SWISS-AID India, “Climate change adaptation--exploring linkages between weather parameters, Paddy cultivation and adaptation activities” in collaboration with Earthnet Foundation, Thailand. He was the State coordinator of “Save our Rice Campaign” in Karnataka and Community Biodiversity management and Conservation programme, funded by GGF. He has extensively researched and attended workshops for Revival of Desi Cotton and Contemporary 52 NOVEMBER 2019

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a KASKOM Story Khadi and Indigenous Cotton, Diversity of Old World Cotton in India and the present day chemical intensive American cotton cultivation, and its environmental impacts,Safe fabric & the need to revive Khadi with old world cotton etc. Swaminathan during his travels understood that the farmers In India have started searching for indigenous cotton, since it shows tolerance to drought and pests including bollworms. Tolerance to drought makes it more suitable for the country’s rainfed regions. Jayadhar cotton of Karnataka, Karunganni cotton of Tamilnadu, Waghad cotton of Gujarat, Konda pathi & Erapathi cotton of Andhra have been slowly getting re-recognition among farmers,says Swaminathan. These varieties are known for its resistance towards harsh weather, drought, salinity, pests and diseases. Owing to its resilience, and water efficiency, farmers can cultivate them organically thus helping in the reduction of total cost of production and opt intercropping of food crops, which in turn will provide the farmers a minimum guarantee of safe and sustainable livelihood. Swaminthan concerns varied from Giant mechanized mills that are were setup all over the country, with medium & long stapled American cotton as the raw material and also the The Indian cotton being considered coarse and inferior. The pressure from mills, Govt Policies and incentives forcing them to take up American cotton cultivation. Due to this change, the Indian hand spinning and handloom sectors have gradually declined and the artisans were cornered ultimately and their livelihood was greatly affected says Swaminathan. Work done so far in Tamilnadu The concept of indigenous cotton was completely eroded in Tamilnadu. Cotton in Tamilnadu was mainly cultivated in the complete rainfed tracts of Dindugal, Madurai, Virudhunagar, Thothukudi and Ramanathapuram districts. It was all cultivated in mixed cropping accordwww.krishijagran.com

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ing to the seasonal calendar along with various crops like legumes, coriander, sorghum, castor, chilly and minor millets. As of now this system of cotton based multi cropping is greatly vanishing and the Bt cotton based mono cropping, with severe usage of pesticides and herbicides had increased even in rainfed tracts. In order to alleviate this agony, the traditional system of cotton farming with indigenous cotton was tried in Tamil Nadu in since 2015-16 cropping year; it gave good response among farmers in rainfed tracts. Processing of Short stapled Cotton: When coming to processing, Tamil Nadu has the giant cotton processing centers, but those contemporary spinning mills were not able to spin the short & medium stapled cotton, somehow we have rectified the bottlenecks and figured out the following things viz., Since the machines were being designed for long stapled American cotton, the indigenous short stapled cotton can’t be spun in regular machines, it needs older machines. Trouble shooting in the older machines has been done and it’s been proved that yarn can be made out of this short stapled cotton without blending with long stapled cotton; this work was carried out at a pilot plant in South Indian Textile Research organization (SITRA). Spinning has been carried out at Ghandhigram Khadi & VIPC Trust, Dindugal, with the settings from SITRA and its been woven and good quality fabric is made out of it. Also apart from weaving, Knitting was also tried and the country’s first polo shirts, made out of indigenous cotton have been done. Work Done so far in North East ,Gujarat and Maharashtra In an effort to help revive the Indigenous cotton Swaminathan and his friend Soumik travelled across 5 different states in North East and identified the landraces over there. They also travelled in Gujarat, Maharashtra, found out the cotton landraces still existing there.They collected very limited seeds available over those places, and did some basic study and they are cultivating those seeds with due safety measures to prevent cross pollination in Mr.Bhairab’s field in West Bengal.In this study he recognises the immense help given by the Agricultural Cotton Scientists 54 NOVEMBER 2019

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armers will no longer have to depend on electricity or diesel for irrigation of crops, says an official of the agriculture department. In fact, from the month of October, farmers will get high power solar water pump under the ‘Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) scheme in collaboration with the central as well as the state government. Farmers will be able to irrigate their fields easily without any hindrance. Government has intensified the task under the KUSUM scheme. Moreover, it is worth noting that till now the state government was providing solar water pumps for irrigation to the farmers under the Chief Minister’s new and renewable solar pump scheme. From October onwards, farmers can avail solar water pumps from the centrally sponsored Farmer Energy and (Kusum) scheme on the basis of Aadhaar card. According to reports, the Central Government has given its responsibility to Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) Company whose main purpose is to reduce dependence on electricity and diesel for irrigation. Also, under this scheme, all irrigation pumps have been targeted to be replaced by diesel or electricity instead of solar energy by 2022.

In India regarding identification ,logistics and study materials.The above work is supported by GGF through SahajaSamrudha. KASKOM is an initiative of BASECAMP Social Research Foundation, to revive the indigenous cotton varieties and its cultivation across India. By promoting & producing hand-spun (amber charkha) and hand-woven fabrics we ensure a better livelihood for spinners and weavers. With chemical-free processing and natural dyeing the fabrics produced are so very natural and safe to your skin. These breathable fabrics with high absorbency are recommended for Indian climatic conditions providing safe and healthy... clothing solutions. This work is work is supported by GGF through Sahaja Samrudha.

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Our Farmer Our Food Shamika Mone, OFAI

Ilias K.P

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llias K.P born in 1985, comes from a traditional muslim family from Kundayithode in Kozhikode. After SSLC he started working as a painting artist to make board and banners. In 2002, he accidentally attended the Jaiva Karshaka Sangamam organised by Kerala Jaiva Karshaka Samithi (KJKS) in Thirrur, Malapuram. During that time he also attended a nature camp organised by Ore Bhoomi Ore Jeevan (One Earth One Life), the mother organisation of KJKS. One Earth One Life (OEOL) is an Organisation working for the environmental Protection, Awareness, Research and Charity. Since then he continued to attend different nature camps and Jaiva Karshaka Sangamams to have in depth understanding of the subject. He got interested in the organic farming and had an urge to contribute to the anti-pesticide movement. He himself had no land of his own to do organic farming hence he started organising nature camps, sangamams and helping organic farmers through KJKS and OEOL. With his active participation along with other youngsters, OEOL then started a youth wing. In 2011, he became the secretary of One Earth One Life followed by becoming the youngest secretary of KJKS in the year 2013.Kerala Jaivakarshaka Samiti (Kerala Organic Farmers’ Association) is an voluntary organization that has been working for the last 23 years with the vision of

making Kerala shift to organic farming. KJKS studies various issues faced by farmers and promotes organic farming - which lays emphasis on environment protection - as the only viable alternative to the practice of chemical farming which make our soil, water and food toxic. KJKS organises district and state level sangamams for sharing and exchange of knowledge and seeds. Last year they organised a state level vehicle rally ‘Jaiva Jeevitha Sandesha Jaatha’ from 5th to 25th April 2015. Taking the message of “Bhakshya Krishiyiloode Puthiya Keralam” aimed to convey the benefits of locally and organically produced as much of our food as possible, through pamphlets relating to agriculture, food and health; posters, street plays, traditional art forms, documentaries etc. Along with this there was an exhibition and sale of traditional seeds.started the ‘Vayalraksha’ campaign to save the paddy land. The present government is proposing some amendments in the Paddy Land Wetland Conservation Act, 2008. They organised a secretariat march and collectorate march against these amendments in September 2015. They also organise group of farmers to take up organic farming on fallow paddy lands. He started organic farming in 2010 while he was working for an Agro-biodiversity Restoration project in Erimayur panchayat in Palakkad district under the technical assistance of Thanal. In the next two years he continued farming with friends on a 8 acre common land in Kasargod. There they cultivated paddy, vegetables and fruits. Presently he is farming 2 acre paddy land in Thrissur. Along with farming, he is also working with Salim Ali Foundation as technical cunsultant for a project on Holistic Eco-friendly Sustainable Development of Vellangallur panchayath.He has been promoting the importance of traditional local seeds to the farmers by conserving them since last six years. He was the captain of the ‘Nadan vithu samrakshana Sandesha Jaatha’ (Seed Caravan Feb 6 to19 2012) from Kasargode to Thrissur organised by Thanal. In the Jaatha they exhibited seeds of different varieties of paddy, vegetables, tubers and fruits. He wrote a book on ‘Nelkrishi Jaiva Reethiyil’ for the budding paddy farmers. He continues to write different articles on organic farming in Ore Bhoomi Ore Jeevan monthly magazine.

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Our Farmer Our Food Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan Editor, Agriculture World

Rajendra Singh

58 NOVEMBER 2019

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ajendra Singh belongs to a family of farmers who have practiced chemical farming for many years. His farm is a parental property of 25 hectares. Over use of Fertilizers and Weedicides and huge losses in farming ,led him to change his mind. At that time, Rajendra Singh a graduate holder, learnt about Masanobu Fukuoka and his principles and that led him to chang his mind. He switched to organic cultivaton in the 90’s. He says, it took him a lot of time to get acclimatized to organic farming. Rajendra Singh and 100 organic farmers who came together to share the knowledge and practices and set up a group called Prayog Parivar Group in Madhya Pradesh. Rajendra Singh has extensively done research in Dry land Organic farming in his field in Piploda,Ratlam. Rajendra Singh’s farm being in a dry dark zone the first thing he did was to stop irrigation in his field. In his field, he did Multicropping. He always grows a 5=6-10 crops together. He also remembers the teachings of Subash Sharma and Subash Palekar. Rajendra Singh reiterates about the advantages of mixed cropping,less incidence of pests Less labour and Uptake of different minerals that help keep a balance in the soil. In both the seasons there are some major crops arranged in separate lines and some minor crops mixed with major crops, to maintain diversity for better soil health (soil health depends on population and varieties present there. Each kind of microbe like company of the plants of some specific family of vegetation) and to harvest greater solar energy amount available at / sq. feet area by photosynthesis process. Actually they prepare a milti tier system by the seasonal crops. Rainy season 4 lines of Paddy of Red rice + Ramtil (Niger) 3 Lines of Soya been + Desi Maiz 2 Lines of Desi Urad + Desi Sesame seeds. Winter season 4 Lines of Desi gram mixed with Desi Linseed 2 Lines of Desi Lentil ( Masoor) mixed with Barley or Oat 3 1 line of Indigenous wheat Pissi or Sharbati wheat mixed with Black Mustard. Weeds can only be managed ,weeds cannot be completely removed from the farm ,says Rajendra Singh. To manage weeds ,he discovered a weeder, an implement which is battery operated.PP weed cutter price could be anywhere from 10,000 -11,000. When there is less water in the field,is the time when weeds over take. There would always be leguminous crops in his farm. When Selling of Organic products became a problem, he along with other farmers created Prayog Parivar. Belief is what the parivar keeps,says Rajendra Singh. Prayog Parivar has orders pouring in from other state and out of the country. The Certification of the farmer products is done by the MP State Govt.

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Our Farmer Our Food Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan Editor, Agriculture World

Devesh Patel

60 NOVEMBER 2019

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griculture is there in my blood. It should reflect me and my mind and thoughts says Devesh Patel,an amazing Organic farmer and the Founder of Satva Organic. Patel’s family is involved in bio organic farming since 1992 in our village Boriavi,Anand, Gujarat, India). They are following organic farming practice since last 20 years and they are recognized with National Organic Certification by NPOP Govt. of India.Their crops vary from spice to tuber, potato, ginger, turmeric, yam, elephant foot yam, chili, wheat and some vegetables. His love towards Agriculture and Soil started from childhood. His attachment grew strong as he used to accompany his father to the fields. After his graduation ,Devesh Patel never thought that he would pursue Farming as he was on the verge of getting a placement. But overcome by the love for farming ,he pursued Jaivik Kheti from the 90’s and started scientifically applying many principles, which initially was a failure,but definitely a huge success later on. He reiterates having a scientific bend and always treating his farm as research plots wherein he would try different experiments which in the end would give him wonderful results which is very helpful for the farming community. He understood the challenges and started working and also encouraging his fellow farmers to take up work in that direction to solve the problems. Mr. Patel has developed Labour Less Technology. With this innovative technology, per hectare cost has reduced to just Rs. 5,000 with 5 labourers compare to Rs. 50,000 with 25 labourers earlier. Putting more stress on scientific farming, he has adopted drip irrigation, Green House and Poly House for higher benefits. His advise for value addition and marketing in crops like Potato, Turmeric and Ginger would result in lower input cost is met with seriouness within the farming community. In last five years with the help of new machinery for the value addition in Ginger and Turmeric, they are able to process more quintals which were not possible before due to labor crisis. Organic products include dehydrated potato chips gin-

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ger and ginger powder, turmeric and turmeric powder, chilli, chill powder & tea masala. Spices are carefully picked and solar dried to preserve the distinctive freshness & flavor. He is also attached with the Gujarat Agriculture Uty for teaching the students the scietific results and experiments he produced. He is a regular at teaching in the IIM Campus. Mr. Devesh Patel, was the only person from Boriavi village in Anand district of Gujarat, selected among 18 young farmers all-over the India by the Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR) for the Best Innovative Activity’ award of the State Government. Mr. Devesh had also won ‘Agricultural National Award’ between 2010 and 2012, ‘Jagjivanram Abhivandas Asian Award’, ‘Sardar Patel Award’ from the State Government and State Level ‘Atma Award’. He realized that there wasn’t any pomotion in selling Organic Products and understood the importance of Value chain and marketing. So he formed a group called SATVA Organic with 200 other famers with strict product regulations and crop regulations. Satva Organic is committed to a sustainable future.Farmers need to be provided solution for Mitigating risks,they need confidence and motivation says Devesh Patel. Satva Organic helps farmers for the above said causes.Satva organic retails in shops at Baroda, Anand, Surat etc. They are also very transparent on the value chain link and they always do a cross verification in their retail shops on prices.They also make sure the products reach the consumers in affordable prices. Satva’s priority is to make organics accessible to all,and they reiterate that organics is not a luxury item,but a necessity.They endeavor to deliver to the highest quality organic produce at the best available price.They have a symbiotic relationship with their customers too. Green Revolution gave in confidence of Production,but now its time to look upon the quality says Devesh Patel before siging off.

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Our Farmer Our Food Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan Editor, Agriculture World

Syed Ghani Khan

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ada Bagh Orchard, managed by Syed Ghani Khan’s family at Kirugavulu in Mandya district is very popular among farmers and city dwellers for its flavoured mangoes. The mango trees have a legacy of 200 years. Historical records show that Tipu Sultan gave away parcels of land to the villagers of Kirugavalu for farming and other activities. Bada bagh 16 acres,was a gift received from Tipu Sultan himself four generations earlier. He grows a variety of crops in his land and they vary from millets to magoes to rice.The total area of land is rainfed. He has two water harvesting ponds. He does conservation of 1300 varieties of Paddy.But Only 3-4 of them are grown commercially.Varieties like Salem, Ratnachudi, HMT, NMS2 are all grown organically.Some of the diversity of rice maintained on his field included rajabhog, anandi, jeeraga samba, burma black rice, chinnaponni, rajmudi, gowrisanna, rakta dham, naadikeli and jugal and many others.

His farm has more than 120 mango varieties and is an example of conservation and a link to the state’s fast-disappearing horticultural heritage. Some of them are Gulzar which smells like Cumin, Sev Ka Aaam shaped like apple, Mehboob like cashew, Haleema like banana, Mosambi Aam tasting like sweet lem-

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on. Meeta Miyan Pasand, Kauva Pasand, Mosambika Aam, Peeka Aam, Motika Aam, Moris, Badam, Lal Badam, Kala Malgoba, Badagola and Imam mangoes. When asked about his cultivation practices Syed tells us about mositure maintenance by mulching,direct sowing in paddy and millets. Yield has never been a problem with his crops. Usage of less water is the key to have less pests,says Syed.When I Kg of Rice requires 5000 litres of water he could reduce that usage upto 30-40 percent. Before gowing paddy,he does incorporate the green manures in the field. Fresh cowdung is collected and the paddy lands are irrigated along with cowdung. The DNA fingerprinting and gene mapping tests of this genetic diversity have been done at the Biotechnology Centre of Department of Horticulture at Hulimavu, Bengaluru. Syed welcomes all to enjoy the mango season. He has formed a Trust named Ghani Agri and Rural Development Trust where in he conducts training to school children and Graduates in Agriculture are provided Training regarding cultivation of paddy.They are trained from Sowing to Harvesting and observing the plots.He also conducts training workshops to Women in Value Addition .Sugarcane flowers are made into pens and Bottle gourd into lampshades and jewellery.

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Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan Editor, Agriculture World

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Leading Her Way: Kalpana Manivannan

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ith her back ground in teaching and academic coordination, Kalpana Manivannan has travelled a long way to become an award winning blogger and a Zero waste farmer and a food safety activist. Kalpana Manivannan shows us how small spaces can create wonders. A half-acre farm on the outskirts of Chennai is where she grows her organic vegetables and have plans of developing it into a self-sustaining space. The farmhouse is solar powered and has a water harvesting system in place. She has around 20 fully grown coconut trees, 50 plus fruit trees and flowering tree saplings .Currently she grows about 50 varieties of seasonal vegetables and herbs too on her farm. She wanted to learn more about food and the passion to grow food was born out of her desire to provide her family with clean and nutritious food.The disturbing side of having very little choices to but to buy whatever is sold to us fuelled her passion. The satisfaction of having totally organic, native, seasonal and nutritious produce is immense is what she says. She has been able to successfully live a Farm to Table lifestyle for the past one year and more. Kalpana being a zero waste farmer converts her farm produce into homemade products. The products range from soaps, body butter, detergents to cleaning solutions. She prepares her own fresh fruit jams and sauces. They are made in small batches and are made to order. Whenever she has an excess of seasonal produce, she sells it to a small group of subscribers in her community. Kalpana reiterates the fact that she never did volunteering with farms; she hadn’t learnt any crop production strategies. She did try and attend a few workshops on organic farming but she is more of a determined self-learner and she learnt on the job, by doing and experimenting. She says taking care of soil is the only thing which we should learn in detail and to keep it alive with microorganisms.

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She uses crop rotation, companion planting, mixed cropping and some natural biological pest control methods.A green cover with legumes to fix nitrogen and then preparing raised beds ahead of sowing season and layering it with organic matter, cow dung manure and soilare some of the techniques to improve soil quality. This proved to be very effective in improving her farm land to a large extent. Her field is teaming with earthworms which is a great sign of soil health and and the abundant produce she harvested for evidence enough that she had done the right thing.Currently she is not utilizing all the area but she is in the process of developing a small stretch at a time. She wants to make sure she utilizes the land to its optimal potential. Whatever area of land that had been prepared for her cropping, they are producing to their maximum potential. She remembers fondly her forefathers who were involved in farming. With farmers on both sides of her family tree, her connection to the land runs deep. But Kalpana doesn’t see her pivot into agriculture as unique to her personal family history. Rather, it’s something she shares with rediscovering the land and recognizing the power of food production in revitalizing their communities. She is part of a return generation as in returning to their land after having skipped a generation,” she says. Her ultimate aim in the power of food production is for her family at present

and will gradually spread to community spaces.She currently teaches farming to 4th and 5th graders to mold young minds in forming a holistic approach towards farming. She has planned a tailor-made farming course for schools to incorporate farming into their curriculum and is also looking at taking gardening workshops soon. Kalpana has a few friends who have farms. She buys from them whenever their own produce is insufficient. But they aren’t working together to create spaces or products. There are many people who write to her showing interest in volunteering at my farm, so at present they are working on trying to set up a system that works well. Kalpana shares her farming experiences and experiments on her website www.kalpavrikshafarms.com and also through her social media handles. She share free resources about farming techniques, farm to table recipes and lifestyle, steps towards a chemical-free life and zero-waste living. She also speaks at small and big events, corporates and among women groups to spread awareness about leading a self-sufficient lifestyle and conducts workshops on making homemade alternatives to toxic store-bought cleaners to encourage and empower people to live a chemical-free life. Kalpana is in an effort to constantly putting in things that can share spaces together, trying to help city folks realize the dream is never far, it only requires an attitude.. Product Marketing Committee across India into one network. Its objective is to provide a market for agricultural products at the national level. Seeing the benefits from this, farmers are increasingly engaging with it.

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he online market or mandi started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi Government to double farmers’ income has turned successful. According to the data released by the government, so far around 1.64 crore farmers of the country have registered themselves at this online platform known as National Agricultural Market Scheme (e-NAM). It is important to mention that till 2017 only 17000 farmers were associated with this e-mandi. e-NAM is an online agricultural portal whose main task is to connect all Agri

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Farmers’ income will definitely increase by 2022 if they obtain good prices of agricultural products through the National Agriculture Market. 585 mandis of India have been linked with the Internet – The agricultural produce markets located in different states of the country have been connected through the Internet under e-NAM. Its main target is to make the entire country into one market place. For instance, if a farmer from Gorakhpur wants to sell his produce in Bihar, then it has become easier for him to carry and market his agricultural produce with e-NAM. NOVEMBER 2019

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An Innovative Coconut based Mixed Farming Model Dr.P.S.Manoj, Dr.K.K.Aiswariya, Dr.B.Pradeep and Dr.P.Rathakrishnan ICAR-Krishi Vigyan Kendra, ICAR – Indian Institute of Spices Research, Peruvannamuzhi Post, Kozhikode – 673 528, Kerala

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World Coconut Day comes on September 2 of every year.

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ozhikode district is famous for coconut farming and the North Eastern part of the district is well-known for the West Coast Tall cultivar Kuttiady local. Coconut remains the main stay of agriculture in the region and occupies an area of 1,19,064 ha in the district. Coconut based mixed farming is gaining momentum recently among the farmers. K.T. Francis, Kaithakualath House, Maruthomkara, of Kozhikode district is one such farmer who is highly successful in mixed farming with a diversity of crops and other components.

from the farm. An electrically operated copra drier helps to produce quality copra at farm level. Another coconut ball-copra making unit with a capacity of 25,000 nuts helps to produce ball copra without firewood and enables farm level processing without environmental pollution from smoke and loss of fire wood. This helps to sell quality produce in the local market.

He served as a physical education teacher in a local school for thirty years and started farming seriously after retirement. He was born in a farming family and his father was a successful conventional farmer. That motivated him to adventure into farming after retirement. He owns three acres of land and mainly coconut based mixed farming is practiced in the entire farm.

Black pepper is the main spice crop of the garden. A total of 500 vines in different growth stages are grown in the farm. He cultivates high yielding varieties like Sreekara, Subhakara, IISR Thevam, Panchami, Pournami and Panniyur 6. Local cultivars like Narayakkodi, Arakkulam Munda, Karimunda are also available. He also has bush pepper plants that yields throughout the year. The main standards of pepper are coconut and arecanut. Regular prophylactic spray of Bordeaux mixture is given to the vines to protect from deadly Phytopthora foot rot disease.

The main crops include coconut, arecanut, spices, cocoa, coffee, tuber crops, medicinal plants, fruit plants, forest trees, fodder grass, upland rice and so on. In addition, dairying, goatery, duck rearing, apiculture, fish culture, poultry farming etc. are also practiced. Main coconut cultivars include WCT, Kerasree, Malayan dwarfs etc. A total of 200 coconut palms including about 50 young palms are the main component of the farm. Mainly organic farming practices are followed. Abundant Farm Yard manure available from his own farm is applied in plenty. Main interventions/ innovations practiced by farmer for productivity enhancement are contour terracing, mulching, application of coir pith in coconut basins, husk burial, water harvesting pits etc. which will conserve moisture and improve yield. Effective use of organic manure available in farm is another added advantage and all the biological wastes are recycled in the farm. The average yield from a palm is around 200 nuts per year. He is a farmer identified by Krishi Bhavan to supply coconut seed nuts for seedling production and produces WCT coconut seedlings, arecanut seedlings and make it available to the needy farmers. Farmers from all around the district approach him for quality seedlings. In addition to copra, ball copra, coconut seed nuts and coconut seedlings are the main output 70 NOVEMBER 2019

Arecanut is another important component of the farm. The main cultivars are Mangala, Mangala interse cross, Mohitnagar, South Kanara types totalling about 750.

Other spices include turmeric (variety Prathibha), ginger (IISR Varada), Kasturi turmeric, nutmeg (IISR Vishwashree and elite local types), clove etc. Cardamom is grown on an experimental basis to evaluate its performance in low land areas. In addition, vanilla has also been introduced in the garden recently with about 400 vines. He also has an abundance of tuber crops as intercrops in the garden which fetches a reasonable income. These include amorphophallus, colocasia, yams, cassava, arrow root, coleus etc. Another attractive feature of the garden is an array of various fruit crops. He collects all the available fruit plants whenever he travels in different parts of the State and outside. In addition to common fruit plants, rare and exotic fruit plants are the highlight of his collection. Some of these include mangosteen, rambutan, pulasan, passion fruit, noni, carambola, durian, milk fruit, different citrus fruits, rose apple, West Indian cherry, and the list is endless. He also earns a good amount from Red Lady papaya cultivation by sale of fruits in nearby markets. Self-sufficiency in household vegetable requirement is another remarkable achievement. He has all the tropical vegetables in his garden like www.krishijagran.com


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Mullick Ghat Market, WB

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okra, brinjal, bitter guard, cowpea, amaranthus, chillies, snake gourd, leafy vegetables etc. He also has a good collection of medicinal plants. These include kacholam, lemon grass, vetiver, chethikoduveli, neela amari, chittaratha, nilapana, adapathiyan, asoka, pathimugham, koovalam, chittadalodakam, thulasi, Aloe vera etc. In addition to crops, livestock and poultry are the other highlights of the farm. Cow breeds include Kasargodan, Holstein Friesian and local breeds. Goat breeds like Malabari and Jamunapari are other attractions of the farm. Milk, curd and ghee from these are sold providing him a reasonable income. To sustain them, fodder crops like Hybrid Napier Co-3 is also cultivated in the garden. A wide variety of ornamental birds are also reared by him. These include swan, love birds, Kadakkanath hen, Guinea fowl, Japanese quail etc. He also rears Gramasree breed of poultry and ducks and earns a fair amount through sale of eggs and meat. A vertical farming model incorporating, ornamental birds above the edible fishes culture tank is another innovation. He cultures Pangasius an air breathing fish commonly known as tiger shark. The nutrient rich water from the fish tank is used for irrigating various crops. Nearly 50 percent water is exchanged in 2-3 days interval there by benefiting vegetable crops and fishes. Apiculture is also practiced in the farm. In addition to providing honey, it also helps in the pollination of the crops thereby improving yield. A total of 60 bee hives are maintained in the farm. A small forest is also maintained in the farm to ensure biodiversity. Irrigation is mainly through sprinkler system. Systematic contour terracing/bunds is the peculiarity of the farm which also have innumerable water harvesting pits that ensures percolation of rain water into the soil and avoids run off. A biogas plant installed near the dairy unit provides cooking gas for the household needs. The entire farm is maintained as an organic farm with recycling of farm waste and crop residues. Plentiful of poultry manure, biogas slurry, cow’s urine, goat manure, vermicompost, green manure etc. is used in abundance to maintain a nutrient rich soil in the farm. The soil is rich in humus and innumerable number of earthworms 72 NOVEMBER 2019

The Best coconut farmer award of the Government of Kerala for the year 2017- 18 is the latest in the list adding another golden feather to his achievements in mixed farming.

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WO R LD in the periphery of the soil is a clear indication of the above. All crops management practices are carried out in organic methods. To add to this, the entire farm operations is done by him and he hires only one additional labourer as and when required. The farm is a model of an organic farm maintained in a highly sustainable manner. Many farmers visit his farm every day. He explains everything in a simple way, takes them around the farm and motivates every one interested in farming. He also continuously experiments in his farm, brings in new models and is the first one to introduce any new technology released by research institutions. That is why no one was surprised when he was awarded with a number of State and district level awards. His garden served as an IFS model farm for this region which got shape with the due intervention of Krishi Vigyan Kendra working under ICAR- Indian Institute of Spices Research, Kozhikode.

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KAU Pullan The Superior Nutmeg variety Dr Elsy C.R. (Professor), Dr Jose Mathew (Retired Professor) and Aswathy P.P. (Project Fellow) Kerala Agricultural University, KAU Campus (P.O.) - 680656, Thrissur, Kerala

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Keep Planting Seeds You Never Know What May Take Root (Ecclesiastes 11.6)

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he farmer Sri. Jose Pullan of Potta near Chalakudy in Thrissur district of Kerala and the new KAU Pullan variety of nutmeg evolved by him, with the scientific support of Kerala Agricultural University, is in national focus now with the conferring of the prestigious ‘Plant Genome Saviour Reward’ on him by the PPV& FR (Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights) Authority, Government of India. Even when many farmers are leaving farming due to inadequate income, Sri Jose has developed his farm as a unique and economically sustainable model incorporating several of his innovations. His main crop is nutmeg but he also successfully grows different types of fruit trees like rambutan, mango, mangosteen, jackfruit, rose apple and banana. Sri. Jose’s lifelong association with nutmeg started more than 50 years back. He collected large number of nutmeg seedlings and planted in his farm in 1964 even though nutmeg was not a popular crop at that time showing his inquisitiveness and foresightedness. He managed the seedlings very carefully and critically observed the growth and performance of each seedling from a scientific point of view. When the trees flowered, he found many of them were male and hence removed majority of them. He continued to closely observe and manage the remaining male and female trees. In the process, he could demarcate few trees with improved growth parameters and enhanced yield. After years of further observation, he could locate one particular tree which continuously exhibited very good growth parameters, high yield and superior fruit characters. He made budlings of this tree and planted the next generation in his farm. His finding was validated when the budded trees started yielding vigorously after few years. At this time, he sought the technical support of the Department of Plantation Crops

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and Spices of the College of Horticulture, Kerala Agricultural University (KAU), Vellanikkara to scientifically evaluate and characterize the new nutmeg selection, named as Pullan, after his house name. Pullan nutmeg selection showed very good results with regard to yield and quality aspects during the field and laboratory trials conducted by Kerala Agricultural University. Based on the consistent results, Kerala Agricultural University has recommended to release the clonal selection as a new variety, named as KAU Pullan and the State Seed Subcommittee for Variety Notification and Release approved the release of the variety during 2018. The Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Cell of Kerala Agricultural University scientifically documented the contributions of Sri. Jose in the conservation of nutmeg types and evolution of the new variety in collaboration with Kerala Agricultural University, and submitted the details to the PPV& FR Authority. The PPV&FR Authority recently honoured Sri. Jose with the prestigious Plant Genome Saviour Reward, which carries a cash prize of Rs 1.50 lakhs, memento and citation. The reward is given to farmers who works for the protection of agro biodiversity and shares the conserved genetic materials with research institutions for scientific studies and crop improvement activities. The fruits and mace of KAU Pullan nutmeg variety is bigger compared to many other nutmeg varieties. Sixty fresh seeds (excluding mace and rind) of KAU Pullan weighs approximately one kilo gram whereas other varieties require 90 to 100 fresh seeds. One tree yields around 2000 to 2500 fruits in a year. The dried seeds are jet black in colour and contain more oil. The variety exhibits good growth parameters. Sri. Jose follows organic farming system and applies large quantity of organic manures to his nutmeg crop. He grows eight buffalo bulls to meet the farm yard manure requirement. They feed on the weeds and grass in the farm and greatly aids in controlling the weeds. It is also a complimentary enterprise earning substantial income to him. Sri. Jose manages his farm based on traditional knowledge and adopting his own innovations. He recommends wider spacing in nutmeg planting to reduce pest and disease incidence. Prun76 NOVEMBER 2019

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WO R LD ing of trees is regularly done before rainy season. Burning of crop residues along with sulphur is done in between the trees at several points in the farm to reduce infestation of pests and diseases and to encourage flower production and thereby yield. Camphor is kept in cloth bags in storage drums of mace to reduce the attack of storage pests. Sri. Jose used to store the mace if the price is low in the market. The budlings of KAU Pullan is available with Sri. Jose. Limited number of budlings are also available in the KAU Model Nursery at Vellanikkara Campus in Thrissur.

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Insecticides of Plant Origin Dr. Meenu1, Dr. Amit2, Dr. Yogita Bali1 and Dr. Gulab Singh1 1: Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Bhiwani 2: LUVAS, Department of Livestock Production

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We spray our elms and the following springs are silent of robin song, not because we sprayed the robins directly, but because the poison travelled step by step through the now familiar elm leaf-earthworm-robin cycle. ~ Rachel Carson

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Plants are known to produce a diverse range of secondary metabolites such as terpenoids, alkaloids, polyacetylenes, flavonoids, amino acids, sugars etc. many of these chemicals protect the plants from insects and pathogens. More than 2600 plants belonging to 235 families have been reported to possess pest control properties. However in addition to high insecticidal activity, a plant species must possess the following additional characterstics for development into an ideal botanical pesticide: • It should be safe to animal and plant life• It should be biodegradable with sufficient residual action • Ready availability of the plant or capability for cultivation should be ensured • The methodology for isolation of active components or formulation of crude extracts should be economical • Suitable standards should be set up for registration of botanical products as pesticides 1. Nicotine sulphate The main source of nicotine are the two species Nicotiana tabacum and Nicotiana rustica, the latter being richer and more common in India. Nicotine sulphate is much less toxic to warm blooded animals and is quite stable. If soap is added to it at the time of spraying nicotine is liberated more quickly making it more effective.

and ornamentals. Owing to its low mammalian toxicity, it is particularly useful in killing external parasites of livestock such as lice and fleas. However, it deteriorates in storage and has slow action against some insects. It is available as dust, wettable powder, emulsifiable concentrate and aerosol. 4. Neem Azadirachta indica is indigenous to India from where it has spread to many asian and African countries. All parts of the neem trees possess insecticidal activity but seed kernel is the most important biologically active component, which has shown repellent, antifeedant insecticidal activity against a number of insect-pests. Formulated neem products are required to contain atleast 1500 ppm of azadirachtin in kernel-based products and 300 ppm in neem-oil based products. 5. Chinaberry Chinaberry, Melia azedarach also known as dharek, Persian lilac or pride of India, is a close relative of neem tree. Several tetranortriterpenoids related to azadirachtin, have been found to be present in M. azedarach. A wide range of toxic, behavioural and physiological effects of M. azedarach have been observed against a number of insect-pests.

2. Pyrethrum The toxic substances present in the pyrethrum are 6 esters- pyrethrin I, Pyrethrin II, Cinerin I, Cinerin II, Jasmolin I and Jasmolin II. For the extraction of pyrethrum cineraifolium is used. Pyrethrum is toxic to most insects and acts as contact insecticide with a quick knockdown effect. It is relatively harmless to mammals and has no phytotoxic effects. It can be used with safety on livestock and edible crops and as an household spray. The only disadvantage of pyrethrum is that it breaks down rapidly. If piperonyl butoxide is added to it, it acts as synergist and increases its toxicity. 3. Rotenone The chemical nature of rotenone was determined in 1932. Rotenone is a selective insecticide which acts as a contact as well as stomach poison. Before the discovery of systemic insecticides, it was widely used on fruits, vegetables 80 NOVEMBER 2019

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6. Pangram Pangram, Pongamia pinnata commonly known as kanraja, puna oil tree or Indian beech is indigenous to India. It possesses various types of bioactivity including antifeedant, oviposition deterrent and toxic effects. The active component has been identified as karanjin, a furoflavone. Karanja oil as a surface protectant effectively checked infestation by storage pests. Karanjin has been approved in 1997 in India under the Insecticides Act, 1968.

World Food Day

7. Custard apple Powdered seeds of custard apple, Annona squamosa applied to wheat and rice grains have been reported to provide protection against storage insects. The plant extracts act as feeding deterrent against Amsacta moorei, N. lugens and S. litura. Annonine, an alkaloid found in stems and leaves, has been found effective against termites and root grubs. Other compounds which have been isolated from custard apple are annonacin and annonidines. Botanical pesticides are considered safe to natural enemies and being biodegradable do not leave toxic residues. Being multistatic in action, chances of development of resistance to these pesticides are minimum.

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n World Food Day, 16th October, a National Workshop on Nutri Cereals was held at Krushi Bhawan, BBSR, Odisha. ICRISAT partners with its research capabilities says Mr. Arabinda. K. Padhee, Country Director, ICRISAT on climate resilient Nutri Cereals. Mr. Subhash Chandra from the Directorate of Millets Development was one of the eminent speakers in the National Workshop. Mr. Asit Kumar Tripathy, IAS Chief Secretary, Govt of Odisha had his august presence at the National Workshop on Nutri Cereal-Millets. Mr. Tripathy released the booklet Odisha Millets Mission, felicitated farmers and NGO members who have done exemplary work in millet. In his address Tripathy emphasized on taking the Odisha Millets Mission to the next level and how it will benefit the farmers as a whole. The workshop shall discuss the Odisha model for promotion of millets along with experiences on millet promotion of other state governments as well. Farmers who have taken initiative to adopt improved agronomic practices and participated in other initiatives shall be felicitated during the workshop. Topics of discussion 1. Promotion of Seed Diversity in millets 2. Policy Initiatives in Millets 3. Challenges for inclusion of millets in ICDS/MDM 4. Challenges and opportunities in marketing and value 5. Research Initiatives in millets 6. Sharing of experiences of NGO’s on improved agronomic practices in millets

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Profile for Krishi Jagran

Agriculture World November 2019  

KRISHI JAGRAN & AGRICULTURE WORLD is the largest circulated rural family magazine in India, the reason behind its prodigious presence is as...

Agriculture World November 2019  

KRISHI JAGRAN & AGRICULTURE WORLD is the largest circulated rural family magazine in India, the reason behind its prodigious presence is as...

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