AgriTech India January 2013
Sustainable Agriculture & Farmer Empowerment Event to help in inclusive development of agri-sector, says Siraj Hussain
ocusing on “Sustainable Agriculture”, India’s premier biennial agriculture fair, CII Agro Tech 2012, concluded in Chandigarh, on December 4, with Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal attending the valedictory function. In his brief address, Badal said the opening up of Wagah Border and giving a dry port status to Wagah by allowing export of 6,000 goods could be a game changer for North India. The four-day international event displayed best products and techniques in agriculture and provided an opportunity for the farming community to learn about latest technologies advancements and latest practices to make agriculture development sustainable and environment friendly. The fair attracted participation from all over the world, besides large scale involvement of the Indian Agriculture sector. Exhibitors from Canada, Italy, Korea, Germany, the Netherlands, USA and were happy that they received an excellent response from the visitors. “CII Agro Tech 2012 will help in inclusive development of the agricultural sector in India and this augurs well for the nation,” emphasized Siraj Hussain, additional secretary, department of agriculture and co-operation, ministry of agriculture, while formally inaugurating the fair. The other dignitaries present included Malvinder Mohan Singh, chairman CII Northern Region; Hari S Bhartia, chairman AgroTech 2012; Rakesh Bharti Mittal, chairman, CII National Council on Agriculture and Chandrajit Banerjee, director general, CII. FDI Siraj Hussain described the government decision to open FDI in muti-brand retails as a step in the right direction which would further strengthen the agri infrastructure. Government of India is promoting enhanced participation of private sector, especially in setting up agri infrastructure. The government has plans to set up 18 million tonnes of modern storage capacity, of which 3 million tonnes have already been commissioned and the rest are under various stages of completion. Expressing his concern over for farmers’ migration to other fields in Punjab, he said, “In
the rest of the country, the number of small and marginal farmers is increasing, while in Punjab, the trend is in the reverse. In the last one decade, about 1.28 lakh farmers in Punjab have leased out their land to big farmers. Another 72,000 farmers sold their land to large farmers, a cause of concern for the state. He commended the agriculture progress in Madhya Pradesh. Its contribution of wheat to the Central Pool some from five years was as low as 54,000 tonnes, but now the wheat procurement in the state has exceeded 8 million tonnes. To provide better remuneration to farmers, especially those producing fruits and vegetables, they should be allowed to sell their produce directly to the private players including food processors and the organised retail sector. In order to facilitate this transition, there should be some policy changes in APMC Act.” Hussain also released the CII Theme Paper on Agro Tech 2012. Workshops & Conferences On the concluding day there were technical workshop and interactive sessions with farmers. Farmers from Kashmir also attended the show. The main objective of Agro-Tech 2012 was to make farmers aware about the latest research, development in various fields in agriculture and allied sectors so that farmers after their return back shall apply same in their fields and teach other farmers. Useful conferences were also held in which experts such as Pradeep Malik, Member of Board, Class India limited, Srinivas Kamishetty and Amit Sood took part and enlightened the audience about the problems and possibilities of Indian agriculture and agribusiness. Apple & post-harvest management A useful conference on apple production, post-harvesting and related matters was also held. The subject of the conference was “Enabling International Standards for PostHarvest management of Apples”. Highlighting the wastage of fruits and vegetables, C N Dhar, Chairman CII Himachal Pradesh State Council, said, “At present 30 % of the fruits and vegetables across the country get spoiled and wasted. To prevent this spoilage, there is a dire need to enhance the post-harvest infrastructure and management systems in India to ensure year round storage and consumption of apples. Apples form an important component of the economies of the hill states like Himachal Pradesh, J &K and Uttarakhand with 70 % of the population being dependent on apples”. He appreciated the HP Government’s Rs 85 Crore ‘Apple Replantation Project’ to replace old and low-yielding varieties with more productive and high quality varieties of apple root stocks, as an important initiative for the state apples growers.
Class Launches Crop Tiger 40 & Crop Tiger 40 Terra Trac
lass India Limited, the market leader in the Indian self-propelled combine harvester industry and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the German multinational CLASS, one of the top farming machinery manufacturers in the world, launched two new products: Crop Tiger 40 and Crop Tiger 40 Terra Trac at Agro Tech. Crop Tiger is for the multi-crop harvesting requirements of states like Maharashtra, MP, UP, Bihar, Haryana and Punjab. Crop Tiger 40 Terra Trac with its latest features is an upgraded version of Crop Tiger 30 Terra Trac, the most successful and biggest selling self-propelled combine harvester in India. Both the products have been designed and developed in India for Indian farms keeping in mind the special needs due to prevailing conditions. Fitted with multi-
crop harvesting technology these products comply with the latest norms and are classic examples of German technology. CLAAS has a regional sales HQ and Parts Warehouse in Bangalore to meet the local demands. Its R&D is done at Morinda with focus on development of new products for Indian markets. The 8th CLASS Training Academy has also been opened in India for the skill development regarding new products and imparting knowledge among various stake-holders. CLASS has training support collaboration with Bihar Agriculture University for east, Punjab Agriculture University for north, South Regional Farm Machinery Testing and Training Institute, Andhra Pradesh for south, and Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyalaya, Maharashtra for west.
Neelkant Bakshi, Managing Director, Packolabel Systems Pvt Ltd – NABARD is doing a study for the Government of Jammu & Kashmir on the role of Public Private Participation (PPP) for setting up Model Pack houses. If implemented, it will prove to be a critical step for the horticulture rich state. ”In the post harvesting scenario, apple growers face a host of problems which are well identified. In fact, the recent bumper crop has demonstrated severe limitations of post harvesting managements. If the farmers do not perceive gains in the face of bumper crop, it would hamper their efforts in increasing the productivity”, he added. The growers have to be assisted at different stages of cultivation along with the provision of state of art grading packing pre cooling and transporting infrastructure. New Technologies for increasing productivity and post harvest management are on the anvil. Implementing emerging technologies requires complex protocols and there is a critical role to play between the technology providers and the growers and create business opportunities for them concomitant with facilitating in availing credit from the financial institutions. Dr Luca Montanari, Vice President UINTEC S.p.A, Italy said that “The key to successful postharvest management lies in adapting solutions and technology to the specific regional needs and requirements of the apple growers”. J P Negi, IAS (Retd), Government of Himachal Pradesh felt that “The need is to adapt and replicate the high density apple plantation methods, popular in Europe and US, in the region of Himachal Pradesh to increase the productivity & yield of apples”. Ms Barbara Guidi, Chief Coordinator, CERMAC Group, Italy highlighted that “Commitment to technological innovation & constant research in pre & post harvest management of fruits & vegetables is important for producing high quality products. C R Abuvarajan, Manager, NABARD Punjab Region iterated that “NABARD has a whole gamut of schemes for the agri sector ranging from rural infrastructure, agriculture marketing, poultry farmers to rural households. Kisan Gosthees Kisan Gosthees, an integral part of Agro Tech, featured sessions on “soil & Water Conservation, sustainable Farming for Marginal Farmers and Organic Farming”. The session brainstormed on topics such as preventing soil erosion, preserving water resources, optimal use of natural resources and enhanced land productivity, cultivation processes in the for of crop specific features, production systems that sustain the health of soil, ecosystem and people, limiting the harmful impact of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Experts’ Visit Agro Tech is one of the largest agricultural technology sector trade events in India. The event is attended by more than 250 professional exhibitors and the latest innovations and updates from this sector are closely scrutinized here. Different types of high quality agro chemicals, irrigation systems, fertilizers, hybrid seeds, dry land farming tools and rain water harvesting equipments are exhibited during the event, which also helps corporate participants to expand their business networks at the show. Call for sustainable agriculture Malvinder Mohan Singh, Chairman, CII Northern Region and Executive Chairman, Fortis Healthcare Ltd highlighted that, “Agriculture is the top priority for the nation and for CII as well. Sustained agriculture growth is critical for us to be able to achieve food & nutritional security, for the nation to achieve double digit growth and most importantly to realize our objective of inclusive growth. Addressing these challenges requires Indian Agriculture to focus on ‘Innovation’ and ‘Sustainable Agriculture’. Considering this, the theme of Agro Tech 2012 is also ‘Sustainable Agriculture’. Hari S Bhartia, Chairman, Agro Tech 2012 and Co-Chairman & Managing Director, Jubilant Life Sciences Ltd., highlighted that, “Over the years, Agro Tech has become a much awaited agriculture event across India, being the only integrated Agri show with a large domestic participation and significant international presence. We expect more than
30,000 farmers to visit Agrotech 2012. A very special feature this time is international farmer delegations Nepal, Netherlands and Australia. We also have a 35 member women farmer delegation from Una (Himachal Pradesh) visiting the fair.” Param Vir singh, Minister for Agriculture, government of Haryana, emphasized the urgent need to undertake the Second Green Revolution by bringing research institutions, industry, governments and farmers together. Arie Veldhuizen, Counselor for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Embassy of the Netherlands, elaborated on the Indo-Dutch Joint Action Plan for agriculture. He said that 8 centres of Excellence would be set up across the country including two in Punjab. The centres would impart training to farmers. Rakesh Mittal’s speech Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Chairman CII National Council on Agriculture and Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Bharti Enterprises Ltd., pointed, “CII firmly believes that rejuvenating of Indian Agriculture is possible if and only if the Government and the Private sector join hands and play their specified complementary roles in the Agri sector. We need to work in a Mission-Mode wherein the approach should be result oriented, time bound, area and crop specific and be monitored closely. We should synergise efforts and resources of disparate departments, Government agencies, private sector and farmers. Facilitating Private sector investment in agriculture and agri related sectors is the need of the hour. Public Private Partnerships in other areas of the economy have proved quite successful and we must now bring these to the agriculture sector also.” Mittal also focused attention on a policy for land consolidation, revamping of MSP Policy, repealing of the Essential Commodity Act, introduction of GST, Crop nutrition and rationalization of fertilizer/pesticide usage, propagation and intensification of micro/ drip irrigation use, seamless integration of the agriculture value chain from farm to fork and treating farm mechanization as an Agri input rather than being part of the automotive sector. Mission accomplished CII Northern Region deputy chairman and managing director Sandhar Technologies Ltd, Jayant Davar highlighted that “CII Agro Tech 2012 achieved one of its primary objectives of focusing on sustainable agriculture and bringing farmers face-to-face with the latest state-of-the-art technologies both in terms of machinery as well as agri-best practices.” CII Agro Tech 2012 chairman Hari S Bhartia said, “The four-day agro tech was visited by over 75,000 visitors including 35,000 farmers from a number of states from as far as Kerala in the South, Meghalaya in the East, Gujarat in the West and J&K in the North. The visiting farmers included women from 13 states - Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Punjab, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand & Uttar Pradesh.” A J&K farmer said, “We have come as a group of 30 farmers from our state to learn about new farming techniques. We wish that such huge fairs were held in J&K too”. A total of 45 foreign exhibitors from eight different countries participated. Canada, and Italian Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers Federation and Korea Agricultural Machinery Industry Cooperative (KAMICO) also set up their pavilions. Nine Concurrent Shows Fair comprised 9 concurrent international shows - farm services (agri-commerce technology); farm tech (farm machinery and equipment); food expo (processed and packaged food); food tech (food processing technology, logistics and equipment), good earth (agricultural inputs and farming techniques); implementex (agri and farm implements); livestock expo (livestock management); sugar tech (sugar co-generation and distillation) and water and irrigation management (farm water resources management). Nepal Delegation A delegation consisting 75 members from Commercial Agriculture Alliance of Nepal (CAA) also visited the show. The delegation was led by Durga Shap Kota of CAA. Most of the members hailed from 11 districts of eastern province of Nepal out of a total of 75 districts in Nepal. All the delegates are progressive farmers, known as ‘Agwa Kissan’ in local dialect, in their respective areas. Best Display Trophy The trophy for best display went to S P Sharma, chief manager, Agriculture (Network I) State Bank of India, local head office, Chandigarh. n
AgriTech India January 2013
AgTech Global Summit 2012
Use of modern technology is must for food security: Dr. S. Ayyappan
ore than 100 stakeholders from Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia and North America, representing public and private sector organizations came together at the AgTech Global Summit 2012, organized in Aurangabad, from 9 to 13 December, by the Jalna, a Maharshtra based Bejo Sheetal Biosciences Foundation, in collaboration with several national and international partners including Michigan State University, USA and Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth Rahuri. All the stakeholders gathered to share recent advances and experiences in crop breeding and improvement using the emerging tools of molecular biology to enhance food and nutritional security, mindful especially of our need to meet the millennium development goals in the context of global climate change. Inaugural Address The event was inaugurated by Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary of Department & Agriculture Research and Education (DARE), Government of India. The function was presided over by Dr. Kirti Singh, Chairman, World Noni Research Foundation, Professor Malcolm Elliott, Founding Director Norman Borlaug Institute, Anand Krishnan, Representative of the Holland’s Ambassador and Sharad Joshi, President Shetkari Sanghatna were the guests of honour on this occasion. Dr. S. Ayyappan while addressing the gathering said, “In order to meet the growing demand of food grains adequate use of modern technology is essential. Private sector and Government should join hands to enhance food production. We will be able to import Airplanes and Mobiles from across the world but we won’t be able to get wheat and rice if we fail to be independent in food grain production”. Chairman of Bejo Sheetal Seeds Suresh O. Agrawal delivered the welcome speech while Managing Director Sameer S. Agrawal highlighted the purpose of the summit. Sharad Joshi criticized the government by saying, “The policies of Government are so erroneous that the farmers are exposed to many problems. Cotton growing farmers are the real victims of these policies as they are getting less rates for the produce as compared to rats”. Scientists; Presence The eminent scientists from USA, Taiwan, Singapore, Korea, Netherlands, Italy, Hungary and a high level gathering of dignified Indian scientists participated in this summit. Breeding Techniques, Abiotic Stress Management, Role of Molecular Techniques in Crop Improvement, Biotech Tools for Crop Improvement, Biotic Stress Management, application of Genetic Engineering for Crop Development, Bt BrinjalIts effect on target pest & yield of Brinjal,
Public Private Partnership, Diagnostic Tools for Disease Identification and Management, Government- Farmer- Industry interaction. Guest Speakers The speakers were Dr. Swapan Datta, Dr. H.S. Gupta, Dr. Premnath, Dr. Brahma Singh, Dr. Pritam Kalia, Dr. Kulvinder S. Gill, USA, Dr. N.K. Krishna Kumar, DDG (Horti.), Dr. R. Tuberosa, Italy, Dr. Henk Huits, The Netherlands, Dr. David Douches, USA, Dr. K.E. Lawande, Dr. Virendra Patil, Dr. P. Anandkumar, Dr. Narendra Tuteja, Nandkumar Kunchge, Dr. B. Mazumdar, Dr. Shelly Praveen, Dr. Karim Maredia, Dr. Vibha Dhawan, Dr. Anupam Varma, Prof. Vijay Page. Farmers’ Presence Farmers took part in Government farmerIndustry Session. They took keen interest in knowing the new technologies. The group of farmer’s complained that they are not informed about the new technologies as a result of which research on Bt. Cotton took 10 years to reach them. Farmers were demanding multi trait crop resistance to insect, disease, herbicide etc. with uniform guidelines for crop management to avoid the confusion of farmers. Dr. Swapan Datta said, “This is high time that farmers should become aggressive in demanding the knowledge and information of research work and new technologies”. Dr. Kirti Singh, Chief Patron of the summit gave concluding remarks. Finally Kamal Zunzunwala, Director Bejo Sheetal Bio-Science Foundation proposed vote of thanks. Special thanks were offered to Dr. B. Mazumdar, organizing Secretary, Nandkumar, Convener, Dr. Anil Mali and Dr. Prashant Firke for their untiring efforts to make this event a grand success. Aurangabad / Jalna Declaration The highlights of Aurangabad / Jalna Declaration were as under: l All the scientists present at the AgTech Global Summit unanimously and unconditionally declared their support for application of modern biotechnology and genetic engineering and stressed that the regulatory decisions on genetically modified (GM) crops should be based on the on available scientific data. l The Summit participants highlighted the fact that more than 15 million farmers on 160 million hectors land in 29 countries around the world have adopted and benefitted from the GM crops that has contributed tremendously to enhancing agricultural productivity while maintaining the biodiversity and reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. Given these successes, the AgTech Global Summit
he potato crop in Punjab is not growing because of intense cold conditions prevailing in the northern region, growers today said. With Meteorological office predicting ground frost at many places in Punjab, growers also fear severe damage to potato output if frost occurs. “For the last 10 days, we have been observing that potato crop is not growing due to severe cold conditions persisting in Punjab. There is no growth of crop at all,” Jalandhar Potato Growers’ Association President J S Sangha said.
PPP is must for Indian agriculture: Pawar
participants stressed that the world’s farmers should be given a free choice to select and adopt crops developed through modern science in plant breeding including GM technology. l The scientists strongly emphasized the fact that regulatory data generated during the past two decades confirm the safety of the GM crops and products that are currently being grown globally. They suggested that the GM crops that have been approved and grown for more than a decade must be released. The scientists underlined that the new GM products that are in pipeline should continue to go through the very stringent regulatory approval processes of the national regulatory agencies. l The regulatory costs of bringing GM crops to market should be lowered to make it affordable for public sector institutions, small and medium enterprises and innovators. Government should also support such development in public sectors generously. l The stakeholders stressed that the rapidly evolving tools of modern biotechnology (for example molecular markers, genetic engineering and genomics) should be integrated into crop improvement programs to make agriculture more productive and sustainable. l The assembled scientists insisted that the nutritional and health aspects of foods should both be integrated into crop improvement and food security programs. l The stakeholders at the Summit appreciated the critical role of the private sector in technology transfer and commercialization of the improved crops. The public and private sector must work together to fast track the development and delivery of the technology to face the challenge of clime change and mitigate global hunger and poverty. The scientists however stressed that appropriate benefit sharing mechanisms should be developed and implemented especially with reference to germplasm and technology exchanges. Intellectual property (IP) protected technologies developed and available with the private sectors should also be made available to the other sectors including public sector with acceptable benefit share. l Innovative partnerships between academia and industry should be nurtured to generate the next generation of leaders with the practical knowledge and business skills to promote entrepreneurship for public good. l Both, the public and private sectors should actively promote and support the better understanding of science and technology among policy makers, the media, and the general public so as to avoid the misunderstandings and misconceptions about GM technology and other scientific development.
Cold wave worries Punjab potato growers “If the current weather conditions prolong for a few more days, then there can be an adverse impact on overall potato production,” said Sangha. Punjab and Haryana are reeling under the extreme cold weather conditions for the last several days as temperatures have been hovering over 10 degrees below normal. The Meteorological office has predicted that ground frost might occur at few places in both Punjab and Haryana while cold wave would continue during next 24 hours. Growers of potato, a tuberous crop, are also worried over the damaging impact on the plant because of ground frost. “Till now, we have not seen ground frost in potato growing areas. But if it comes even for two days, then it can completely damage the crop in the state,” said Jang Bahadur Sangha, Secretary General, Confederation of Potato Seed Farmers of Punjab. Ground frost had caused extensive damage to potato crop in Punjab a few years ago in Punjab. Punjab is a major producer of seed potato crop in the country. Total area under potato
57th NDC Meet
crop is pegged at 84,000 hectares with total output of 21 lakh tonne. Horticulture experts have also warned of damage to other vegetable crops and fruits if the minimum temperature goes below zero level. Though there was no report of any damage to the crop in Punjab so far because of intense cold wave, experts asked growers to be extra cautious during these days in order to prevent any adverse impact on vegetables and fruits. “Ground frost has the potential to cause damage to crops like potato,” Punjab Horticulture, Director, L S Brar said. “Farmers can go for light irrigation of crop under frost,” he said. Experts also suggested farmers to lit fire in surrounding areas to prevent adverse impact on crop in case of extreme cold weather. Experts also said if dense fog and mist continues to occur then it can cause emergence of disease like late blight on potato crop. Punjab has 1.92 lakh hectares and 71,000 hectares of area under vegetables and fruits respectively.
ndia should explore the PublicPrivate-Partnership (PPP) model on a large scale in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17) to sustain momentum of higher food-grain production in the coming years, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar recently said at recently held 57th National Development Council (NDC) Meet. He also said higher investment in agriculture and allied sectors was necessary to achieve food security and improve farm incomes. Besides, APMC Acts need to be amended to encourage setting up of private markets and contract farming. Addressing a large gathering, Pawar said: “The private public partnership (PPP) model should be explored on a larger and wider scale.” The Centre’s strategy for agriculture for 12th Plan would comprise assuring remunerative prices to farmers, facilitating a greater role for the private sector in farm sector, focus on small and marginal farmers through promotion of farmer interest groups and farmers producer companies, he said. The government will also emphasise on ensuring supply of quality seeds at reasonable prices, making other inputs available on a timely basis, pushing crop diversification besides providing more credit facilities, Pawar said. That apart, concerted efforts will be made for improving productivity in rainfed areas and creating a more competitive environment for agricultural marketing, he added. Stressing the need to improve irrigation facilities, Pawar said: “It is extremely important that ongoing irrigation projects are completed on time, without cost and time overruns.” With about 55% of agriculture land still dependent on rains for agriculture, the focus should be on development of dry-land, rain-fed areas and water harvesting, he said. Noting that drought proofing of the agriculture sector still remains elusive, the minister said, “Issues of improving water use efficiency, micro-irrigation and coordinated efforts of various agencies of government towards rain-fed agriculture have to be addressed in the coming years.” On farmers’ suicides, Pawar said, “Though the declining trend of farmers’ suicides is a matter of some satisfaction, we cannot remain complacent. We have to redouble our efforts to address the problem of agrarian distress in certain parts of the country.” The government needs to make all efforts to realise the 12th Plan’s broad vision of ‘Faster, Sustainable, and More Inclusive Growth’, leading to improvement in socio-economic condition of people, he added. He also said that the oilseed sector continues to be an area of concern where the country’s dependence on imports of edible oil is rising. Stressing the need to give impetus to research efforts in agriculture, Pawar said that number of new initiatives would be taken during the 12th Plan period. New schemes would also be launched to boost livestock sector. He urged the state governments to fill up all vacant posts created after modification of guidelines of ‘Support to State Extension Programmes for Extension Reforms’ scheme on priority basis.
AgriTech India January 2013
Continue from P1
The task is enormous & would need adequate Govt support: Pranab communication for weather forecasting and effective information dissemination to the farming community would help in preventing crop failure.
and private sectors, that better technologies to address the challenges are being developed and innovatively promoted amongst farmers to derive optimal returns from available resources. Ladies and Gentlemen, Meeting 4% growth We can meet the Twelfth Plan targets period agricultural growth target of 4% per annum only through measures such as crop diversification, developing high yielding disease resistant seeds, improvement in water management practices, promotion of balanced use of fertilizers and pesticides etc. Further, better and increased use of satellite
The Four-Component Strategy All-round progress in agriculture and allied sectors is a sine qua non for holistic rural development in the country. During my tenure as the Union Finance Minister, I had outlined a four-pronged strategy as part of the Union Budget for 2010-11 to propel growth in the agriculture sector. The four components of the strategy comprised of extending the green revolution to the Eastern region of the country, reducing the significant wastage in storage as well as in the operations of the existing food supply chains, improving credit availability to the farmers and providing further impetus to the development of the food processing sector by making available state-of-the-art infrastructure. These strategies have led to positive outcomes and we need to build-on these initiatives to induce further improvements in the agriculture sector.
Farmers’ Issues We are all aware that a number of issues are confronting farmers especially when the communication revolution is integrating the world into a global village. Economies are simultaneously becoming knowledge and capital intensive. Our farmers have to quickly adapt in order to cope with the changing times. They have to upscale from engaging in agriculture for subsistence to taking up agriculture as a commercial venture. With a large number of small and marginal farmers who rank at the bottom of the prosperity pyramid, the task is enormous and would need adequate support from Government. Employment Opportunities Government would simultaneously need to focus on creation of employment opportunities in other sectors to provide income diversification to rural families who today are dependent for their livelihood solely on unviable land holdings. Economies of scale through aggregation of produce can be catalysed through creation of additional on-
farm and non-farm employment opportunities in rural areas. In this regard, it is the collective responsibility of different departments and Ministries in Government of India to work in unison and at a scale that creates the desired impact. Things to be done Agriculture also needs to be given priority access to power, credit, water and fertilizers. It is essential to create rural infrastructure in the form of all season roads, multi-mode transportation, quality power supply, transparent markets, thriving financial institutions etc. to ensure remunerative returns to farmers. We also need to set up farmer interest groups that link farmers to the markets, reduce information asymmetry and make available both information and effective choices to farmers for supply of inputs and sale of produce. It needs no reiteration that food and nutrition security is important for India considering the size of our population and the large number of undernourished and malnourished living in extreme poverty. Increased food production would not only give a boost to our efforts for improving access to food for all but would also positively impact household level food availability. n
China closes poultry farms over anti-biotic misuse
hina’s agriculture authority shut down poultry farms in an east province where the chickens were reported to have been given excessive amounts of antibiotics. Last week, Chinese media reported that some poultry farmers in Shandong Province had given their chickens excessive amounts of antibiotics, including amantadine and ribavirin, to help them survive in overcrowded
chicken farms, triggering nationwide concern about food safety. Bi Meijia, the chief economic engineer as well as the spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture, said relevant poultry raisers and processors have been shut down and are under close investigation. The ministry attaches great importance to the case. The ministry has dispatched a group
of experts to Shandong and ordered local authorities to properly handle the case, he said, adding results will be released to the media in time. “In the following steps, we will enhance supervision over the entire poultry raising industry, raise the quality of the industry and notably scale up the crackdown on those who feed animals excessive amounts of antibiotics and veterinary drugs,” the state-run Xinhua quoted him as saying. Those found violating laws and standards will be punished, he added. China has been experiencing a spate of food and drug safety scandals starting with tainted milk powder, fake cooking oil and toxic capsules which have dented the confidence of public over government’s ability to enforce food safety.
PepsiCo to double potato buying in 5 years
epsiCo India will sharpen its focus on contract farming with an aim of doubling its procurement of potatoes locally from the current level of 2.40 lakh tonnes (lt) in the next five years. “Currently we are working with 24,000 farmers in seven States, including Punjab, West Bengal and Karnataka. Last year, we procured 2.40 lt of potatoes locally, double of what we had five years ago. Our investments in contract farming will continue to grow,” Manu Anand, Chairman of PepsiCo India, told media persons on the sidelines of a CSR event at Sangareddy. The company provides the entire package to farmers, starting from farm inputs to arranging for loans and crop insurance and assured buy back. Anand said the company was also bringing in new technology to reduce consumption of water for production of its beverages, including the flagship brand Pepsi. Water Consumption Eight years ago, the firm consumed seven litres of water to produce one litre of beverages, but today it has bought down the consumption level to an average of 2.2 litres. “In some of our more efficient plants, we consume barely 1.6 litres of water for one litre of beverage. We intend to bring it down further,” Vivek Bharati, Executive Director, said. He said this had been achieved through implementation of various water management and re-cycling schemes at its plant sites. It has 17 plants of its own and another 11 franchiseowned.
AgriTech India January 2013
Mahadev Agro Spring Industry
ahadev Agro is one of the Government recognized Manufacturer and Supplier of Agricultural Machines and their spare parts. Mahadev Agro Part of Mahadev Agro Spring Industry, founded in early 1990 with the desire to make available world class agricultural equipments and tools. We have Strong product development & quality control facility wherein we do exhaustive inspection before dispatching the goods to our overseas customers. Mahadev Agro Bridges gap between cost effective small scale sector and highly technical but equally expensive organized sector. Our products are geared for life, through a process that is alive and constantly involving techniques, undergo continuous improvement. Yet at affordable price in all over the world. The results were gratifying. In a short span of time our products have been acknowledged as of the highest
Kalam’s inputs help farmers
all it the ‘Kalam touch’, farmers of Paliganj village in Patna district are reaping the benefits of the science of agriculture taught by former President APJ Abdul Kalam. From owning cars and TVs to refrigerators, the farmers of Paliganj are a well-to-do lot today, their income from agriculture having registered a three-fold increase in the last decade or so. The villagers attribute their burgeoning wealth, commensurate with the increase in agricultural yield, to Kalam’s several visits to the village over the years. Between 2003 and 2011, the former President visited the village four times and during each visit he sat with the farmers to teach them how to increase the yield, secretary of Paliganj Bitarni Krishak Samiti (PBKS) Balmiki Sharma said. The sessions with the President were not confined to his visits only, the farmers met him also at the Rashtrapati Bhawan four times to gain wisdom from the scholarly scientist, he said. Sharma said, “The villagers have planned to offer ‘citizenship of Paliganj’ to Kalam due to his dedicated service to the region.” Gopal Singh Yadav, a farmer and president of the PBKS, said the farmers earlier harvested about nine quintals of paddy from an acre, but after the scientific tips from Kalam the productivity has gone up to 27 quintals per acre — a three-fold jump. “Similarly, the yield of wheat has also risen from about five quintals to 12 quintals per acre now,” Yadav, who owns three acres
100th Indian Science Congress
Future belongs to the country with grains not guns: Dr. M.S. Swaminathan
quality coming out of India and indeed not very short of the world’s best brands. For any requirement from abroad our target was to achieve the quality, finish and packaging standard of the best brand available in that particular market. We transcripted the product through metallurgy, manufacturing process, treatment etc. to with stand the physical tests necessary for each item. We supplemented the product with finest detailing, such as bar coding. our efforts are to make a range of best Agricultural Machines.
of land, said. Paliganj MLA Usha Vidyarthi said the State government through a sincere distribution of subsidy on seed and agricultural equipment is providing help to keep the momentum of growth going. Kalam visited Paliganj in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2011 to provide valuable tips to farmers as part of a project by TIFAC (The Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council), which is a registered society under the Union Science & Technology Ministry. “Kalam Saheb taught farmers importance of certified seed, duration of sowing the seed and proper storage of the crop,” Sharma, whose organisation has membership from 55 villages in and around Paliganj, said. Kalam had also taught them to cultivate medicinal plants in between Rabi and Kharif seasons, a young farmer, said. Other farmers such as Rameshwar Yadav and Om Narayan Singh Chandaus said the former President had taught them how to maintain fertility of the soil and also importance of education for their children. Though the TIFAC project ended in 2011, the farmers follow the teachings of Kalam and keep in touch with scientists of the organisation, Sharma said.
alling upon the scientific community to double its efforts in harnessing science to meet challenges in food, nutrition and water, renowned agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan said that science could lead to “evergreen revolution in agriculture” aimed at increasing productivity without associated ecological or social harm. Dr. Swaminathan, also the senior-most former president of the Indian Science Congress Association was speaking to delegates at the valedictory session of 100th Indian Science Congress, held in Kolkata. “The future in my view belongs to the country with grains not guns,” he said, adding that India had come a long way from “ship-tomouth” existence to “conferring the legal right of food to all with home grown food” under the proposed National Food Security Bill of India. Referring to concerns over the rise in prices of fertilisers expressed by many, including Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, he said that the fertiliser-use efficiency is very low in the country at about 48 per cent. “It can be increased to 90 per cent using scientific methods,” Dr. Swaminathan said. He later told journalists that agricultural produce from one kilogram of urea could be doubled by adopting scientific processes. Calling for an increase in agricultural productivity in the State, Dr. Swaminathan said that West Bengal, Bihar and Assam were the sleeping giants of Indian agriculture with enormous potential to increase productivity. Stating that empowerment of women in agriculture required special attention he said that he had introduced a Private Members Bill in Rajya Sabha that would ensure certain basic entitlements for women. In the light of steps being taken to go for measures of balancing economic aspects with ensuring food security as well as to maintain the biodiversity of ecosystems, it will be apt if the traditional knowledge of different seed varieties and creatures is preserved and conserved for the future, Swaminathan said at a session on “Biodiversity Conservation & Food Security”. It was dedicated to former Union food and agriculture minister late C
Subramanium, who also was best known as the architect of India’s modern agricultural development policy, after the success of his programme, which led to a record production of wheat in 1972, an achievement appropriately termed as the Green Revolution. The first speaker was Dr Ashok Khosla, president, IUCN, and chairman, Development Alternatives, New Delhi. Dr Khosla touched the issue “Secure access to food needs secure and healthy ecosystem.” He said that the issue of food security and ecosystem services was interlinked with climate change and with the sole concern of ensuring availability of food to the world population at an affordable price, which was becoming difficult due to several ecological changes as well as natural calamities. With the future projection of fall in agricultural produce by 15-20% by 2025 coupled with global warming due to high consumption of fossil fuels it would need a new strategy to cope with, summed up Khosla. Dr Balkrishna Pisupati, chairman, National Biodiversity Council, Chennai, spoke on the subject, “Shaping the future of India - Biodiversity services.” He insisted that communities could play a vital role in preserving the biodiversity. He referred to the new aspects of market factors and possible avenues of investment in the area of ecosystem preservation associated with the ensured availability of resources to all. Dr A Damodaran, chair professor IPR chair on IP management (MHRD), IIM, Bangalore, spoke on “Resources assessment for and financing biodiversity conservation in India.” He elaborated the basic philosophy of biodiversity financing in an emerging economy like India. He also advocated for the public financing in the area of biodiversity projects. The last speaker was Dr Sachin Chaturvedi, senior fellow research and information system for developing countries, New Delhi, dwelt on the issue of “Future of biological sciences & economics.” He said that studies of science & economics were extremely important. Also, issues pertaining to economics and trading conditions affect the rural poverty. In this area we require an indigenous approach. “We should also make a balance in innovation priorities. Agroecology is also an important aspect that assimilates the help from all sectors for enhanced agricultural output by using genetic engineering along with agro-ecological engineering,” he summed up.
AgriTech India January 2013
Organic farm shipments rise despite slipping acreage
espite a decline in organically farmed land in India between 2009 and 2010, India’s export volume of organic produce has increased by 20 per cent. New research conducted by the Worldwatch Institute has noted that India plays host to around 4,00,551 organic farmers and leads the pack of global certified organic farmers, followed by Uganda which has 1,88,625 farmers and Mexico which has 1,28,826. Organic farming relies on ecological processes such as waste recycling and bio-pesticides and does not use chemical fertilisers. Sixty-nine year old Jayant Barve is one such organic farmer. With 30 acres near Vita, 40 km from Sangli district in Maharashtra, Barve turned to organic farming in 1988. He practices crop rotation and uses organic manure and compost produced by worms. Export Growth Incidentally, India’s organic exports almost tripled in value for the fiscal year 2011-12. The country exported 1,15,000 tonnes of organic products valued at $360 million in 2011-12, compared with the 70,000 tonnes valued at $130 million in 201011. Sector exports are set to double in
the current fiscal. “We are not bothered about the price of organic produce in the retail market or any marketing mechanism to export our produce. We are only concerned with the fertility of the soil. With each crop, we try to upgrade the soil,” said Barve. Stating that sustainable food production is turning out to be increasingly important in India, given its growing population, Barve said: “Earlier I had several grape farms. Now, we grow pomegranates, mango, all the cereals, pulses, wheat and lots of sugarcane.” Barve started with vermicompost as manure. Given the lay of the land, he moved on to organic manure which he now produces at a manufacturing unit at his farm in Vita. “We produce nearly 8,000 tonnes of organic manure and sell across Maharashtra, Rajasthan and even Tamil Nadu,” said Barve. Farmers as far away as Tiruchi , Puducherry, Coorg (Karnataka) are ardent seekers of his organic manure, said Jayant Barve, who is also the founder of the Organic Farming Association of India. Organic Growth The Worldwatch Institute report which has examined the growth of global organic agricultural practices, has said that despite a dip in 200910, the footprint of organic farms has trebled around the world since 1999 to 37 million hectares.
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