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AgriTech India June 2012

Big B helps farmers to pay their debt

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mitabh Bachchan came to the rescue of 90 farmers in Maharashtra`s Wardha district as they were given cheques to repay their debt. Cheques were delivered at the homes of 24 other needy farmers. The farmers were selected from over 20 villages of the district by members of the Rotary Club of Gandhi City Wardha and Rotary Club

of Mumbai. The cheques’ total amount was around Rs.30 lakh, all of which was donated by Bachchan. “When Bachchan expressed his willingness to contribute to the cause of farmers, we scrutinised the debt amount of farmers in these villages and sent a list of over 300 farmers to him,” member and past president of Rotary Club of Gandhi City Wardha Mahesh Makolkar said. He said that after the list was sent to Bachchan, representatives from his side

visited these villages and verified the information. They also narrowed down the list to 114, he said. “Around 90 farmers were handed over the cheques at a ceremony. We have arranged to deliver the cheques of those farmers who were unable to attend the ceremony,” Makolkar said. There are over 900 villages in the district, out of which farmers of 22 villages were selected for the monetary help.

IMC-ERTF organizes meet for farm growth in 12th plan

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he Economic Research and Training Foundation of Indian Merchants’ Chamber (IMC-ERTF) has organised a panel discussion on ‘What should India do to achieve 4 per cent per annum agricultural growth rate in the 12th Five-Year Plan’. The panel featured several eminent speakers and domain experts who discussed strategies to achieve the targeted growth rate. Faster, sustainable and more inclusive growth is the theme of the 12th Plan, according to the approach paper of the Planning Commission. Agriculture can guarantee a really inclusive growth because more than half of the population is dependent on it for livelihood.

Over the last three Plan periods, the farm growth rate was tardy and well below the target. With rising incomes, demographic pressure and appetite for consumption, demand growth has been running ahead of farm output growth. Indian agriculture needs resurgence for which the panel of experts is likely to come up with policy prescriptions. Dr Mahendra Dev, Director, IGIDR, delivered the keynote speech. The panellists included Dr V. Easwaran, GM (Agribusiness), SBI, Dr Gyanendra Shukla, Director, Monsanto, Mark Kahn, and Vice-President, Godrej Agrovet. G. Chandrashekhar delivered the theme address and moderated the panel discussion.

Paddy farmers to get Rs 100 a quintal bonus for 2012-13 crop-year

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he Agriculture Ministry has proposed a Rs 100 per quintal bonus to paddy farmers over and above the support price of Rs 1,250 per quintal recommended for 2012-13 crop year. In a proposal moved for the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs’ consideration, the Ministry has accepted the recommendation of the Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP) on minimum support price (MSP) for paddy and other kharif crops. CACP is a statutory body that advises the Government on farm pricing policy. However, the Ministry has separately

proposed a bonus of Rs 100 per quintal over and above the paddy MSP for 2012-13. “A bonus of Rs 100 per quintal has been recommended over and above the paddy MSP for 2012-13 keeping in view the rising cost of production, squeezing of farmers’ margins and to further incentivise paddy growers,” sources said. The bonus proposal would cost the government’s exchequer Rs 2,621.31 crore assuming procurement of 39.3 million tonnes in 2012-13, they added. The Ministry wants the CCEA to consider the proposal of paddy MSP and bonus before sowing picks up later this month. According to sources, the Ministry has proposed 15.7 per cent increase in paddy MSP for 2012-13 crop year (July-June). It has suggested an MSP of Rs 1,250 and 1,280 per quintal for ‘common’ and ‘A’ grade varieties of paddy for 2012-13 against Rs 1,080 and Rs 1110 per quintal, respectively, in the last year. Paddy is grown in both kharif (summer) and rabi (winter) season. The kharif sowing begins with the start of the south west monsoon in June and harvest starts from October. On account of a sharp increase in paddy MSP and good monsoon, the country is estimated to have produced a record 103.41 mt of rice in 2011-12 crop year.

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Flour mills not to buy wheat as stocks overflow

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nexpected buying emerged in wheat futures on the National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange in the first week of June. After hitting a low of Rs 1,121 a quintal, June contracts on the NCDEX shot up to Rs 1,140 and touched a high of Rs 1,143/quintal. Wheat spot prices on the MCX rose by Rs 4.40 to Rs 1,307.5/quintal. In the physical market, sluggish domestic demand coupled with ample stocks pulled dara and desi wheat down by Rs 30-70/quintal on June 5. Poor demand for flour is a prime reason for lack of buying interest in the market, said Sewa Ram, a wheat trader. Flour mills are saddled with stocks and they do not want to take fresh positions at current levels as wheat prices continue to move downwards and the domestic demand is also not picking up, he added. Dara prices fell by Rs 30 to Rs 1,160-1,170 a quintal. Similarly, desi wheat was down Rs 50-70 a quintal. The Tohfa variety eased by Rs 50 to Rs 2,250 a quintal, and Bhojan King by Rs 60 to Rs 2,140. Rasoi bhog quoted at Rs 1,850, while the Nokia variety traded at 2,080, Rs 70 down from the previous level. Flour Prices With a fall in dara prices, flour prices too went down by Rs 10 and quoted at Rs 1,200 for a 90-kg bag. On the other hand, Chokar continued to rule firm and sold at Rs 650660 for a 49-kg bag. Low availability of green fodder in the region is keeping chokar prices firm, said Sewa Ram.


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AgriTech India June 2012

Escorts to promote its jumbo / Executive series tractors the next two years. For this, it has entered into design agreements with European technical experts. “We’re looking to manage cash as much as possible. We have a very large product programme over the next few quarters. We are concentrating more on the higher end of the tractor range, as we feel that is the future,” Nanda said.

S. Sridhar (left), CEO, Escorts Agri Machinery, and Shenu Agarwal, Head, Marketing, at the launch of Farmtrac tractor in Chennai

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scorts Ltd hopes to use the muscle power and versatility of its large tractors to make it more attractive to farmers and expand its market. It will soon be coming out with a total application solution including a wider range of tractor-drawn implements to support farmers. The launch of its 60-HP Farmtrac range paves the way for increasing the ways a tractor can be used, said Escorts’ Chief Executive Officer, S. Sridhar. “With greater pulling power comes greater ability… more and bigger farm implements can be dragged behind the tractor to do the job faster and better, he says. Also, the tractors have a lifting capacity of nearly 2.5 tonnes; they can move or load construction material. A farmer uses a tractor for only a few months. The rest of the time a hoe or a dozer can be linked to a large tractor to hire out for construction work,” he said. Escorts will not just sell the tractor but an entire package of solutions to support farmers. This effort is in the pipeline and will soon be launched. Farmtrac will be available in six variants with a 24-speed gearbox with 12 forward gears, and an equal number of reverse gears for versatile application and a heavy duty eight-geared plus two reverse geared versions. There will also be new launches every six months. Escorts led the market a few years back till the advent of multinationals when large tractors were around 50 HP. The company has upped the HP ante to wrest back its leadership position, with home-brewed technology that is ideal for Indian conditions, said Sridhar. Slowdown hits profit A slowdown in tractor sales has led to a 75 per cent drop in Escorts’ standalone net profit for the quarter ended March 31, 2012. Net sales for the company fell 11 per cent in the period. Escorts follows an October-September fiscal year. Production Cut To align itself to the lower demand, the company cut back production, while reducing inventory levels by Rs 100 crore over the last two months at both the factory and the dealerend. “The industry is going through rough weather, with the minimum support prices under pressure and untimely rainfall destroying some crops in North India. Since November last year, we have increased prices four times already,” Nikhil Nanda, Joint Managing Director, said. The company also expects costs to further reduce by next year, after it received approval to merge three group entities — Escorts Construction Equipment, Escotrac Finance and Investments and Escorts Finance Investment and Leasing, into itself at a court-convened meeting on April 20. The merger is expected to add Rs 1,000 crore into the Escorts’ topline, leading to costsavings on a combined backend infrastructure and sourcing. “We’re creating treasury stocks as a war chest for expansion purposes. We believe we’re under valued right now,” he said. While there will be no spends on fresh capacity after the Rs 150-crore investment of last fiscal, up to Rs 70 crore will be spent on new technology, upgrades and products over

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Executive Series With the recent launch of a more profitable ‘executive’ series, Escorts tractor range now extends from 12 to 110 HP. A wide portfolio has encouraged the company to look for increased export orders from Africa and Europe. “The Indian farmer of today is well informed and an agriculturist by choice,” said S. Sridhar, CEO, Escorts, Agri Machinery. He added that in this market power for speed and ease of operations cannot however come at the cost of fuel efficiency. Available in 60HP and 65HP options, the new tractors are equipped with four-wheel drive, 24-speed syncroshuttle gearbox for versatility, and a four-cylinder engine and costs between Rs 7 lakh and 10 lakh. These will be made at Escorts Faridabad facility where a separate unit has been set up for the purpose. The company expects to make 10,000 units a year. The current market for tractors in India stands at around 5.25 lakh units annually, and the demand for large tractors has doubled in the last seven years. “By 2018-19 this is estimated to touch 22-23 per cent of the total demand, and we want to get the leadership position in it,” Sridhar said.

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Amul’s turnover spikes up

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mul has crossed the $2.5-billion mark with India’s biggest dairy brand reporting a turnover of Rs 11,668 crore in 2011-12, ended March 31, 2012, out of which Rs 9,901 crore were paid back to 32 lakh farmer members of milk unions. Announcing the annual results after the 38th annual general body meeting of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd, which markets the Amul brand, its Chairman, Parthibhai Bhatol, said that the turnover of FY12 was 20 per cent higher than that in 201011, Rs 9,775 crore. In 2012-12, GCMMF plans to achieve a turnover of Rs 14,400 crore. At a time when farmers in other States were struggling to make their milk business viable in the absence of good returns, their counterparts in Gujarat are rejoicing over a 58 per cent increase in their milk prices over the last three years, he said in a statement. Member farmers of GCMMF received a price of Rs 468 per kg of fat for their milk production this year, the highest price being paid to farmers in the country.

Last year, GCMMF initiated its largest distribution expansion exercise to extend its reach to smaller towns and semi-urban areas. Apart from the 750 distributors added in dairy and fresh products segment, GCMMF also added 150 super distributors through the implementation of its new ‘hub & spoke’ model, to reach the smaller markets. In 2011-12, 965 new Amul Parlours have been added, taking the total strength to 6,315. Apart from the 170 parlours at railway stations and 303 operating at various centres of excellence, Amul also has 600 air-conditioned ice-cream scooping parlours, making it the largest single brand retail in the country. GCMMF will be investing Rs 3,000 crore to set up nine processing units in the next four years. “This would enhance our milk handling capacity from the existing 145 lakh litres per day to 180 lakh litres per day,” Bhatol said. Currently, dairying contributes 26 per cent in agricultural output but still receives only 12 per cent of the public expenditure on agriculture. Exempting income-tax on dairying, as in case of agriculture, and reduced VAT rates on consumer products at 12.5 per cent, would help boost dairy sector and ensure better returns to milk producers and consumers, he added.

Farmers in Punjab to get extra power supply during paddy sowing

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unjab’s State-owned power utility said it has made arrangements to supply an additional 2,000 MW of uninterrupted power to farmers ahead of the paddy sowing season. The power utility has managed to buy the power under a short-term purchase arrangement from different sources, including

Power Trading Corporation and Shri Cement at Rs 3.91 a unit compared to last year’s Rs 4.04 a unit, said Arun Verma, Director (Generation), Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd. Paddy sowing in Punjab starts from June 10 and the power required to draw underground water to water the crop is considerable.


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AgriTech India June 2012

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Indian researchers help to find tomato genome sequence

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n what is considered a major step forward in biotechnology research, a group of 300 scientists from across the world, including India, have sequenced the genome of tomato. The achievement is expected to lower the costs and speed up efforts to improve tomato production, making it better equipped to combat pests and pathogens, and to tolerate droughts. The work, which has been published in the latest issue of international science journal Nature, is also expected to help in efforts to improve the productivity of other crops. From India, scientists from the National

Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR), the National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology under the Indian Agricultural Research Institute and the Delhi University’s South Campus participated in the programme. Speaking to reporters, director of NIPGR and coordinator of the Indian effort Akhilesh Kumar Tyagi noted that the research would help scientists decipher the relationship between the tomato genes and traits, and broaden their understanding of genetic and environmental factors that interact to determine a crop’s health and viability. Consortium The ‘Tomato Genome Consortium’ was established after a scientific conference organised in 2003 in the U.S. Its members were drawn from the U.S., the U.K., China, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, South Korea, Israel, Spain, Argentina, and Belgium. Tomato belongs to a family of vegetables called ‘Solanaceae,’ which have a lot of global importance as they serve as sources of food, spices, medicines and ornamentals.

World rice output up at record 480 mt in 2011: FAO

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elped by record rice production in India, world output of the key staple rose by 2.6 per cent to all—time high of 480.1 million tonnes (MT) in 2011, United Nation’s body Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has said. Global rice production stood at 468.1 MT in 2010. “With the rice season virtually completed, the latest estimate of 2011 world rice production has been lowered slightly to 480.1 MT, still pointing to a 2.6 per cent or 12 MT, increase from 2010 and to an all time high,” FAO said in its latest Food Outlook report. The downward revision in the 2011 world estimate resulted from adjustments in the output especially in Bangladesh, Mali, Pakistan, Senegal and Venezuela, it added. “The increase in world output in 2011 was principally fostered by outstanding results in India, which on the back of a favourable monsoon, experienced a 7.4 MT expansion to 103.4 MT, breaking the 100

MT landmark for the first time,” it noted. According to the India’s Agriculture Ministry estimates, the country is pegged to have harvested a record 103.41 MT of rice in the 2011—12 crop year (July—June) as against 95.98 MT in the previous crop year. “Considerably more rice was also harvested in Asia by China, Pakistan and Vietnam. Further sizable gains were achieved by Cambodia, Malaysia, Nepal and the Philippines,” it said. However, a series of setbacks including floods, excessive rains and diseases depressed output in Indonesia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand, FAO pointed out. Outside Asia, the 2011 season concluded positively in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Egypt and Uruguay, while poor growing conditions were partly behind disappointing crop results in Madagascar and in countries of West Africa, especially Mali and Senegal, it said.

Insecticides India to dilute equity to raise Rs 100 cr

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nsecticides (India) Ltd is planning to dilute equity this financial year by seven-eight per cent to raise Rs 100 crore. The company will use the funds for its expansion plans. “We, however, are not going for a fresh public issue for this. We will go for private equity funds,” said Rajesh Aggarwal, Managing Director of Insecticides (India) Ltd. The company admitted that last year’s poor weather conditions across the country had impacted its turnover. It forecast a hike in prices this year. The promoters hold 75 per cent in the company, which is into chemical pesticides business. The company registered a turnover of Rs 555 crore last year (Rs 478 crore). Of the Rs 555-crore, branded products contributed Rs 450 crore with the rest coming from institutional sales. Re Depreciation Impact The company has taken a hit because of the depreciating rupee last year. It posted a loss of Rs 6.5 crore on account of forex fluctuations. “We did hedge but there is a limitation (for hedging).” Insecticide India has acquired rights to manufacture and sell Nuvan (US) and Hakama

(Japan) in India. While Nuvan is an insecticide owned by American Vanguard Corporation, Hakama is a herbicide owned by Nissan Chemical Industries. “We are expecting the new additions to help achieve the target of Rs 800 crore, with branded sales going up to Rs 600 crore and institutional sales to Rs 200 crore.” Though it manufactured and marketed about 100 insecticides, fungicides and herbicides, the company earned about one-third of its revenues from four flagship products that include Lethal, Victor and Thimet. Each of this contributed about Rs 40 crore.

Agrimart to expand in TN

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arm and garden care equipment maker Agrimart is looking to expand its presence in Tamil Nadu. The company is scouting for partners / investors at the district or taluk level in the State to expand its presence. As part of its promotional efforts, Agrimart, a part of the Ratnagiri Impex group participated in the Agri Intex Fair in Coimbatore. V. Muralidharan, Retail Adviser, Agrimart, said the company has in the last 12 years, been advocating the small and marginal farmers to take to mechanised farm practices. “It’s not been easy; but now, because of non-availability of farm labour and spiralling cost of farm hands, there is some level of acceptance,” he said, referring to the use of mechanised equipments in farming. He observed that Kerala topped in implementation of farm mechanisation. “It is pathetically low in Tamil Nadu. People are willing to buy the equipment only if it is entitled to a subsidy, but this is not so in Kerala and elsewhere. There, a group of farmers come together, bargain and buy the equipment,”

Muralidharan said. Stating that the company had around 250 types of farm implements, ranging from Rs 15,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh, he said, “these are multi-purpose machines and available with accessories such as power weeder, power tiller, pole pruner, harvester, land mower and so on. It does not involve huge investment and the savings is phenomenal,” he added. To a query on savings, he said: “manual weeding is not only time consuming, but labour intensive. With the use of power weeder, it would be possible to complete the job in onetenth the time.” The company has a network of 400 dealers and 100 Agrimart stores across the country. It plans to add 250 to 300 Agrimart store in the next 2 -3 years. In TN, the company plans to open 45 Agrimart outlets in district and taluk centres in the first phase. It has started operations in Salem, Tiruchi and Madurai districts. Apart from such sales point, the company is also simultaneously addressing the after-sales service needs of the customer, said Muralidharan.


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AgriTech India June 2012

UPL to launch Japanese Co’s two insecticides

(from left) Mr. Kenzo Oda San , Chairman and Executive Director, ISK, Japan , Jai Shroff, CEO of United Phosphorous Limited and Tetsuya Okabayashi, Executive Vice-President, ISK launching the ‘Ulala’ -a systemic insecticide with translaminar action for controlling the sucking pest

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rop protection firm United Phosphorus Ltd (UPL) is expanding its tie-up with Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha (ISK) of Japan to launch two new insecticides from the latter’s global products portfolio in India this year. UPL will also be ramping up its manufacturing capacities to produce ISK products for the Japanese firm’s global market. UPL is in the process of completing its nationwide roll out of ISK’s first product, Ulala, a systematic insecticide for controlling sucking pests, in India. It launched the product in Hyderabad on Wednesday. “We will be launching new products currently in ISK R&D pipeline for the Indian market. This year, we

will roll out two new insecticides from ISK stable,” Jai Shroff, CEO, told media persons. The company is investing Rs 300 crore for regulatory approvals globally and ramping up its production capacities in India. Part of these capacities will be utilised to produce ISK’s products for its global markets. UPL’s global sales account for about 75 per cent of its total revenue, with Latin America and Brazil being its biggest markets. “India’s share of our revenues will continue to remain at 20-25 per cent,” he said. After the recent acquisition in Brazil, UPL is aiming at increasing Brazil’s contribution to its revenue from the current 12 per cent to about 18 per cent in the next 2-3 years. The company, which completed 35 global acquisitions in the last 15 years, is not immediately looking at fresh buys. “Unless we get a compelling deal, we will focus on consolidating our existing businesses,” Shroff said. UPL, through its group company Advanta India, is betting big on sales of hybrid rice seeds, with Assam, West Bengal and Bihar planning to increase area under hybrid rice to 22-25 per cent. “This is expected to push up sales of hybrid rice seeds three times in these States in the next two years,” Shroff said.

US grains fall sharply due to slow economy

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S grains fell sharply in the beginning of June with wheat dropping more than 1 per cent to a two-week low, as a surging dollar and mounting concerns over Europe’s debt crisis triggered a broad commodities sell-off as investors fled risky assets. Corn and wheat futures declined despite a larger-than-expected downgrade in US crop conditions, while soybeans tumbled to their lowest in a week on news that top soy importer China was unlikely to pass a stimulus package. The US dollar index, which measures the strength of the greenback against a basket of currencies, rose to its highest since September 2010 amid the euro zone banking crisis and slow growth in China, making dollar-priced commodities expensive for importers. The dollar typically has an inverse price relationship with commodities, which are priced in dollars. So for importers a stronger US currency makes commodities cost more. “It’s a risk-off attitude,” said Citigroup grains analyst Sterling Smith. “Pick a country in Europe and pick a problem. The Spanish banking crisis seems to be the most acute issue and that is creating a situation where commodities in general are selling off along with equity markets.” Wheat for July delivery was off 9 cents at $6.47-3/4, declining for the second straight day at the Chicago Board of Trade, while July corn was down 6-3/4 cents at $5.55-3/4 and July soybeans 19-1/4 cents lower at $13.67-1/2. Weakness in other commodities, especially crude oil and metals, also pressured the grains complex, analysts said. “We are seeing something of a tug-ofwar each day between the depressed micro economic environment and weather conditions especially in the Black Sea region and the US,” said Rabobank analyst Erin FitzPatrick. Russia’s Grain Union gave an upbeat picture of the country’s upcoming crop and exports. Traders were keeping a close eye on weather forecasts after wheat prices came under pressure after reports of rain in dry southern Russia in early June, with Russia’s state forecaster predicting more rainfall. “We do have some improved weather forecasts for the US this week but the longerrange forecasts are still not very positive,” FitzPatrick said. The US Department of Agriculture’s weekly crop progress report said that 72 percent of the crop was in good-toexcellent condition. US corn and soybean crops now need an urgent round of rain and there are some forecasters calling for showers in the Midwest. Rain is also seen in portions of the lower Midwest, providing critical relief to stressed corn crops in those areas, although more will

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be needed to foster development. Traders said rain was unlikely to penetrate the dry subsoils that were slowing soybean emergence.

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Mexico wants to export avocado to India

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he Mexican ‘King Avacado’ (fruit) could soon be available in India. Buoyed by huge demand, Mexico is now trying to push avacado exports to India. “We are working on the logistics aspects with the Government of Karnataka, and hope to use the State’s knowledge or solution to reduce the transit time of shipments,” Aldo Ruiz, Investment and Trade Commissioner, Ministry of Economy, Mexico, said on the sidelines of the Global Investors’ Meet in Bangalore. Avacado is a fruit native to Mexico, and is largely exported from there. It is very difficult to send fresh product exports to India because the transit time is long, he pointed out. “We are looking for better connectivity to India through Karnataka,” he said. Currently, shipments from Mexico’s Veracruz port take 44-50 days to reach Nhava Sheva container terminal in Mumbai.

“We are trying to route shipments from Singapore to Mangalore port in Karnataka,” he said. The preferred transit time would be 30-32 days, added Ruiz. Other challenges in India would include cold storage facilities, which are not yet very well developed, and also ground transportation time which need to be reduced too. Though Ruiz declined to quantify the demand for avacado in India, he said that top retailers from India have shown interest in getting the fruit to the country and have been in touch with Mexican exporters and distributors.

Green Revolution in rain-fed areas is needed, says DG, Icrisat

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r William Dar, Director-General of Icrisat, has called for a Green Revolution in rainfed areas. “Green Revolution in irrigated areas has helped the country improve production of paddy and wheat. While continuing the focus on paddy, wheat and corn, we need to start a Green Revolution in dry land areas,” he said. Dr Dar was addressing retired employees of ICAR (Indian Council of Agriculture Research) before presentation of Prof. M S Swaminathan award to two scientists. Instituted by RICAREA (Retired ICAR Employees Association) and sponsored by Nuziveedu Seeds, the award

carries Rs 2 lakh in cash and a citation. Dr R. Sai Kumar, Director of Directorate of Maize Research, and Dr N. Shobha Rani, Principal Scientist and Head (Crop Improvement Section at Directorate of Rice Research) won the fourth edition of the award, given every two years. “About 50 per cent of country’s food grain production happens in rain-fed areas. So we need to invest more in this segment,” Dr Dar said. He also called for encouragement to agricultural crops other than paddy, wheat and corn.


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AgriTech India June 2012

...Continue from page 1

AP’s Dept of Horticulture organizes Mango Mela 2012

Jain Irrigation Systems brings to India 1st Center Pivot Irrigation Systems

require low pressure of only 10 to 15 meters and therefore the whole system requires lower pressure compared with a conventional portable sprinkler system of this size.  This overhead pipeline is supported by different towers mounted on wheels and propelled with electrical motors. This allows the machine to rotate around the central pivot point and therefore irrigate in the shape of a circle. Electric motors of 0.25- 0.5 hp only move theses towers at very slow speed through a special gear box which is a USP of Valmont Inc.  A unit from one tower to the other is called a “span”. A span can be 49, 55 or 60m long. The system is completely modular, and spans can be added together to irrigate different sizes of field. As said, a typically economical size would be about 7 spans, irrigating a circle of about 50Ha. Linear Move Irrigation System  In Linear move machines water carrying pipe is also mounted on towers that move, but along a straight path. Such systems are very useful in irrigating square or rectangular fields.  Water source is an open channel/ water course along which the machine is guided. Alternatively water source can be pressurized water outlets along the side of the field connected to linear machine with a drag hose. Center Pivot and Linear irrigation systems are similar to sprinkler form of irrigation with the added advantage that almost daily irrigation is possible which helps in preventing moisture stress and help in steady plant growth like in case of drip irrigation. Crop yields are much higher when compared with surface irrigation and conventional portable sprinkler irrigation system and is comparable with that achieved with drip irrigation.

Center Pivot irrigation systems at large farms of State Farms Corporation of India will provide help irrigate large tracks with very little manpower. Saving in water, increased area under irrigation and enhanced crop productivity at lower cost are many advantages which State Farms Corporation of India will get from these time tested form of mechanized irrigation system. Soaring profits Jain Irrigation has reported 59 per cent increase in net profit at Rs 173 crore (Rs 109 crore) in the fourth quarter. Sales were up by one per cent at Rs 1,212 crore (Rs 1,200 crore). The company recorded a forex gain of Rs 30 crore in the quarter against Rs 10 crore registered in the same period last year. The company has recorded a tax write back of Rs 44 crore in the quarter. Anil Jain, Managing Director, said the year passed by has been almost like a perfect storm for us. “We have faced slowing sales growth, increasing delay in release of government subsidy receivables and high working capital and interest costs, besides high oil and polymer prices,” he said. While growth in micro irrigation systems was down five per cent, pipe business declined marginally. The agriculture product processing business registered a flat growth. Solar business has shown a robust growth, said the company in a press release. Exports rose 17 per cent to Rs 191 crore on the back of robust demand for micro irrigation systems. The company’s net profit was down nine per cent at Rs 268 crore for the fiscal ended March due to significant mark-to-market foreign exchange loss. The forex loss for the fiscal was at Rs 68 crore against a gain of Rs 65 crore in the same period last year. Sales revenue for the fiscal was up at Rs 3,710 crore (Rs 3,251 crore).

Govt removes ban on export of milk powder

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mid surplus availability, the government today lifted ban on export of skimmed milk powder (SMP) to improve finances of dairy firms and help milk producers. The decision to this effect was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). “It has been decided to lift ban on export of SMP,” Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said. The government had banned SMP exports in February 2011 to contain rise in domestic milk prices. When asked if there was any quantitative restriction on export, he replied in negative. Pawar said the Commerce Ministry has also been asked to provide incentives to the exports of SMP in line with other farm produce.

The ministry has also been asked to examine the possibility of imposing import duty on SMP, he added. The dairy industry has been facing liquidity crunch as it could not make profit through sale of skimmed milk powder due to steep fall in domestic prices following surplus supplies. Domestic prices of SMP have declined to Rs 150 per kg now as against Rs 190-200 per kg in the same period last year. Mother Dairy Managing Director S Nagarajan said, “The exchange rate is favourable for export but we need to ascertain actual demand in the international market.” Sterling Agro Industries Managing Director Kuldeep Saluja said, “The move will benefit both industry and farmers. There is excess stock of over one lakh tonnes lying with industry. The export will help improve liquidity.” Milk production in India, the world’s biggest producer, is estimated at over 120 million tonnes in 2011. n

IMC-ERTF organizes meet for farm growth in 12th plan

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he Economic Research and Training Foundation of Indian Merchants’ Chamber (IMC-ERTF) has organised a panel discussion on ‘What should India do to achieve 4 per cent per annum agricultural growth rate in the 12th Five-Year Plan’. The panel featured several eminent speakers and domain experts who discussed strategies to achieve the targeted growth rate. Faster, sustainable and more inclusive growth is the theme of the 12th Plan, according to the approach paper of the Planning Commission. Agriculture can guarantee a really inclusive growth because more than half of the population is dependent on it for livelihood.

Over the last three Plan periods, the farm growth rate was tardy and well below the target. With rising incomes, demographic pressure and appetite for consumption, demand growth has been running ahead of farm output growth. Indian agriculture needs resurgence for which the panel of experts is likely to come up with policy prescriptions. Dr Mahendra Dev, Director, IGIDR, delivered the keynote speech. The panellists included Dr V. Easwaran, GM (Agribusiness), SBI, Dr Gyanendra Shukla, Director, Monsanto, Mark Kahn, and Vice-President, Godrej Agrovet. G. Chandrashekhar delivered the theme address and moderated the panel discussion.

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hief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N. Kiran Kumar Reddy inaugurated onemonth long Mango Mela-2012 at Nampally, Hyderabad. The Department of Horticulture, Andhra Pradesh, organized this one month long Mela that started from 13th April. It was done in association with the Economic Committee of Exhibition Society. The Horticulture Minister Ramreddy Venkatreddy, Commissioner of Horticulture and other dignitaries were also present at the time of inauguration. The main features of Mango Mela 2012 were display and sale of different varieties of non-carbide mangoes, bringing awareness among farmers, consumers and general public about harmful effects of use of calcium carbide for ripening of fruits. The mela also focused on providing incentives of value addition to the farmers for mango ripening with ethylene - harvesting in plastic crates, ripening in ethylene chambers at identified locations of Vijayawada, West Godavari and Hyderabad. The farmers were also told about grading and standard packing of 2 to 5 kg in corrugated boxes/50 micron carry bags. A number of progressive farmers from various districts participated in this Mango

Mela. Arrangements were made for display and sale of non-carbide Mangoes in 45 stalls. The mela recorded a big response from the people and farmers, and sales were substantial. Participants The mela was conducted in three phases. Under the 1st phase (13th April to 23rd April), farmers from Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna & Khammam Districts participated. Under the 2nd phase (24th April to 3rd May), farmers from Guntur, Nellore, Warangal, Karimnagar, Medak, Nizamabad, Adilabad and Ranga Reddy Districts participated. Under 3rd Phase (4th May to 14th May), farmers from Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda, Kurnool, Anantapur, Chittoor, Kadapa and Prakasam Districts participated. Mango varieties on display 1st Phase Swagatham, Pandurivari Mamidi, Chinna Rasalu, Pedda Rasalu, Cheruku Rasalu, Suvarnarekha, Panukulu, Panchadarakalasa, Himayath, and Pickle varieties were displayed. 2nd Phase Banganpalli, Chinna Rasalu, Pedda Rasalu, Cheruku Rasalu, Bangalore, Kesari, Dasheri, Himayath varieties were on display. 3rd Phase Banganpalli, Bangalore, Alphanso, Khader, Neelam, Neelesan, Rumani varieties were displayed.

Drop in mango output affects transport sector in TN

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ing of fruits, mango, failed to cheer the truck industry this season. Poor mango cultivation has led to a 40 per cent drop in truck movement of the most sought after fruit from Chennai to various destinations, according to officials of large transport companies. M.K. Janardanan of Okay Transport said that if the mango crop was good, it does not affect the truck industry as there would be regular flow of vehicles during this season. The Railways used to supplement some of the movement. Unlike in the past, most of the mangoes are today loaded directly from the farms. In the past, the produce used to come to warehouses in and around Chennai. From here, it used to be transported to various parts of the country, he said. “There has been at least 40 per cent drop in mango transport from Chennai,” said Sanjay Nagpal, Secretary, Chennai Goods Transport Association. On freight rate, Nagpal said that there was 20-30 per cent increase due to unavailability of vehicles. This is because not many vehicles are coming to Chennai from other parts of the country. Also, not many vehicles from south would like to go to these regions due to poor load factor in the return direction, he said. N. Nagarajan of Sarath Logistics Pvt Ltd said that only 20 per cent of vehicles that go

from Chennai to other regions come back with return load. This has created a huge demand for vehicles. Anwar Ibrahim, a part time driver, at the truck terminal located in Madhavaram, in Chennai outskirts, has been waiting for the last two days for a vehicle to drive. Not many vehicles have come to the terminal this season, which is from March to June, he said. From Chennai, mostly from the truck terminal located in Madhavaram, 300-500 vehicles go to Hyderabad and Visakapatnam; about 300 to north and 500 to West (including Bangalore), he said. This year, mango output has been hit due to various reasons including adverse weather conditions in the flowering and fruiting period which led to sharp decline in yield, causing price rise in the local markets.

Drought spoils pomegranate output in Maharashtra

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omegranate output in Maharashtra is set to take a hit this year. The lower yield is attributed to reduction of the area under its cultivation because of drought in parts of the State where the fruit is grown. Also, the crop has been affected by the oily spot disease. It is estimated that the yield this year will be around 6 lakh tonnes against 8 lakh tonnes

last year. Exports will also be affected, a farmer said. Though pomegranate cultivation in Maharashtra began in mid-eighties, it gained momentum only by the turn of the century. The State accounts for around 85-90 per cent of total production of the fruit in the country.


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AgriTech India June 2012

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Annual Plan Outlay for States

CMs to focus on agriculture & allied sectors He stated that the State has achieved an annual growth rate of 8.1 per cent during the 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-2012) which is higher than the national growth rate of 7.9 per cent. He said the State’s estimated growth rate for 201112 is 7.6 per cent against the national growth rate of 6.9 per cent during the year. Madhya Pradesh (Rs.28,000-cr) The Annual Plan for Madhya Pradesh for 2012-13 was finalised at Rs 28,000 crore. Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the state had registered a growth of 10.2 per cent against a target of 7.6 per cent for the 11th Plan. The State has set a target of 12 per cent growth during the 12th Plan, he added.

Centre to waive off all farm loans, regardless of size of land holding. The State, which has rural debt estimated at Rs 35,000 crore, said these had assumed the proportions of a grave human tragedy. Presenting his case to the Planning Commission Deputy Chairman, Montek Singh Alhuwalia, the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said, “The State did not benefit much from the debt waiver scheme offered by the Government as there are less number of small and marginal farmers and few defaulters.”

following a policy of faster and more inclusive growth with 10 per cent growth target. Higher investments would be made in agriculture to improve productivity and income. Agriculture and Allied sector’s contribution to the GSDP is steadily declining from 16.1% in 2004-05 to 12.7% in 2010-11, which need to be corrected, he said. Mehgaylaya (Rs. 3,939-cr) The Planning Commission approved Annual Plan outlay of Meghalaya of Rs 3,939 crore for the current fiscal, which is 44.44 per cent higher than that in 2011-12. The State was asked to take necessary

Assam (Rs. 10,500-cr) The Central Planning Commission of India approved 10500 crore rupees annual outlay plan for Assam for the fiscal year 2012-13. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had made a demand for a total outlay of 14537.33 crore rupees for the current fiscal, 62.51 per cent higher than the approved outlay of 9000 crore rupees for 20112012. policy initiatives for further strengthening of the agriculture and industry sector. The Chief Minister said as part of its inclusive growth strategy, the State has decided to transfer funds, functions and functionaries of major departments to panchayati raj institutions.

On agriculture, he said, efforts would be made to reach a growth of 9 per cent during next Plan. Public-private partnership in extension services and agro-processing would be encouraged, he added. Punjab (Rs 14,000-cr) Punjab, which got an Annual Plan outlay of Rs 14,000 crore for 2012-13, has urged the

The agriculture sector will get 5.01 % of the total outlay. The state had registered a 4.81 percent growth in 2007-08, 6.82 percent in 2008-09 and 8.08 percent in 2009-10. The state is expecting a growth of around 9.38 per cent during the 12th Plan period. In terms of sectoral growth, the state is expecting 5.01 per cent growth in agriculture, 12.5 per cent in services and 4.65 per cent in industry. Chattisgarh (Rs. 23,480-cr) The Annual Plan for the year 2012-13 for Chhattisgarh has been fixed at Rs. 23, 480 crore. The Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh said that during 12th Plan period, State would be

Mizoram (Rs.2,300-cr) The Planning Commission today approved Rs 2,300 crore annual Plan outlay of Mizoram for the current fiscal which is 35 per cent higher than that in 2011-12. During the meeting with the state’s CM P U Lalthanhawla, Ahluwalia pointed out that the state’s thrust will be on foodgrain production and attaining selfsufficiency by raising Plan allocation for farm sector through continued implementation of comprehensive and integrated socio-economic development project under the new land use policy. Odisha (Rs 17,200-cr) Odisha’s Annual Plan outlay for 2012-13 has been fixed at Rs. 17,200 crore. The Odisha Government has proposed the same amount. Last year, the Annual Plan outlay of the State was pegged at Rs 15,200 crore. The Government has given maximum emphasis on agriculture, infrastructure and

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human resource development and the total expenditure on the three sectors is about 80 per cent of the plan size. According to the Annual Plan for 2012-13 released by the Planning and Coordination Department, the Government has planned to utilize Rs.1,264.51 crore on agriculture and allied activities. The plan provision for this sector is 7.35 per cent of the total outlay. UP to give renewed thrust on agriculture New agriculture policy is on the anvil for giving a renewed thrust to the farm sector in Uttar Pradesh. Formulation of new policies formed an integral part of the ambitious 100point development agenda which has been finalised by the Akhilesh Yadav Government. The agenda, released by the Government, aims at integrated development of the State and includes the farm, industrial, medical and health, education, power, social welfare and infrastructure development sectors. In addition, e-governance will be expanded in the State. The 100-point agenda would be taken up for implementation in the first phase. For translating the ambitious agenda into action, a target of mobilising Rs.73,000 crore in the 201213 financial year has been fixed. The money would be used in funding development and public welfare measures. The present agriculture policy was announced in 2005 when Mulayam Singh was the Chief Minister. It was virtually pushed to the cold storage when Ms. Mayawati assumed power in 2007. With the Samajwadi Party’s return to power now, the 2005 policy will be reviewed and a new agriculture policy would be announced soon, an official spokesman said. A new horticulture and food processing policy is also proposed. Loan relief to farmers A Rs. 500-crore farmers’ loan relief scheme to aid debt-ridden agriculturists, many of whom have been forced to commit suicide, and three rural development schemes named after the Samajwadi Party ideologue, Ram Manohar Lohia, are among the 280 new populist measures proposed in the Uttar Pradesh Budget for 2012-13 presented by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.


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AgriTech India June 2012

DEMIC advices farmers to sell potato upon harvest

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he Domestic and Export Market Intelligence Cell (DEMIC) functioning in the Centre for Agricultural and Rural Development Studies at the Farm Varsity here, has advised farmers to sell the potato immediately after harvest as they do not foresee rates picking up in the nearterm. ‘Our analysis of the potato price movement in the Nilgiris Cooperative Marketing Society in Mettupalayam revealed that the price of good quality potation should range between Rs 14 and Rs 18 a kg in May and June. There is a possibility of the rate touching a high of Rs 20 a kg in May, but chances of the price moving further north is remote. Potato farmers should therefore offload the produce upon harvest,’ said DEMIC experts. Besides advising farmers, the experts sought to create awareness amongst consumers about the quality of the potato that they procured in the market. The price of the Nilgiris potato is based on quality, size, colour and shelf-life. It is graded by labourers based on quality parameters. Superior quality potatoes come with yellow skin, while the medium quality ones have black skin. Nilgiris potatoes are considered best

because of its taste, hardness and longer shelflife, and therefore command a higher price. The produce from other States generally fetch a lower price as these do not match the potatoes from the hill in colour, taste or shelf-life. High cost of cultivation, labour shortage and huge arrivals from other States has pushed the potato growers in the hills to shift to other vegetables. The arrival of the Nilgiris potato is high between June and December. Arrivals peak in the months of August and September. In Tamil Nadu, potato is grown in the hilly regions of Dindigul, Nilgiris, Krishnagiri and Erode districts. It is cultivated in 4,900 hectares in the State in 2011-12 against 4,700 hectares, the earlier year and production stood at 1,04,900 tonnes compared with 97,100 tonnes in 2010-11.

Focus on Dynamic Demonstrations & Innovations

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otatoEurope 2012 will take place on September 12th and 13th 2012 at VillersSaint-Christophe in France. PotatoEurope is for all players in the potato sector: seeds and plants, fresh produce markets, potato products and starches. It is also of interest for farmers who want to meet with providers of agricultural

machines and supplies. The event is a showcase for technical innovations, demonstrations of harvesting and storage methods, as well as an essential trading hub that no professional can afford to miss. Organised around the themes of performance, sustainability and qualitative as well as environmental excellence, PotatoEurope is getting ready to welcome 10,000 visitors from around the world. The organisers are working hard to bring together all the ingredients that will make this key event for the potato sector a success. Dynamic Demonstrations Visitors will be able to see a wide range of harvesting, grading and storage equipment currently proposed by manufacturers on the market in action. Optical sorting lines will

also be operating, an original and exclusive demonstration for this French event that illustrates the search for excellence and quality in the French potato sector. More than 90 machines and pieces of equipment in action, working to complete these dynamic demonstration sites!

take place for the fresh produce and plant markets. Booths and international pavilions will allow visitors to establish ties with operators and suppliers from the Netherlands, Belgium; Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Italy and, this year, the United States, New Zealand and China.

Technical innovations by ARVALIS & Others On the show will be genetic resources and varietal innovations, prophylaxis and crop protection, water and soil management and, for the first time this year, an area dedicated to progress in tuber conservation.

250 Exhibitors PotatoEurope is also a trade show. Manufacturers of agricultural equipment, suppliers of fertilisers, crop protection products, equipment for handling, storage and conservation of potatoes and industrialists in finished potato products will welcome visitors in a nearly 10,000m² exhibition hall and on the demonstration plots.

Commercial Village With around forty trade agents and cooperatives, this place is where trading will


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AgriTech India June 2012

Biodynamic Farming

A holistic way to maintain soil strength – Atul Batra

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iodynamic farming is a method of organic farming that emphasizes the holistic development and interrelationships of the soil, plants and animals as a self-sustaining system. Biodynamic farming has much in common with other organic approaches, such as emphasizing the use of manures and composts and excluding of the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. Biodynamic farming system is based on the principles of harnessing the synergy between cosmos, mother earth, cow and plants. It is becoming popular in several countries like Australia, New Zealand and USA. In India Biodynamic farming is being attempted by group of farmers around Ooty, Indore and Nanital. The following crops are currently cultivated under organic farming methods in our country: Cereals: wheat, paddy, jowar, bajra, maize Pulses: Pigeonpea, chickpea, greengram, blackgram, chana, Oilseeds: groundnut, Castor, mustard, sesame Commodities: Cotton, sugarcane, particularly for Sugarcandy (gur) Spices: Ginger, Turmeric, Chillies, cumin Plantation Crops: Tea, Coffee, Cardamom Fruits: banana, sapota, custard apple and papaya Vegetables: Tomato, brinjal, cucurbits, cole crops, leafy vegetables Principles of Biodynamic Farming Some of the common principles Biodynamic Farming are:

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(a) To establish, maintain and increase soil living system. (b) To restore the soil in a balanced system of functions. (c) To restore to the soil the organic matter which it needs so badly in order to hold its fertility in the form of the very best humus. The interaction of the substantial components and energy factors forms a balance system. Only when soil is balanced can a healthy plant grow and transmit both substance and energy as food. (d) While the biodynamic method does not deny the role and importance of the mineral constituents of the soil, especially the so called fertilizer elements and compounds that include nitrogen, phosphate, potash, calcium, magnesium and minor elements, it sponsors the most skilful use of organic matter as the basic factor for soil life. (e) In order to restore and maintain the balance in a soil a proper crop rotation is necessary. (f) Soil exhausting crops with heavy demands on fertilizing elements should alteration with natural or even fertility restoring crops. The biodynamic method therefore has emphasized the importance of crop rotation from its very beginning. Biodynamic preparations 1. Biodynamic Compost: Biodynamic compost can be prepared by using green leaves (nitrogenous source) and dry leaves (carbonaceous source). Steps in preparation of biodynamic compost: (a) Five meter long thick wood is placed on higher elevation where water logging dose not occur during rainy season. (b) 20 cm thick layer of dry grasses is spread on the area of 5x 2.5 M on the ground. (c) 100-150 liters of water mixed with dung sprinkled on the grasses. (d) Again 20 cm thick layer of green grasses are spread equally on the heap and 100-150 litres of water mixed with dung sprinkled on the heap. (e) Above process is repeated to the height of 1.5 meters.

(f) For enriching the compost with different nutrients as per the need rock phosphate and wood ash can also be used in between the layers of dry/green grasses. 2. Cow Pat Pit: It is a strong soil conditioner. CPP is increasingly used in the seed treatment and foliar applications. The CPP may be prepared throughout the year. Steps in preparation of CPP: (a) Preparation of a pit of size 60x90x45 cm in shade and root free zone. (b) Pasting of inner wall of the pit with fresh cow dung paste. (c) 60 kilograms of dung of lactating cow mixed with 250 g each of bentonite and egg shell powder and filled in the pit. (d) Compost gets ready in 75-90 days depending upon the temperature. 3. Vermiwash: It is prepared from the heavy population of earthworms reared in earthen pots. Vermiwash can be sprayed on crops and trees for better growth, yields and quality. Steps in preparation of vermiwash: (a) Big earthen pots with capacity of 200 litres are placed in shade. (b) Five cm each of concrete and red sand is laid in the bottom of the pot for effective drainage. (c) 30-40 cm layer of soften kitchen waste is filled in the pot. (d) 200-300 red worms are released in the waste. (e) An earthen pot with minute hole in the bottom from where water pours drop wise is hung over the pot after 30 days of worm inoculation.

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(f) After 2-3 days extract collected in earthen pots from the tap placed in the bottom of pot is called as Vermiwash. (g) Extract diluted in the water (1:5) can be used as foliar spray. Organizations involved in Biodynamic farming in India 1. College of Agriculture, Indore and IIT Delhi. 2. Symphony Agronics and Dairy Ltd. Indore. 3. Maikaal BioRe Ltd. Khargone, MP. 4. Ambootia Tea Estate, Darjeeling. 5. Nandanvan Estate, Kodaikanal. 6. Supa Biotech Pvt. Ltd., Nanital. 7. Jeeva Vidya Foundation, Bijnoor. 8. Department of Soil Science and organic Chemistry, CSA Kanpur. 9. Organic farm, Alwar, Rajasthan. 10. CISH Lucknow. UP. (Authored by Atul Batra, Botanic Garden, CSIRNational Botanical Research Institute, Rana Pratap Marg, Lucknow)


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AgriTech India May 2012

News

Freeze paddy support – G Chandrashekhar

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here is no case at all for raising the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy by around 16 per cent for the new 2012-13 crop year, as demanded by the Agriculture Ministry. Krishi Bhawan has apparently mooted an MSP of Rs 1,250 and Rs 1,280 a quintal for the ‘common’ and ‘grade A’ paddy varieties that are due for transplanting with the arrival of the south-west monsoon. This is as against their corresponding rates of Rs 1,080 and Rs 1,110 fixed last year. The proposed hikes have little justification when rice stocks in public godowns, at over 32 million tonnes (mt) as on June 1, are more than two-and-a-half times the normative buffer and strategic reserve requirements. If to this, another 50 mt of wheat is added, we have a situation where government godowns are overflowing with these two fine cereals. The appropriate policy response for that would be to freeze their MSPs, rather than even debate over how much to increase them this time. The Agriculture Ministry can, of course, defend a sharp MSP increase by citing higher cultivation costs, especially on account of labour and non-urea fertilisers, experienced by paddy growers. Moreover, there is also a need to incentivise farmers in Eastern India, where yields are currently low, but can go up substantially because of the higher rainfall and groundwater aquifer levels in this region. Neither of these arguments, however, really makes a case for hiking MSPs. The right answer to higher cultivation costs would be to raise paddy yields and shift production to States having the maximum potential for that. Higher MSPs mean little to farmers in Bihar, West Bengal or Assam; their

interests are far better served if the Government actually procures even at the existing rates, besides ensuring timely availability of fertilisers, credit, seed and extension support. Increasing MSPs instead will mainly benefit farmers in Punjab and Haryana, who ought to be discouraged from growing water-guzzling non-basmati paddy in the first place.

Increasing paddy MSPs will only benefit farmers in Punjab and Haryana, who ought to be discouraged from growing water-guzzling, non-basmati paddy.

So what should the Government do? Well, it must freeze the MSP for paddy at the current level and raise the same substantially for pigeonpea, green/black gram, groundnut, soyabean and maize. And it should do so straight away, so that farmers get the right signals ahead of the ensuing kharif plantings. Their incentives need to be aligned with the country’s requirements of cutting down on its imports of edible oils and pulses, amid burgeoning public inventories of rice and wheat. The case for resetting MSPs accordingly gets strengthened even more in the current scenario of an extended dry spell since October and a monsoon outlook that seems far from promising. The public money going into paying higher MSP on paddy can well be spent in promoting water-saving SRI (System of Rice Intensification) or direct-seeding technologies. Even better is if it is used to induce farmers to boost pulses and oilseeds yields.

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RBI study calls for a change in AP’s procurement system

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n RBI study on paddy crisis in Andhra Pradesh observed that the present structure of procurement is largely responsible for the failure to ensure minimum support price to farmers. It called for change in this system and revising the MSP to make paddy farming remunerative to the farmers. RBI’s Department of Economic and Policy Research conducted the study after disturbing news of crop holiday and huge stocks of paddy lying unsold last year. “The present procurement structure allows overwhelming procurement of rice from millers and insignificant amount of paddy from farmers. There is a need for a change in the procurement policy of State Government to ensure MSP to farmers,” the 51-page report said. The study was done by Dr R.V. Ramana Murthy of University of Hyderabad and Dr Rekha Mishra of the RBI. Paddy farmers in the State have been facing serious crisis of viability for the past few years. This crisis assumed serious proportions

during 2010-11 when there was a bumper harvest. “On one hand, the cost of cultivation has enormously risen and on the other hand, market prices fell below the minimum support prices,” they said. Giving reasons for the crisis, the report observed that there was a steep rise in the cost of cultivation in the last three years. The other major problem is pricing. “The market prices are going below the MSP. Even the MSP fixed by the Centre is way below the increased cost of production,” it said. CACP data gaps The report found failure of data collected by CACP (Commission of Agricultural Costs and Prices) in capturing the actual costs due to certain methodological problems. “Consequently, cost projections made by the CACP are way below the actual costs of production. Thus the MSP based on the under-estimated cost of production has seriously affected the returns of farmers in the State,” it felt.

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