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Namami Gange: Organic farming to be promoted on the banks of river Ganga

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Image Courtsey: Pixbay
  • National Mission for Clean Ganga announces the adoption of Organic farming on the banks of river Ganga
  • Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh attended the MoU signing event
  • The government wants to ensure that there is a drop in input costs, while the income of farmers goes up

Delhi, Sept 17 2016: The Union Water Resources Ministry on Friday signed an MoU with the Agriculture Ministry to promote organic farming on the banks of the river Ganga.

As per the MoU, villagers residing in 1,657 villages along the river, starting from Uttarakhand to West Bengal, will be encouraged to adopt organic farming.

As per the agreement under the ‘Namami Gange’ project, each gram panchayat will be treated as a cluster under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) and will be provided training on Integrated Nutrient Management and micro-irrigation techniques by the Agriculture Ministry, an official source said.

Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh attended the MoU signing event.

Union Misnister of Water Resources- Uma Bharti. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Union Misnister of Water Resources- Uma Bharti. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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“Signing of this MoU will ensure effective and efficient implementation of various projects of ‘Namami Gange’ in coordination with the Agriculture Ministry,” Uma Bharti said.

“I hope the Agriculture Ministry will play a major role in the success of ‘Namami Gange’ programme,” she added.

The agreement also says that all related information will be provided through mobile applications and awareness will be spread about the side-effects of using chemicals, fertilisers and insecticides in farming.

Radha Mohan Singh said in order to train farmers in organic farming, the government plans to launch ‘Deen Dayal Unnat Krishi Shiksha Abhiyan’ on September 25, marking the birth centenary of Jan Sangh ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.

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“We want to train 15,000 farmers in organic farming in 2016 across the country through Indian Council of Agricultural Research. The government wants to ensure that there is a drop in input costs, while the income of farmers goes up,” Singh said.

The progress of the implementation of this the will be monitored by a steering committee consisting of the nodal officers from each ministry. The committee will meet periodically, sources said.

Minister of State for Water Resources Sanjeev Balyan and senior officials attended the programme. (IANS)

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Chef Sanjeev Kapoor Brand Ambassador for Food Street at World Food India event

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World Food India Ambassador
Sanjeev Kapoor. Pixabay

New Delhi, Sep 21, 2017: Popular chef Sanjeev Kapoor on Wednesday was named brand ambassador for Food Street, a curated food experience zone at the forthcoming World Food India event.

World Food India is a three-day mega international event covering the entire food processing value chain.

Food Street, being held by Ministry of Food Processing Industry, will be hosted for the first time in India from November 3, a statement said.

The experiential platform will celebrate and bring together culinary practices, flavours and fragrances from cuisines across the world, and Indian elements to create fusion food.

Also Read: Offbeat Blend of Food and Ambiance: Know About These Weirdest Restaurants Here! 

“I am honoured to be associated with a platform such as Food Street that celebrates food as a means of bringing together cultures, heritage and business… I am excited to be a part of an event of this stature and scale, being hosted for the first time in India, that is sure to delight every foodie’s palate,” Kapoor said.

To this, Union Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal added: “We want to curate a platform that not only celebrates food and cultural diversity, but also provides an avenue for countries and entrepreneurs to collaborate and interact for new business opportunities.”

Food Street will also provide an opportunity to generate new product development initiatives and drive business for budding entrepreneurs. It is also aimed at building a sustainable agri-business where the attendees will get to know about the process of organic farming and the plethora of opportunities it holds in trade.

The sessions will also involve panel discussions among experts to discuss the future of super-foods and organic farming. (IANS)

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Indian Agriculture status, Importance & Role In Indian Economy

The aggregate growth in the agricultural sector determines that the future of the agrarian economy is not bleak

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Agriculture
Agriculture in India. Wikimedia.
  • Despite people shifting their occupations from agriculture, UN states that India ranks second in the agricultural production in the world
  • India’s horticulture production has also increased

Sep 20, 2017: Indian agriculture is facing a huge crisis since many years. Despite continuous reports suggesting that the agrarian economy of India is getting affected, as people are shifting away from the agricultural sector and are moving towards industrial sector development, the food and agriculture organization of United Nations (UN) has stated that India ranks second in the agricultural production of the World. In the past 11 years, the country’s agricultural production has increased from $87 billion in the financial year 2004-05 to $322 billion in the fiscal year 2015-16.

Interestingly this is not just the only positive point being witnessed about the agricultural situation of the nation. The country’s horticulture production has also increased with the passage of time. The horticultural production includes fruits, vegetables, plantation crops, and spices. The increasing demand of fruits and vegetables has augmented the production estimate to 295 million tonnes in 2016-17, which is 3.2 % higher than the production in 2015-16.

Also Read: WHO says Millions of People are Dying Pre-mature Deaths Due to Non-Communicable Diseases.

Earlier in May, the agriculture ministry released a second advance estimate of horticulture production, stating that the farm area under the horticulture crops has recorded an increase. The increase was from 245 lakh hectares of farm in 2015-16 to 249 lakh hectares in 2016-17. The Indian economy’s earnings from agriculture as compared to the service sector has been absolutely great. The net export from agriculture was noted $16 billion, and those from the commercial service were 9% in 2014.

When the country is facing even greater challenges like farmer suicides, protests, and monsoon failure, figures like these tend to bring smiles on our faces, even if it is for a short time. The aggregate development can never alleviate the plight of farmers.
The percentage growth may satisfy the government and us both, but does it really satisfy the farmers? A wiser approach like good law and order towards the handling of problems and crisis should be taken, and then only can there be a better future in the agriculture.

by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.

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WeFarm- a Farmer to Farmer Digital Network – is Helping Farmers in remote villages of Kenya

WeFarm helps connect farmers via Text Messages

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A farmer herds his cattle at sunset near Kisumu, Kenya, Feb. 2, 2008.
A farmer herds his cattle at sunset near Kisumu, Kenya, Feb. 2, 2008. VOA

When she woke up one morning in February, Catherine Kagendo realized that one of her cows could not stand.

“It was lying on its side, had lost its appetite and was breathing heavily,” she told Reuters from her farm in Meru, in eastern Kenya.

With her husband, she decided to turn to WeFarm, a text-based network of small-scale farmers, for help.

Within an hour, their text — “one of my lactating cows cannot stand” — generated a flurry of suggestions, from “feed your cow with minerals rich in calcium” to “make sure the cow shed is clean and well-drained so the animals don’t slip.”

“I realized our cow had milk fever, so gave it calcium-rich feed and it was standing again within hours,” Kagendo explained.

She is one of many Kenyan small-scale farmers who lack good information — mostly due to a lack of internet access — on how to manage problems from dry spells to diseases, local farm experts say.

As a result, such farmers often lose their harvest or animals, they said.

But WeFarm, a farmers’ network launched in Kenya in 2014 and more recently expanded to Uganda and Peru, allows people to ask a question by text message and receive advice from their peers.

The service, whose Scottish co-founder Kenny Ewan describes it as “the internet for people with no internet,” is free to use and only requires a mobile phone.

Farmers text questions to a local number, and WeFarm transmits the message to users with similar interests in the area, tapping into their knowledge.

“We want farmers to get answers to their problems without needing to access the internet, so the information is available to all,” said Mwinyi Bwika, head of marketing at WeFarm.

Although the platform also exists online, over 95 percent of users choose to use it offline, he said.

Information gap

Kagendo said that when her animals were ill or her maize crops too dry, she used to have to hire an extension officer to help solve the problem.

“But we had to pay a fee ranging from 500 to 2,000 Kenyan shillings ($5-$20), and most of the time the officer didn’t even explain their diagnosis,” she said.

That cut into her family’s income and left them no better able to understand the diseases facing their cattle and their crops.

“We cannot even afford a smartphone to go online, so finding credible information was near impossible,” she said.

According to Bwika, small-scale farmers often lack the information they need because of a lack of cash — most live on less than a dollar a day — as well as poor internet connection and low literacy levels.

“Ewan realized that farmers living just a few miles from each other were facing the same challenges, but with no way to communicate about them. So, he created a platform to connect them,” Bwika said.

Joseph Kinyua, another farmer from Meru who grows vegetables, said he spends at least 30 minutes per day using WeFarm.

“It’s taught me anything from using pest control traps to ensuring that my sprinklers don’t put out too much water,” he said. “And I know the methods are proven and tested by other farmers.”

The knowledge has helped improve the quality of the kale he grows, he said, enough that “I can now sell a kilo at the market at 70 shillings [$0.70] compared to 50 [$0.50] previously.”

Preventing problems

While the platform might receive dozens of replies to a question, it only sends out to the user a selection of answers judged correct, Bwika said.

But it uses the questions and advice received to help track disease outbreaks or extreme weather spells, and shares those insights with governments and non-governmental organizations, Bwika said.

“In doing so, we hope to prevent disease outbreaks and track problems before they occur,” he said.

Not everyone shares this optimism, however.

Mary Nkatha, a farmer from Meru, said she found it hard to implement some of the recommendations she received from WeFarm without the practical guidance of an expert.

“If I am told to inject my cow with something, how do I make sure I do it in the right place? And where do I find the equipment?” she asked.

Fredrick Ochido, a Kenya-based consultant on dairy farming, also worries that the platform may be entrenching farmers’ poor use of technology, rather than helping them keep up with new trends.

The WeFarm platform has over 100,000 current users in Kenya, Uganda and Peru, and its operators hopes to reach one million farmers in the next year. They also aim to expand the effort to other countries, including Tanzania. (VOA)