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Barku Jairam, a 55-year-old farmer from Barwani of Madhya Pradesh, has taken up cultivating organic cotton, which he claims, has significantly brought down input costs besides ensuring a decent yield.
The demand for organic cotton from global apparel companies has prompted 1,000-odd farmers in the state to switch to eco-farming to grow cotton using bio-fertilisers and pesticides manufactured from medicinal plants.
The C&A foundation — the corporate foundation of fashion retail clothing chain C&A — has tied up with a few non-profits in the country to promote organic cotton farming as a part of its efforts to procure sustainable raw material for its business.
Although yields from organic farming are lower than by using Genetically Modified (GM) seed, chemical fertilisers and pesticides, the negligible input cost makes it a profitable business, Jairam said.
“Till three years ago, I would earn up to Rs 27,000 per acre when I used GM hybrid seeds but the input cost would be around Rs 20,000 due to expensive chemical pesticides and fertilisers.
“Now, I earn around Rs 20,000 per acre but the input cost has reduced to just Rs 5,000,” Jairam told IANS.
Farmers like Jairam produce bio-fertiliser for free from manure and agricultural waste from their fields and pesticides from extracts of medicinal plants such as neem, karanj (pongamia), ratanjot (alkanet root), besharam (ipomoea) and custard apple leaves along with cow urine.
Non-profits Aga Khan Foundation and Action for Social Advancement are helping the C&A Foundation in promoting and procuring organic cotton.
According to the Union Agriculture Ministry, 30.01 million bales (of 170 kg each) of cotton — roughly 5.1 billion tonnes — were produced in the country in 2015-16.
The ministry, however, doesn’t give out the breakup of organically grown cotton vs other methods.
At 60,184 tonnes, India was the largest organic cotton producer in the world in 2015-16, accounting for 56 per cent of the total production of 107,980 tonnes while Madhya Pradesh accounted for 24 per cent, as per the C&A Foundation. Organic cotton accounted for less than one per cent of cotton produced globally.
Another farmer, Dhansingh Ghana, said hybrid seeds for organic farming were provided for free for first three years by the foundation as incentives to make them self-reliant.
“Even if we will have to pay for seeds now, the input cost would not be much as major components such as bio-fertilisers and pesticides are still free,” said Ghana.
According to these farmers, who had come to the state’s capital Bhopal to attend an event on organic farming, the foundation gave them Rs 200-300 more per quintal when compared with the government rates.
Anita Chester, Head of Sustainable Raw Materials of C&A Foundation, said the negative impact of climate change has driven brands across the globe to look for sustainable alternatives.
“The way climate change is impacting all of us, the whole industry thinks that the businesses have to be more responsible.
“In this inequitable world, there is growing consciousness that there has to be more equity in what we do. This is what drives the brands to push themselves and set targets to source sustainable materials,” she said.
Organic cotton production needs 93 per cent less water as compared to the conventional cotton cultivation, according to the foundation. It also said the climate change impact is of 338.5 kg CO2 equivalent by organic cotton as opposed to 680.2 kg CO2 equivalent by conventional cotton.
The brands have sustainability commitment and so the demand for organic material is very strong now, said Chester.
“They are giving clear signal that organic is important and special. So it needs to grow,” she said.
Chester said her foundation supports the farmers who want to go organic through capacity building and helping them in getting certification, which helps them to link with the markets.
While there are hurdles such as non-availability of seeds, lack of input agencies, poor market links for organic farming, the foundation is bringing all stakeholders, including the government to cross the barriers, she said.
Faiz Kidwai, Managing Director of the Madhya Pradesh Agriculture Marketing Board, sought a fixed price for farmers to promote organic cotton.
“There is a huge potential for organic farming in the state but farmers are not keen on doing it because they do not see any benefits due to lack of market, supply chain or value chain.
Also Read: Let Linen be Your Saviour This Summer
“We will have to assure fixed market price to bring them on board,” Faiz told reporters on the sidelines of the event. (IANS)
Canadian researchers have discovered an overlooked gene that plays a major role in the development of antibodies, which help the immune system recognize and fight viruses including SARS-CoV-2, bacteria and other causes of infectious disease. The gene -- FAM72A -- facilitates production of high-quality antibodies by enabling the effect of an enzyme called AID (for Activation-Induced Deaminase), the researchers showed.
Immunologists have known for two decades that AID is essential to produce antibodies capable of clearing infections, but the full mechanism of its effect has remained unknown. "Our findings answer the long-standing question of how AID does its work," said Alberto Martin, a professor of immunology at the University of Toronto's Temerty Faculty of Medicine. "FAM72A helps AID to promote mutations in antibody genes that are essential for the development of effective antibodies," he added.
Genetic mutations that lead to lasting changes in DNA occur through a process called mutagenesis. | Pixabay
Genetic mutations that lead to lasting changes in DNA occur through a process called mutagenesis. In the context of antibody development, mutagenesis unfolds largely through the AID-driven mechanisms called somatic hypermutation and class switch recombination -- both of which help antibodies gain the diversity and potency they need to counter a wide range of pathogens.
The results published in the journal Nature will help researchers better understand antibody development broadly, but they also have implications for cancer. Uncontrolled mutagenesis in B cells that produce antibodies is linked to B cell lymphoma, and FAM72A is present at very high levels in other cancers such as gastrointestinal, breast, lung, liver and ovarian cancers.
"Our data show that high levels of FAM72A promote mutations in antibody genes, so increased levels of FAM72A could spur cancer development, progression or drug resistance by increasing mutagenesis,a Martin said. Martin's team is now exploring those possibilities. Intriguingly, unlike other mammals, humans have four gene versions of FAM72A and their roles in cancer and antibody production are still unknown. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: researchers, cancer, mutagenesis, antibody, development, antibodies, canada, COVID
Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), a subsidiary of Coal India will set up a 50 megawatt (MW) solar power plant in Odisha's Sambalpur at a total cost of Rs 301.92 crore, moving steadily towards its goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2024. MCL has placed a turnkey order to set-up a 50 MW solar power plant with a Chennai-based firm M/s Hild Energy Ltd, which will establish this green energy project within a timeline of 10 months, the MCL said in a statement on Saturday.
This solar plant would cater to the captive power requirement of MCL. The Central PSU had successfully set-up a 2MW solar power plant in Sambalpur in 2014. The company said it has pledged a target of installing 182 MW of solar power by 2024 in order to become a net zero energy company, aligning itself to use cleaner forms of energy for coal production.
The company said it has pledged a target of installing 182 MW of solar power by 2024. | Photo by Mariana Proença on Unsplash
This 50 MW solar power project will reduce CO2 emission by 91,020 tonnes per annum and carbon offsets of around 24,824 tonnes per annum, claimed the MCL. MCL is the leading production subsidiary of Coal India, having mining operations in Angul, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh districts of Odisha. Having achieved the highest ever capital expenditure of Rs 2,419 crore in the financial year 2020-21, the company has coal production and dispatch targets of 163 million tonnes and 182 million tonnes, respectively.
MCL was the coal mining company to introduce environment-friendly surface miner technology, which contributes over 95 per cent in coal production. As another environment-friendly initiative, the company has successfully introduced vertical rippers for blast-less over-burden removal in Hingula and Kaniha opencast projects. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: solar plant, carbon neutrality, Odisha, Sambalpur, Coal India, subsidiary, Mahanadi Coalfields Limited, solar energy
As the nation celebrated the 114th birth anniversary of his father - renowned poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan - megastar Amitabh Bachchan remembered his dad as he penned a heartfelt note for him. The actor took to his blog where he poured his heart out and also shared an unseen photo with his father. The image in question is from Big B's wedding in 1973, where the two are caught in a sweet moment as they look at each other.
Amitabh Bachchan wrote on his blog,
"My Father , my all .. November 27th his birth in the year 1907 .. Which makes it his 114th Anniversary .. He is in the heavens, with my Mother and they celebrate .. as do we , in thought word and deed .. (sic). But first."
He then posted the picture followed by elaborate paragraphs. The megastar wrote,
"Those rare moments when one would find himself rushing against the winds to prevent the distance between us and to close it down as soon as it can be. The day of my wedding and his expression of fulfilment to not just be in congratulation but instead to be in the face of a belief, a chime, an ultimate season of love and great passion, of the quarries of the fears and conditionings of these deprived gym routines kart ..(sic)". "This could have been unknown for long facilitating years, to give not expected versions and lastly large scale informations of the insides ; but as time passed by, as does now , they explained purposely, the values of education and similarity .. Be in peace and love .. (sic)",
the veteran actor concluded his note. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Amitabh Bachchan, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, actor, blog, birth anniversary, 114th birthday