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For farmers, a switch to horticulture is just a click away

For farmers, a switch to horticulture is just a click away | Agriculture | Scoop.it

K. Rajasekhar, deputy director general at National Informatics Centre which developed Hortnet, says the solution can be expanded to integrate different farmer-related schemes. 

Centre for Good Governance's insight:

Hortnet, a software solution, enables farmers to embrace plantation crops at a much faster pace

Hyderabad: Indian farmers have historically struggled with prolonged droughts that parch the farmland, followed by heavy rains and floods that destroy crops. In an attempt to protect farmers from the vagaries of weather, the Indian government introduced the National Horticulture Mission (NHM) in 2003, encouraging them to shift to horticulture crops such as fruits, vegetables, spices, flowers and plantation crops. In 2013, NHM was subsumed into the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH). States that implement this centrally sponsored mission are helped in this task by Hortnet, a software solution that automates the workflow process in the sector. The solution was developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) in Hyderabad. “With frequent droughts and floods, the importance of crops which can withstand the long dry spells interspersed by floods is increasing,” says K. Rajasekhar, deputy director general at NIC. “Developing countries such as India are losing much more than developed countries from the impact of global warming on agriculture.” Farmers can apply for a horticulture scheme online, through Internet kiosks or community welfare centres. Government officials scrutinize the applications. Eligible farmers who meet the criteria get identity cards. NIC has also integrated Hortnet with official online land records to make verification of credentials easier. Farmers can use the solution to monitor the progress of schemes, track applications online, receive acknowledgements and raise grievances. They also get text messages about pests, disease management and best practices. Hortnet’s online processcuts processing time, which otherwise take months. “Several crores of rupees in subsidy are being given by the government for the welfare of farmers,” Rajasekhar says. “This initiative ensures transparency and efficiency.” With an initial outlay of Rs.16,840 crore, MIDH covers the entire country and aims to achieve 7.2% growth in horticulture during the 12th Five-Year Plan. Undivided Andhra Pradesh was the first state to implement the project. It was followed by Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar, Haryana and Tamil Nadu. The solution, provided free for government departments, can be configured for states that have different schemes and subsidy patterns. The government fixes annual targets for horticulture farmers who sign up. Targets are also set for horticulture officers and their achievements and expenditure are monitored online. Occasionally, government inspectors visit villages to check progress and photograph farmers with their produce using a mobile app. Images are geo-tagged and time-stamped to prevent fraud. This also ensures that the inspectors indeed visit the farmlands. Once the images are uploaded online, officials assess the progress, verify the farmer’s photograph, and decide on releasing the subsidy. As soon as the subsidy is approved, a digital electronic payorder is sent to the bank, which credits the subsidy to the farmer’s account. This ensures the beneficiaries are not cheated, says Rajasekhar. Except in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, photographing is not mandatory in other states that have adopted Hortnet. In Karnataka, NIC has integrated farmers’ biometric data with the solution. The Hortnet portal hosts resources on best practices and provides advice on production techniques, post-harvest management and processing. Rajasekharpoints out that the solution can be expanded to integrate different farmer-related schemes such as National Missionfor Sustainable Agriculture, National Mission for Micro Irrigation and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.

Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Politics/zw08PTxVDSkNKsWq5MV90I/For-farmers-a-switch-to-horticulture-is-just-a-click-away.html?utm_source=copy

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Deficient monsoon shrinks foodgrain produce by 3%

Deficient monsoon shrinks foodgrain produce by 3% | Agriculture | Scoop.it
Centre for Good Governance's insight:

`Output Likely To Fall 8.5MT This Year'

India'sfoodgrainproduction is set to decline 3% in 2014-15. The agriculture ministry's estimate for the year put totalfoodgrainproduction at 257.07 million tonnes (MT) in the current crop year (July-June period), compared to the highest-everfoodgrainoutput of 265.57 MT in 2013-14.

“This decline has occurred on account of lower production of rice, coarse cereals and pulses due to erratic rainfall conditions during the monsoon season in 2014,“ the ministry said in its estimate. The monsoon (rainfall) was 12% deficient during June-September last year.

India, the world'ssecondlargestwheat producer, is estimated to harvest a near-record crop this year. Wheat production is expected to decline only marginally -from 95.85 MT in 2013-14 to 95.76 MT in 2014-15.

Releasing the advance estimate, the ministry said, “It may be noted that despitedeficiencyof 12%inmonsoon rainfall during the year, the loss in production has been restricted to just around 3% over the previous year. It has, in fact, exceeded the average production during the last five years by 8.15 MT.“

Total rice production is estimated at 103.04 MT, which is lower by 3.61 MT than last year's record production of 106.65 MT. On the other hand, output of coarse cereals is estimated at 39.83 MT, which is lower by 3.46 MT than last year's production.

“Production of pulses is estimated at 18.43 MT, which is lower by 1.35 MT than last year's output, but higher by 0.81 MT than their average production during the last five years. With decrease of 2.92 MT over last year's production level, total output of oilseeds is estimated at 29.83 MT,“ the second estimate of the ministry for 2014-15 said.

Production of sugarcane is estimated at 354.95 MT, which is higher by 17.14 MT compared to its average production in the last five years.

Similarly,cotton output, estimated at 35.15 million bales (of 170 kg each), is also higher (by 2.68 million bales) than the average production of the last five years.Production of jute and mesta is estimated at 11.47 million bales (of 180 kg each), lower by 0.22 million bales than last year and marginally higher (0.18 million bales) over their five-year average production level.

http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31809&articlexml=Deficient-monsoon-shrinks-foodgrain-produce-by-3-19022015011005

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Agriculture

Agriculture | Agriculture | Scoop.it
Centre for Good Governance's insight:

Sakshi News

09.06.2014

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Saudi Arabia bans Indian green chilli , Barred for presence of excess pesticide residue

Saudi Arabia bans Indian green chilli  , Barred for presence of excess pesticide residue | Agriculture | Scoop.it

Bad taste Exporters have been told to test the products before export.

Centre for Good Governance's insight:

Kochi, June 2:  

Saudi Arabia has started enforcing its ban on import of Indian green chilli (green pepper), with the Customs Department preventing the arrival of a six-tonne consignment last week.

The Saudi Agriculture Ministry has decided to ban import of green pepper from India on the grounds that the Indian product contains unacceptable levels of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The ban took effect from last week.

Saudi Arabia, which is the fifth-largest importer of vegetables from India, has increasingly been concerned about the quality of food products it imports.

The country had complained that Indian farmers use high doses of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to speed up growth and increase harvest.

The Saudis had issued an advisory to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), pointing out that high levels of pesticide residues were found in some green chilli consignments from India, and warned that imports will be banned if the contamination continues.

Following the advisory, APEDA had asked chilli exporters to test their products before shipping to make sure that Saudi Arabia’s quality requirements are adhered to.

Last month, the European Union banned the import of the famed Alphonso mangoes and four other vegetables from India on the grounds that some of the commodities were contaminated by fruit pests.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/todays-paper/tp-agri-biz-and-commodity/saudi-arabia-bans-indian-green-chilli/article6076488.ece

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Words, words, too many words

22.04.2014 The Hindu

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The Oxford English Dictionary may disappear from bookshelves as future editions may be too big to print, its publishers fear.

Only an online format would be practicable and affordable as the third edition is expected to be twice the size of the current version, according to its publishers.

The publishers say the third edition of the famous dictionary, estimated to fill 40 volumes, is running at least 20 years behind schedule, The Telegraph reported.

The mammoth masterpiece is facing delays because “information overload” from the Internet is slowing compilers, Michael Proffitt, the OED’s first new chief editor for 20 years, said. Mr. Proffitt’s team of 70 philologists, including lexicographers, etymologists and pronunciation experts, has been working on the latest version, known as ‘OED3’, for the past 20 years.

The next edition will not be completed until 2034, and likely only to be offered in an online form because of its gargantuan size, Mr. Proffitt told Country Life magazine.

Work on the new version, currently numbering 800,000 words, has been going on since 1994, the report said. — PTI

Future editions of Oxford English Dictionary may be too big for print

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/words-words-too-many-words/article5935510.ece  


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Kanak-kaich bamboo cultivation helps small farmers

Kanak-kaich bamboo cultivation helps small farmers | Agriculture | Scoop.it
The Hindu GOOD INITIATIVE: The harvested bamboo. Photo: Special Arrangement TOPICS
Centre for Good Governance's insight:
Whatever be the crop, farmers need guidance at the right time for harvesting a good yield. Right from availability of good seedlings, pest management strategies, regular visits to the plantation sites by experts and sourcing a good market for the produce are not only a farmer’s tasks but also involve the experts dealing in the particular area. “The job becomes more challenging when one has to work among tribals and small farmers because the land resources, climate and inhospitable terrain all add to the difficulty of achieving a good yield. Small holdings “The government of Tripura under the Tripura Bamboo Mission, a public-private partnership (PPP) initiative of the Government, has been able to help small and marginal farmers and tribals to grow a bamboo variety called kanak-kaich in their small holdings and also market their produce, thus helping them get some better income,” says Dr. Ram Narayan Pandey, Program Manager, Tripura Bamboo Mission (TBM). The aim of the mission is to promote bamboo cultivation on individual lands for livelihood generation and enterprise development. The target beneficiaries include schedule caste, schedule tribe and below poverty line households especially forest dwellers who have been allotted some small acres of land by the government. The district administration supports the initiative under MGNREGA (100 days rural employment scheme) for creation of sustainable assets and employment. “We are trying to promote 5,000 hectares of commercial bamboo plantation in the next five years for rural employment and sustainable bamboo industries in the State,” says Mr. Pravin Agrawal, Director of TBM. During the pilot scale implementation started four years ago, the innovative high density bamboo variety has been able to get a good response from cultivators as a commercial crop for the poor. Good demand “More than 2,000 households in Tripura now grow kanak-kaich bamboo. About 350 applications have been received from several villages to undertake this bamboo plantation in the present year under MGNREGA (100 days rural employment scheme),” informs Dr. Pandey. The cost of establishing an acre of kanak-kaich variety plantation for first three years works out to around Rs. 65,000. The expenditure incurred in the first three years is recovered in the first harvest done during the fourth year of planting and farmers can harvest the crop for 15 years without any intensive management. According to Dr. Pandey, the average annual income from plantations was 65,000 per acre. Saleable parts include bamboo poles at Rs.3 to Rs.15 per pole and the bamboo shoots sold at Rs. 5 to Rs.7 as planting material. Annual income Mr. Ratindra Acharjee from Vidyasagar gram panchayat who is growing this bamboo variety was able to get an annual income of Rs. 80,000 from an acre. He received the progressive farmer award during the first bamboo farmers’ conference held during January this year. “It is the technology guidance from the bamboo mission and complete support under MGNREGA scheme that makes many people like me want to grow Kanak-Kaich variety,” he says. Mr. Ranajit Debbarma, another farmer who planted the variety two years back, is now a proud owner of a motor cycle. “This is the easiest way out to cross the line of poverty for tribal folks like us. Previously we were growing rubber trees. But rubber takes too long for a poor person to earn some money and this type of cultivation suits us,” he says. Suitable areas “Kanak-kaich variety can be cultivated as a rain-fed crop all over the country especially in the North-Eastern States, Maharashtra, Kerala (Western Ghats), Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, parts of West Bengal and Orissa where soil and air moisture is high most of the year. In other States it can be grown only under irrigated conditions” says Dr. Pandey. About 60 trucks of Kanak Kaich bamboo moves out of Tripura every year and the number is expected to increase in the next three years when the recent plantations start yielding, according to Dr, Pandey.
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Sugarcane

Sugarcane | Agriculture | Scoop.it
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The poor without the benefits

The poor without the benefits | Agriculture | Scoop.it
Restricting the price subsidy to coarse grains alone will not only work better from both fiscal and equity points of view but also weaken the incentives for graft
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Veerappa Moily okays field trials of GM crops - The Times of India

Veerappa Moily okays field trials of GM crops - The Times of India | Agriculture | Scoop.it
A day after agriculture minister Sharad Pawar spelt out the government's stand over the contentious issue while pitching for field trials, environment minister M Veerappa Moily on Thursday gave his go-ahead to the move.
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Veerappa Moily okays field trials of GM crops

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Farmer's Electricity

Farmer's Electricity | Agriculture | Scoop.it
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Farmer's Electricity, Wasted

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Fertiliser Ministry seeks Rs 20,000 crore more subsidy

Fertiliser Ministry seeks Rs 20,000 crore more subsidy | Agriculture | Scoop.it
Gets Rs 9,000 cr under special banking arrangement to clear pending dues
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Fertiliser Ministry

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‘Strengthen PDS instead of promoting cash transfers’

‘Strengthen PDS instead of promoting cash transfers’ | Agriculture | Scoop.it
Protect interests of farmers while safeguarding ecology, he says
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Promoting Cash Transfers

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PM Modi launches Soil Health Card scheme targeting 14 crore farmers

PM Modi launches Soil Health Card scheme targeting 14 crore farmers | Agriculture | Scoop.it

Pointing out that soil health has deteriorated due to high usage of fertilisers, the Prime Minister asked farmers to take care of soil.

Centre for Good Governance's insight:

Suratgarh: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched a Soil Health Card scheme, under which the Centre plans to target over 14 crore farmers in the next three years to check the excess use offertilisers.

Pointing out that soil health has deteriorated due to high usage offertilisers, Modi asked farmers to take care ofsoil. The card, to be issued after testing soil, would help them save up to Rs 50,000 in 3 acres of land, he added.

Modi also said that the newly set up Niti Aayog and the states have been asked to constitute high-powered expert committees on agriculture to boost farm growth.

 

Pointing out that soil health has deteriorated due to high usage offertilisers, the Prime Minister asked farmers to take care ofsoil.

"We used more urea, more water and more fertilizersto getmorebenefits butas a result of it, the soil health deteriorated. Now, it is high time we pay attention towards it. Therefore, the government is today launching this national scheme," Modi said here after launching the central scheme.

The card, which will carry crop-wise recommendation offertilisersrequired for farm lands, will help farmers identifyhealthof soil and judiciously use soil nutrients.

Farmers need to do away with traditional farming techniques and adopt scientific methods of agriculture to raise crop yields, Modi said, adding that the farming strategy should depend upon the quality of soil.

Modi asked farmers to be more concerned about soil health and said that "like we care for our health and body, we also need to pay attention towards the soil andlandwhich is our 'Dharti Mata' (motherland). If we care for the soil, it will care for us and will give more benefits".

Referring to the song "Vande Mataram," Modi said that in order to achieve land that is truly "Sujalam, Sufalam," (well- irrigated and fertile), it is necessary to nurturesoiland the soil health card scheme is a step towards fulfilling this dream.

Calling for soil testing to be made a regular feature, the Prime Minister said a new class of entrepreneurs could set up soil testing labs even in small towns.

Besides soil health, the Prime Minister asked farmers to use drip irrigation to get morecropfrom each drop of water and to keep the land and soil away from the hazards of using water more than required.

Modi said that the NDA government is giving bigger responsibility to states in boosting the agriculture sector. The Prime Minister said that he has directed Niti Aayog and the states to set up high-powered expert committees on the agriculture sector.

"Till now it used to be a top to bottom approach. Now, we are going to take bottom to top approach. First, the state will prepare a policy on agriculture, later the Centre will come up with a policy after discussing with states. This initiative has already started," Modi said.

"We want that the government of India with all state governments scrutinize common minimum things (in agriculture sector) and implement it for the entire nation," he added. Stating that agriculture is the key to poverty eradication, Modi asked farmers to take up farming in three parts.

"Firstly, carry on with traditional farming, which you have been doing, but use more scientific and modern techniques. Secondly, grow more trees on the boundaries of your farm fields, which otherwise are kept unused. Thirdly, take up poultry, fisheries, dairy and other allied activities to raise your income," he said.

Speaking at the event, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that scheme assumes importance because imbalanced application of fertilizers has caused a deficiency of nutrients in most parts of the country.

"We are planning to distribute the cards to 3 crore farmers in this financial year... Short cut ways like MSP and subsidy were used in the country to provide relief to farmers, but now we will through the scheme not only bring down production cost, but also increase quality production as well as profit," he said.

The scheme will be implemented in all states to promote soil testing services, issue of soil health cards and development of nutrient management practices, he added. Krishi Karman Awards were also given on the occasion by the Prime Minister who said that the government has come out of the national capital to distribute these awards.

Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh and Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, Union Ministers Rajyavardhan Singh, Nihal Chand and Sanwar Lal were among present at the event.

 

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/pm-modi-launches-soil-health-card-scheme-targeting-14-crore-farmers/529451-3.html

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Agriculture

Agriculture | Agriculture | Scoop.it
Centre for Good Governance's insight:

Sakshi News 

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Banana fibre has good market potential

Banana fibre has good market potential | Agriculture | Scoop.it

NEW INITIATIVE: There is a rising demand among companies to buy the fibre. Photo: Special Arrangement

Centre for Good Governance's insight:

 

Banana is cultivated in Erode district all through the year. Every year, after the plant bears fruits the main stem (called pseudo stem) needs to be removed, since the main plant starts to wither and the crop continues to grow through offshoots for two or more years.

Normally farmers employ labour to either cut or uproot the pseudo stems and throw them by the roadside. For this, a farmer needs to invest Rs. 10,000 per acre as labour charge for cutting and removing the plant from the field.

Very few farmers show inclination to use the stem as manure by shredding and incorporating it in the fields. They feel that it is time consuming and laborious.

Not aware

The fibre from the plant has been traditionally used for stringing flowers and in the manufacture of paper and rugs. But farmers are still not aware of the potential of fibre generation from an acre of banana plantation.

As part of promoting rural entrepreneurs in the field of agriculture and animal husbandry, the Myrada KVK in Erode designed a skill training programme on banana fibre extraction for unemployed rural youth in the region.

Mr. S. Prasath, an unemployed youth from Alukkuli village near Gobichettipalayam, was also a participant of this training programme. Hailing from a farmer’s family, Mr. Prasath studied to be an engineer and was dreaming to become an entrepreneur.

With the help of Myrada he set up a small banana fibre production unit near his village and initially produced 10 kg of banana fibre from the machine.

However, he was not satisfied with the production, so he further approached the institute for a better and more efficient machine and was advised to make changes to his existing machine.

Income

“Since the innovator is basically an engineering graduate he understood our suggestions and made suitable refinements to the machine. This enhanced his production to 120 kg per day and now he produces about 5 tonnes of fibre a month. In a month he earns Rs. 4,200 as net income from this enterprise.

“In addition, he provides employment to 25 agricultural labourers on a regular basis,” says Dr. P. Alagesan, Programme Coordinator, Myrada. Simultaneously the entrepreneur also worked to utilise the by-products of banana fibre extraction like pith and sap water.

Trials

“In case of managing banana pith, a series of trials has been taken up at the institute to find a suitable method for composting the pith, which can be mulched into the soil. The pith compost is a rich source of soil nutrient as it helps increase the beneficial microorganisms in the soil. The sap water from the stem is being experimented to be used as dyeing material for clothes, and use for as growth promoter in crops,” explains Mr. Alagesan.

“Since there is a huge demand and scope for banana fibre I am working on manufacturing bulk production, producing of yarn from the fibre and efficiently managing the waste generated from it. I am trying to manufacture household materials, agricultural inputs and handicrafts from the waste,” says Mr. Prasath.

From an acre

An acre of pseudostem is required for generating about 120 kg of banana fibre a day. From an acre of land you can produce about 1,000 to 1,500 stems approximately.

Roughly 10-13 stems give you around one to two kg of fibre depending upon the soil, water and plant condition. Companies willingly pay Rs 110--200 for a kg of fibre today, according to Dr. Alagesan.

Apart from this Mr. Prasath is using the pith to make banana fibre pots and pellets as growth base material for nursery plants.

For more details interested farmers can contact Mr.S.Prasath, No 20, Mahalakshmi nagar, Modachur, Gobichettipalayam, Erode district – 638476, Phone: 9790039998, Email: bananafibres@yahoo.in andinfo.braydil@gmail.com

http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/agriculture/banana-fibre-has-good-market-potential/article6082539.ece

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Farmers as entrepreneurs

Farmers as entrepreneurs | Agriculture | Scoop.it
Centre for Good Governance's insight:

Ramesh Kumar, a farmer in his mid-forties from Dongali in Haryana, is busy these days levelling the land of fellow farmers in neighbouring villages. Kumar, who acquired a laser-leveller about two years ago, charges about ₹600 per acre for the service.

“Levelling of farmland at least once in two years is crucial as it helps irrigate the field effectively, thereby helping farmers conserve water,” says Kumar. Annually, Kumar earns an additional income of up to ₹2 lakh through this service.

About 700 km away in Central Uttar Pradesh, Shamsuddin Siddiqui, the owner of Siddiqui Krishi Farm Centre in Budha village near Hardoi, has become an agricultural technology service provider.

Siddiqui has been renting out a range of farm implements, such as rotavators, disc harrows, threshers, trench planters and tractors, for a fee. He employs four workers trained in handling the equipment and earns about ₹4.5 lakh a year from his services.

The rapid adoption of mechanisation is creating a new breed of farmers-turned-entrepreneurs, such as Kumar and Siddiqui, offering custom services for hire.

Siddiqui is one of 60 farmer-turned-entrepreneurs shortlisted by Mitha Sona, a sugarcane productivity improvement project launched by DCM Shriram and IFC. He will soon be trained in financial management. “We are facilitating entrepreneurs to gain access to credit, and putting them in touch with farmers who are in need of these services,” says Joy Mukherjee, Deputy GM (Cane) at DCM Shriram’s sugar factory in Loni.

“A farmer just needs to own land and not equipment,” says Siddiqui, explaining that the entire spectrum of operations — tillage, planting, weeding and harvesting — can now be outsourced.

Yet another example is that of Ravindar Singh, a farmer in his mid-thirties, from Ugala, near Ambala. Singh not only cultivates land on a lease basis, but also offers his equipment and services for hire.

Dattatreya Kalokhe, a farmer in early sixties from Dehugaon near Pune, is another. “We have been using two tractors and a range of implement for our farming operations. We rent them out whenever we don’t use them,” says Kalokhe, adding that it helps him earn incremental income.

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Red Chilli from Mexico

Red Chilli from Mexico | Agriculture | Scoop.it
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Most rural population now not solely in agriculture: NCAER survey

Most rural population now not solely in agriculture: NCAER survey | Agriculture | Scoop.it
As part of India Human Development Survey, the team covered 42,000 households across the country
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Panel clears trials for 11 GM crop varieties with caveat

Panel clears trials for 11 GM crop varieties with caveat | Agriculture | Scoop.it
Committee says the trials will have to be cleared by the respective state governments first
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Blaming poor returns, 61% farmers ready to quit and take up city jobs: survey

Blaming poor returns, 61% farmers ready to quit and take up city jobs: survey | Agriculture | Scoop.it

jobsAbout 70% said crops got destroyed at least once in the past 3 years

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‘Population dependent on farms up 50% in 31 years’

‘Population dependent on farms up 50% in 31 years’ | Agriculture | Scoop.it

Agricultural population of India grew by a whopping 50% between 1980 and 2011, the highest for any country during this period, followed by China with 33%, while that of the US dropped by 37% as a result of large -scale mechanisation, said a latest report.

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‘Population dependent on farms up 50% in 31 years’

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Centre Raises Agri Credit

Centre Raises Agri Credit | Agriculture | Scoop.it
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Centre Raises Agri Credit for 2014-15

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Tiwas tribe in Assam keeps centuries-old barter trade fair alive

Tiwas tribe in Assam keeps centuries-old barter trade fair alive | Agriculture | Scoop.it
Turmeric, ginger, pepper exchanged for pitha, dried fish
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Tribals

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States can subsidise electricity but discoms should be revenue neutral: Scindia

States can subsidise electricity but discoms should be revenue neutral: Scindia | Agriculture | Scoop.it
Centre for Good Governance's insight:

Subsidise Electricity

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