Disclaimer-This is a compilation of agriculture news from the HINDU newspaper. We will keep updating this post as and when we come across new initiatives/concepts related to agriculture until Prelims 2017.
It is a centuries-old concept of participatory water management in Tamilnadu
Pandya king issued an order asking each family to send one person to work on strengthening the banks of Vaigai river which gave rise to this practice.
Though the Madras Local Board Act of 1930 provided for activities associated with agriculture like kudimaramathu and keeping a watch over crops (kaaval), the provisions could not be implemented by village panchayats as the government was not willing to offer financial powers or transfer control over natural resources to them.
The biggest challenge thus far to the execution of the kudimaramathu scheme is the removal of seemaikaruvelamtrees and hyacinth from water courses. seemaikaruvelam is an invasive species.
Milk and the Breeds
One reason for heightened interest in the milk of local breeds is a raft of research that implicates a protein — called A1 beta-casein and found in the milk of several European breeds — being linked to a risk of diabetes, ischemic disease and heart disease. Cattle that lack the A1 gene are categorised as A2.
A1 and A2 beta-casein are genetic variants of the beta-casein milk protein that differ by a single amino acid. The A1 beta-casein type is the most common type found in cow’s milk in Europe (excluding France), the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.
While commercial breeds in India are dominantly A1, there are several indigenous breeds that may have the safer A2 genes that lead to milk free of A1 proteins.
However, scientists now say that techniques are round the corner that can potentially ‘silence’ A1 genes. Genome editing software such as CRISPR-Cas9 can be used to achieve this
Beta-lactoglobulin is a protein in cow’s milk that triggers an allergic reaction in many infants. However, in 2014, a group of researchers at the University of Vienna discovered that it was the absence of iron in beta-lactoglobulin which led to allergies. That means that if there were ways to set off another set of genes to produce iron, cow’s milk would be palatable to many more children.
Persa Pen (Bada Dev Puja)
It is a ritual performed by Gonds of Telengana which literally means “Bada Dev puja” or the “Worship of the great god”.
Gonds belonging to Mesalkar Madavi clan seeking blessings from Bada Dev for good crop season.
Australian biologist Bill Mollison’s widely well-received book Permaculture One,written along with David Holmgren, lead to the coining of the term ‘permaculture’ in the 1970s.
This revolution has three basic principles: care for the earth, care for the people, and the return of surplus to the Earth and people or ‘fair share’
Two of the ethics of permaculture: ‘people care’ and ‘fair share’.
Permaculture day is celebrated by Aranya Agricultural Alternatives (AAA) along with IPC India on May 6th and 7th.
Terra Madre is a network of food communities, which are groups of small-scale food producers committed to producing quality food in a responsible, sustainable way.
There are more than 2,000 Terra Madre food communities around the world.
Terra Madre network was launched by the Slow Food grass roots organization, and the intent is to provide small-scale farmers, breeders, fishers and food artisans whose approach to food production protects the environment and communities.
The network brings them together with academics, cooks, consumers and youth groups so that they can join forces in working to improve the food system.
The Terra Madre network holds a major biennial conference which are held in Torino, Italy intended to foster discussion and introduce innovative concepts in the field of food, gastronomy, globalization, economics. The first of these conferences was held in 2004.
The founding members of the Terra Madre Foundation include: The Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, The Development Cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Piedmont Regional Authority, The City of Turin, Slow Food.
Banganapalle mango gets GI tag
The Andhra Pradesh government is the registered proprietor of the GI tag for mangoes, often hailed as “the king of fruits.”
GI is covered under the Intellectual Property Rights and the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
A GI tag certifies the origin of a product or produce from a particular region as the quality or other features of the product is attributable only to the place of its origin.
The tag helps farmers or manufacturers, as the case may be, to get a better price in the market.
The first Kokum Mela of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi conducted at Muliya village in Bantwal taluk of Dakshina Kannada on May 1, Karnataka
The mela would feature different food items made from Kokum. Value added products of Kokum would be on sale.
Fertigation is the injection of fertilizers, soil amendments, and other water-soluble products into an irrigation system.Fertigation is related to chemigation, the injection of chemicals into an irrigation system
The benefits of fertigation over the conventional or drop-fertilizing methods include increased nutrient absorption, reduction of fertilizer and water needed and greater control in the application of nutrients.
There is a reduction in soil erosion because the nutrients are pumped through the water drip system. Leaching of nutrients from the soil is also decreased.
Andhra Pradesh is the leading state in producing turmeric followed by Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Kerala and Bihar.
Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) has come up with innovative plant nutrient formulations to improve crop productivity.
Multi-nutrient mixtures, micro-nutrient preparations, nutrient sticks and pellets, fortified manure discs and multi-nutrient water soluble tablets are the products being brought out by the university. Most of them are applied on the foliage instead of soil.
Soil quality evaluation has indicated that soil in many parts of Kerala is deficient not only in major soil nutrients, but also secondary nutrients like magnesium and calcium and micro-nutrients like boron, zinc and copper.
Sampoorna KAU multi-mix is a crop-specific formulation for use in rice, banana and vegetables.
Smart Shoe for Catttle
The ‘smart shoe’ developed by the Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Sciences University is made using rubber waste, and is being tried out on a set of animals in the Shivamogga veterinary college. The problem, however, is that cattle are reluctant to wear it and the shoe keeps falling off.
Apple in Tropics
Apple cultivation isn’t something one expects to see in the tropics. But in the hills of north Telangana, an experiment to change that is, literally, bearing fruit.
The achievement is a result of a few years of experimentation in apple genomics by scientists from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, which produced ‘low-chilling’ varieties of the plant, that is, they are able to withstand hot weather.
Govt. regulator gives nod for GM mustard
Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), India’s apex regulator for genetically modified seeds, recently cleared GM mustard for environmental release and use in farmer fields.
However, the approval is contingent on a final nod from Environment Minister.
Should the Minister’s consent be obtained, GM mustard would be the first transgenic food crop to be allowed for commercial cultivation in Indian fields and would be a gateway for several genetically-modified food crops in India.
Bt brinjal blocked
Bt Brinjal was cleared by the Committee in 2010 but was blocked by then Environment Minister.
Dhara Mustard Hybrid (DMH -11), the transgenic mustard in question, has been developed by a team of scientists at Delhi University led by former vice-chancellor Deepak Pental under a government-funded project.
In essence, it uses a system of genes from soil bacterium that makes mustard — generally a self pollinating plant — better suited to hybridisation than current methods.
A banana variety resistant to wilt disease on the anvil
The wilt disease called ‘Fusarium’ causes extensive damage to banana and it has been a global challenge to evolve a variety resistant to it. In many African countries, where banana is a staple food, the incidence of wilt means a major setback to food productivity.
The National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB) at Podhavur working on developing a banana variety which is resistant to wilt disease.
RML AgTech, a Mumbai based start-up , which has created the app — RML Farmer — Krishi Mitro, used by seven lakh farmers.
The app has been designed in a manner to provide customised data to the farmer based on his or her area, weather, soil condition and market demand. Through the app along with customer support service and on-ground intervention, the company keeps a track of the information that each farmer is seeking.
Moving beyond the basics, the start-up also provides information about farm production management, pesticide & nutri-management, harvest, packaging, storage and finally the place where the best price is available.
The paid version has features called CropDock and DigiMandi. With CropDock, a farmer can click and upload photographs of his crop that has been infested with pests and within four hours, the company will revert with a solution and also the manner in which it has to be implemented.
With DigiMandi, a farmer can get mandi-specific information like the distance from the farm to the nearest mandi, transportation cost and contact details of traders.
Sandponics, a unique cultivation system that uses no soil, only sunlight and greenhouse facilities, being experimented in Japan.
It is not resource-intensive faring method.
India isn’t far behind in exploring urban farms either. Chennai-based Future Farms, Jaipur-based Hamari Krishi and a few others are bringing the urban farm revolution to India.
Spirulina, an algae can be a key to fighting malnutrition
Thanneermukkam -the curry leaf village
It is in Kerala.
Consumption of curry leaves is considered beneficial to the body. Curry leaf has anti-carcinogenic properties due to the presence of carbazole alkaloids. Curry leaf can be used as an anti-oxidant as it contains the anti-oxidants tocopherol, b-carotene, and lutein.
FRP (Fair and Remunerative price) deals with sugarcane.
M.S. Swaminathan committee urged the State government to give crop loss compensation of ₹25, 000 per acre to farmers who have incurred crop loss owing to drought in the State in the past two years.
Mr. Shanthkumar also urged the government to waive off all farm loans to prevent farmers resorting to drastic measures.
a special variety of brinjal grown in two villages of Udupi district, Karnataka
The ‘Mattu Gulla’ enjoys a Geographical Indication (GI) tag, and is reputed for its unique taste.
Bt cotton varieties
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has identified three Bt cotton varieties – PAU Bt 1, F1861 and RS2013 – for cultivation in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
All three varieties carry the Cry1Ac gene imparting resistance against bollworm complex.The genetic modification involves introduction of the Bt bacterial gene that codes for a protein which kills the bollworm cotton pest.
Pests eat away 35% of total crop yield
About 30-35% of the annual crop yield in India gets wasted because of pests
Nematodes, consisting of roundworms, threadworms and eelworms, are causing loss of crops to the tune of almost 60 million tonnes or 10-12 % of crop production every year
Agariyas of Wild Ass Country
Agariyas or salt farmers (‘agar’ is a salt farm) of Rann of Kutch, Gujarat.
The majority are Hindus, belonging to the Chunvaliya Koli community while the Miyana and Sandhi are Muslims
They are a Denotified Tribe, united by their shared occupation, their culture, folk songs and the hardships of salt farming.
Denotified Tribes (DNTs), also known as Vimukta Jati, are the tribes that were originally listed under the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, as “Criminal Tribes” and “addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offences.” Once a tribe became “notified” as criminal, all its members were required to register with the local magistrate, failing which they would be charged with a “crime” under the Indian Penal Code. The Criminal Tribes Act of 1952 repealed the notification, i.e. ‘de-notified’ the tribal communities. This Act, however, was replaced by a series of Habitual Offenders Acts, that asked police to investigate a “suspect’s” “criminal tendencies” and whether their occupation is “conducive to settled way of life.” The denotified tribes were reclassified as “habitual offenders” in 1959.
Just before the dust-laden winds called udaan (and intense vaavar)begin in summer, the salt crop is harvested.
The Agariyas and activists are also demanding Forest Rights Act that will assure them traditional user rights for salt farming. They have no farm land and no other skills. Salt farming is their sole livelihood.
Buffaloes and Breeds
Murrah breed – Haryana
Jaffrabadi breed- Gujarat
Girs, Khillaris and Shahiwal are indigenous cow breeds of India.
Spread of parasitic weed worries tobacco growers
Orabanche cernua is the weed that infests tobacco plants
The miracle rice-‘IR8’
The introduction of ‘IR8’ — a new variety of rice in November 1967, by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Manila, pioneered the green revolution in rice.
Biotech-KISAN is a new programme of GOI that empowers farmers, especially women farmers. Cash crops and horticulture can be a major source of income but the vagaries of climate, disease and market often prevent this. Farmers are eager to use scientific tools that can mitigate these factors. The Department of Biotechnology is partnering to stimulate these exciting directions.
The Scheme is for farmers, developed by and with farmers, it empowers women, impacts locally, connects globally, is Pan-India, has a hub-and spoke model and stimulates entrepreneurship and innovation in farmers.
For Farmers: The Biotech-KISAN is a Farmer centric scheme launched by of the Department of Biotechnology, where scientists will work in sync with farmers to understand problems and find solutions.
By Farmers: Developed in consultation with the farmers. Soil, Water, Seed and Market are some key points that concern small and marginal farmers. Biotech-KISAN aims to link farmers, scientists and science institutions across the country in a network that identifies and helps solve their problems in a cooperative manner.
Empower women. The woman farmer is often neglected. It is important to empower the women farmer, help her meet her concerns for better seed, storage of seed and protection of the crops from disease and pest. The women farmer is also the prime caretaker of livestock and she is eager to combine traditional wisdom in handling the livestock and with current best practices, especially in the context of emerging livestock disease. The scheme includes the Mahila Biotech- KISAN fellowships, for training and education in farm practices, for women farmers. The Scheme also aims to support the women farmers/ entrepreneur in their small enterprises, making her a grass root innovator.
Connects Globally. Biotech-KISAN will connect farmers to best global practices; training workshops will be held in India and other countries. Farmers and Scientists will partner across the globe.
Impacts Locally. The scheme is targeted towards the least educated marginalised farmer; Scientists will spend time on farms and link communication tools to soil, water seed and market. The aim is to understand individual problems of the smallholding farmers and provide ready solutions.
Across India. Biotech KISAN will connect farmers with science in the 15 agro-climatic zones of the country in a manner, which constantly links problems with available solutions.
Hubs and Spoke. In each of these 15 regions, a Farmer organisation will be the hub connected to different science labs, Krishi Vigyan Kendra and State Agriculture Universities co-located in the region. The hub will reach out to the farmers in the region and connect them to scientists and institutions.
Farmers as Innovators. The hub will have tinkering lab, communication cell and will run year-long training, awareness, workshops and which will act as education demonstration units to encourage grass root innovation in the young as well as women farmers.
Communicating Best Practises There will be a communication set-up to make radio and TV programmes for local stations, as well as daily connectivity through social media.
Livestock is a Lifeline. Livestock contributes significantly to the livelihood of rural poor in our country and has enormous potential to reduce poverty. There is a predicted increase in demand for animal food products in India by 2020. In the wake of climate change challenges, quality breeding of indigenous livestock is essential. When breeding is selective, our native livestock can transform the lives of small farmers.
SelectingHardyLivestockThatGiveHigh-yields. Better livestock can be genetically, selected which ultimately leads to enhancement of productivity in a sustainable, resilient manner.
Traditional BreedingTakesTime. Genetic improvement of livestock through traditional selection for increasing livestock productivity has major limitations. To overcome these, genomic selection has played a crucial role in livestock industry globally.
GlobalBestMethods forLocalLivestock. Our aim is to develop these tools for our native livestock.
GenomicSelection will transform local livestock breeding. This uses information on variation in DNA sequences between animals to predict the breeding value of animals more accurately.
GenomeSequencing ofIndigenousCattleBreeds from all registered cattle breeds of India by involving various stakeholders starting immediately.
Development ofHigh-density DNAChips. This will reduce the cost and time interval of breeding programme in future and productivity of indigenous cattle will be enhanced.
Rice fortification technology to fight anaemia
Seeking to address the problem of anaemia in India, scientists of department of biotechnology (DBT) have developed an innovative way to fortify rice with iron which can be mixed with normal rice and consumed without compromising on its flavour.
The fortified rice, manufactured using broken rice kernel through the DBT’s technology, matches the normal rice kernel in shape, size and sheen. It provides 50% of recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iron to children when mixed with normal rice in the ratio of 1:100
It referred to the National Family Health Survey (conducted in 2005-2006) which noted the prevalence of anaemia in 70% of the children of 6-59 months age group. Anaemia – low haemoglobin condition that results in weariness or lack of energy or shortness of breadth – is mainly caused by iron deficiency.
Rice-fortification initiative in India was first launched by the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) in Odisha where it had successfully completed its pilot programme on iron fortified rice served to children under the Mid-Day Meal programme in Gajapati district.
Appropriate quantities of iron, iodine, zinc, water soluble vitamins (folic acid, B1, B2, B6, Niacin, B12 ) and fat soluble vitamins (A and D) are added to commonly consumed foods under this technology to bridge the “gap” between the daily requirements and the daily food intake
‘Water4Crops’ — a joint project undertaken by the European Union (EU) and India — offers ‘Constructed Wetland’, a technology to reuse the wastewater in rural areas for irrigation which would also increase the productivity and quality of crops as compared to freshwater.
Tribe offers clues to hidden wonders of medicinal plant
Scientists at the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI) here have confirmed the multiple therapeutic properties of Neurocalyx calycinus used by the Cholanaickan tribe, one of the particularly vulnerable groups in Kerala, to treat inflammations and wounds.
e-Krishi Samvad is internet-based interface and is a unique platform that will provide direct and effective solutions to the problems faced by farmers and stakeholders in the agriculture sector.
The ICRISAT Governing Board honored Dr Rajeev Varshney, Research Program Director, Genetic Gains, with the 2016 Doreen Margaret Mashler Award. This award was conferred upon him for his outstanding scientific achievements in the areas of genome sequencing, genetic mapping and functional genomics, and for his leadership in increasing ICRISAT’s international visibility in the area of genome science and molecular biology.
Hakki Pikki community threatens to intensify protest
The Hakki Pikki tribal community, staying put in Angadihalli in Belur taluk, Karnataka , have warned the State government of staging a nude protest if their demand for suitable land was not granted within a week.
Earlier tey used to live in the forests and were brought out of the forests but denied decent living.
Suttur Jatra Mahotsava
It is held in Karnataka where the jatra will focus on novel agricultural practice and showcasing them.
Darknet, also known as dark web or darknet market, refers to the part of the internet that is not indexed or accessible through traditional search engines. It is a network of private and encrypted websites that cannot be accessed through regular web browsers and requires special software and configuration to access.
The darknet is often associated with illegal activities such as drug trafficking, weapon sales, and hacking services, although not all sites on the darknet are illegal.
Examples of darknet markets include Silk Road, AlphaBay, and Dream Market, which were all shut down by law enforcement agencies in recent years.
These marketplaces operate similarly to e-commerce websites, with vendors selling various illegal goods and services, such as drugs, counterfeit documents, and hacking tools, and buyers paying with cryptocurrency for their purchases.
Anonymity: Darknet allows users to communicate and transact with each other anonymously. Users can maintain their privacy and avoid being tracked by law enforcement agencies or other entities.
Access to Information: The darknet provides access to information and resources that may be otherwise unavailable or censored on the regular internet. This can include political or sensitive information that is not allowed to be disseminated through other channels.
Freedom of Speech: The darknet can be a platform for free speech, as users are able to express their opinions and ideas without fear of censorship or retribution.
Secure Communication: Darknet sites are encrypted, which means that communication between users is secure and cannot be intercepted by third parties.
Illegal Activities: Many darknet sites are associated with illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, weapon sales, and hacking services. Such activities can attract criminals and expose users to serious legal risks.
Scams: The darknet is a hotbed for scams, with many fake vendors and websites that aim to steal users’ personal information and cryptocurrency. The lack of regulation and oversight on the darknet means that users must be cautious when conducting transactions.
Security Risks: The use of the darknet can expose users to malware and other security risks, as many sites are not properly secured or monitored. Users may also be vulnerable to hacking or phishing attacks.
Stigma: The association of the darknet with illegal activities has created a stigma that may deter some users from using it for legitimate purposes.
AI, or artificial intelligence, refers to the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence, such as recognizing speech, making decisions, and understanding natural language.
Virtual assistants: Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are examples of virtual assistants that use natural language processing to understand and respond to users’ queries.
Recommendation systems: Companies like Netflix and Amazon use AI to recommend movies and products to their users based on their browsing and purchase history.
Efficiency: AI systems can work continuously without getting tired or making errors, which can save time and resources.
Personalization: AI can help provide personalized recommendations and experiences for users.
Automation: AI can automate repetitive and tedious tasks, freeing up time for humans to focus on more complex tasks.
Job loss: AI has the potential to automate jobs previously performed by humans, leading to job loss and economic disruption.
Bias: AI systems can be biased due to the data they are trained on, leading to unfair or discriminatory outcomes.
Safety and privacy concerns: AI systems can pose safety risks if they malfunction or are used maliciously, and can also raise privacy concerns if they collect and use personal data without consent.