The potential of Indian Agriculture

Discussion in 'Economy & Infrastructure' started by NSG_Blackcats, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. NSG_Blackcats

    NSG_Blackcats Member of The Month OCTOBER 2009 Senior Member

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    Indian Agriculture thread: Record production of wheat, pulse and Cotton

    Agriculture is an important component in the economic development of India. Though it contributes 17% to India�s GDP but it helps a lots of other sectors like FMCG, Auto industry etc. indirectly. I am requesting all the members to post news related to Indian Agriculture here.
    Regards
    NSG
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2011
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  3. NSG_Blackcats

    NSG_Blackcats Member of The Month OCTOBER 2009 Senior Member

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    India's 'drought-resistant rice' ​


    By Geeta Pandey
    BBC News, Hazaribag, Jharkhand

    A new variety of rice being tested in the fields of India's eastern Jharkhand state has the potential to change the face of Indian agriculture. Sahbhagi dhan is drought-tolerant and can survive even if there are no rains for 12 days. Rice is known to be a "thirsty crop" and a "water guzzler" and scientists have been working for years to develop a strain which will withstand a dry spell.

    "A drought can occur anytime between 15 June and 15 September - the season in which rice is cultivated. Sometimes there can be gaps of five to 15 days between spells of rain," says Mukund Variar, agricultural scientist. "If there's a dry spell when the seed is sown, or the flower is just emerging, even a five-day drought can be very dangerous for most varieties of rice. But Sahbhagi can tolerate a dry spell of 10 to 12 days."

    [​IMG]

    Positive
    Sahbhagi Dhan, which means rice developed through collaboration, is the result of 15 years of joint effort by scientists at the Manila-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Central Rainfed Upland Rice Research Station (CRURRS) in Hazaribag town. Upland is a term used to define areas which are rain-deficient and nearly six million hectares of land in India falls in this category.

    Farmer Baldev Kumar is trying Sahbhagi for the first time
    [​IMG]

    Agriculturists say the field trials of Sahbhagi, which began in 2006, have given positive results. "We have already given it for testing to farmers in their fields. It's being tested in several villages and is proposed for release in the states of Jharkhand and Orissa. Hopefully it will be released in a couple of months," Mr Variar says. In Singrawan village, farmer Bijay Kumar Singh shows me the patch of land where he is growing Sahbhagi. The seeds were planted a fortnight ago and little green shoots have sprung up everywhere.

    "In this region, the most popular variety of rice so far has been Sadabahar. But last year I tried out Sahbhagi in a small patch of land. The yield was the best. The stem was the strongest. and it was good to eat too. It isn't the best, but it's better than the average in taste," he says. Sadabahar gives excellent yield when the monsoon is good, but a dry spell results in total crop failure. This year, on Mr Singh's recommendation seven farmers in his village are trying out the new variety.

    Little rain

    "I planted the seeds about a fortnight ago. The crop was good last year, the produce was good too. I've heard it's tasty as well. Next year, we'll grow it in a much larger area," farmer Baldev Kumar says.But poor rainfall is making him worried: "The plant has not been able to come up to its full length because there has been little rain this year." Farmers here grow maize, corn, lentils and mustard. But rice is the main staple in the state and almost all farmers grow paddy.

    Mr Variar says Sahbhagi can survive a dry spell for 12 days
    [​IMG]

    Monsoons are at best erratic in Jharkhand, and the scanty rainfall this year has given rise to a drought-like situation in many parts of the state which is bad news for rice growers. "It's a very challenging year. We're dependent on the monsoon completely. We've already lost 60 percent of our crop because of poor rainfall. If the rains come now, we would be able to take 30-35 percent of our paddy crop," says Mr Singh. For farmers like him, Sahbhagi could be the answer to prayers.

    Dr VD Shukla of CRURRS says Sahbhagi Dhan has "the capacity to take moisture from the deeper levels of soil. It is also tolerant to diseases and pests. Moreover, its stem is much more sturdy and doesn't bend, which means the farmer gets a better yield". Adds Mr Variar: "Last year, the crop season was good with well distributed rainfall. But this year there are drought-like conditions so the farmer will be able to differentiate between the Sahbhagi and other varieties and find out which one is better."The farmers agree. Says Gulab Mahato of Lupung village, "There's no water even in the village pond this year. So how do we sow our crops? But with Sahbhagi, we can wait for another 15 days. Even if it rains a little bit, we will be able to get some rice."

    pics coutsey : BBC
    Link
     
  4. ajay_ijn

    ajay_ijn Regular Member

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    The problem lies in those statistics itself.

    60% of Indian population is depending on sector which contributes just 17% of GDP.
     
  5. NSG_Blackcats

    NSG_Blackcats Member of The Month OCTOBER 2009 Senior Member

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    Sugar Industry​


    India is the second largest producer of sugar in the world. Sugarcane is an important agro-industrial crop in India, occupying 4.0 million hectare area. It is grown in two distinct agro-climatic regions: the tropical and sub tropical; Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu being the important cane growing states in tropical region while Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Bihar are the four important states growing sugarcane in North India. Uttar Pradesh in sub-tropical and Maharashtra in tropical region, however, occupy the top position as far as sugarcane crop area and sugar industry are concerned.

    The average cane yield in India is about 70.0 tonnes per hectare while the sugar recovery is around 10.0 percent. However, there is potential of increasing the average cane yield to 100 tonnes per hectare and sugar recovery to 11.0 percent, if new technologies are transferred to the farmers fields.

    Statistics On Sugar Production
    As to the statistics there were a total number of 571 sugar factories in India as on March 31, 2005 compared to 138 during 1950-51. These 571 sugar mills produce a total quantity of 19.2 million tons (MT). Sugar production in India increased from 15.5 MT in 1998-99 to 20.1 MT in 2002-03. Department of Agriculture and Co-operation, sugarcane production in 2004-05 is estimated at 232.3 MT from 237.3 MT in 2003-04. Sugarcane production is expected to reach 257.7 MT in 2005-06.

    Sugar Pricing:
    Government of India fixes Statutory Minimum Price (SMP) for sugarcane according to Clause 3 of the Sugarcane Order. This statutory Minimum Price is designed through the consent of Commission for Agricultural Coast and Prices (CACP) and respective state Governments. For the year 2004-05, the rate was fixed at Rs. 74.50 per quintal with a basic recovery of 8.5%.

    Sugercane India Map

    [​IMG]
     
  6. .v0id

    .v0id FOUNDER Administrator

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    India is the largest producer in the world of milk, cashew nuts, coconuts, tea, ginger, turmeric and black pepper. It also has the world's largest cattle population (281 million). It is the second largest producer of wheat, rice, sugar, groundnut and inland fish. It is the third largest producer of tobacco. India accounts for 10% of the world fruit production with first rank in the production of banana and sapota.

    India ranks second worldwide in farm output. Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry, logging and fishing accounted for 18% of the GDP in 2007, employed 70% of the total workforce and despite a steady decline of its share in the GDP, is still the largest economic sector and plays a significant role in the overall socio-economic development of India. Yields per unit area of all crops have grown since 1950, due to the special emphasis placed on agriculture in the five-year plans and steady improvements in irrigation, technology, application of modern agricultural practices and provision of agricultural credit and subsidies since Green revolution in India. However, international comparisons reveal that the average yield in India is generally 30% to 50% of the highest average yield in the world.

    Indian Punjab is called the "Granary of India" or "India's bread-basket." It produces 14% of India's cotton, 20% of India's wheat, and 9% of India's rice.
     
  7. NSG_Blackcats

    NSG_Blackcats Member of The Month OCTOBER 2009 Senior Member

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    Rice Farming, India​


    Rice is the principal crop grown in India, and the country ranks second only to China in world rice production. Much of the crop is used to feed the domestic population, as rice is the dietary staple for many Indians.

    [​IMG]

    Methods of Rice Cultivation in India

    The systems of rice cultivation in various rice-growing areas of the country are largely dependent upon the rice-growing conditions prevalent in the respective regions. The method of cultivation of rice in a particular region depends largely on factors such as situation of land, type of soils, irrigation facilities, availability of labourers intensity and distribution of rainfalls. The principal systems followed in India are:
    1. Dry or Semi-Dry Upland Cultivation
    2. Wet or Lowland cultivation

    Statistics
    [​IMG]

    India is the third largest exporter of rice despite a ban imposed in April 2008 . However, if one were to go by projections by the US Department of Agriculture, then Pakistan could overtake India to be the third largest rice exporter in the year 2009.

    Rice India Map

    [​IMG]

    More about rice farming in India
     
  8. SATISH

    SATISH DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    the per hectare yeild of crops is still less compared to other countries. Let us see what can be done about it.
     
  9. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Overseas demand for Indian bananas rising

    Exports have shot up by 89 per cent
    Surge in banana exports by 89 per cent during April-January 2008-09 fiscal suggest that the appetite for Indian bananas in the European and the Middle Eastern countries has increased.

    Upward trend
    The country’s banana exports have shot up by 89 per cent to 25,013 tonnes during April-January period of 2008-09 fiscal, compared to 13,207 tonnes in the corresponding period previous year, according to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).

    Good demand
    “It is for the first time that Indian bananas are in great demand abroad because of improved quality of the fruit,” an official with APEDA said.

    He further said that the increase in the shipment of bananas in 2008-09 clearly shows that there is a renewed demand for the fruit. Bananas are largely shipped to the European Union and the Middle Eastern countries.

    Exporters have taken extra care at every phase of cultivation to harvest the export-quality fruit. Some of them have tried contract farming, used organic inputs and have followed proper pre-harvesting procedures, he noted.

    Largest producer

    India, the world’s largest producer of banana, grows the fruit in about 16.47 lakh hectares of land across the country. Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Bihar are the major producing states. — PTI
     
  10. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    India: challenges in agriculture

    India: challenges in agriculture

    David M. Malone
    Is India facing a lasting crisis in agriculture and a serious threat to its food security? In a word, yes.

    Agriculture policy, driven by bursts of fear and enthusiasm, often shows politicians in a very poor light the world over: serving up short-term fixes for public worries over food security and pandering shamelessly to farm (and fishing community) voters.

    But does this lead to good policy to achieve lasting growth in output? Sadly, often not. No country has a monopoly on expensive, counterproductive and trade-distorting agricultural policy. The current World Trade Organisation (WTO) Doha Round has foundered repeatedly on the reluctance of the United States and the European Union to cut back on subsidies that have done so much to damage the agricultural interests of others. The U.S. stampede into biofuels only two years ago significantly undermined international stocks. Even my own country, Canada, one of the world’s most efficient grain and livestock producers, maintains a system to prop up the prices of dairy and poultry products, leaving hapless consumers to face some of the most expensive milk, eggs and butter in the world.

    India was once at the apex of international achievement in agricultural innovation. Drawing on a wide variety of international grain types, pioneers of high yielding hybrid seeds, notably M.S. Swaminathan, were able to achieve in the 1960s and 1970s a real “green revolution” in India, boosting agricultural productivity impressively and making the country fully self-sufficient in its main food requirements for the first time in modern history. Scientific innovation was supported by energetic policy at the Union and State levels to achieve one of the world’s most striking agricultural successes of the 20th century. But then, as so often with success, a purposeful policy dissolved into politicking and piecemeal implementation.

    Unsupported by rigorous policy, excess use of fertilizers, unsustainable use of water resources encouraged by free or subsidised electricity for farm pumps led to soil degradation and depletion of sub-surface aquifers. This occurred at a time when an expanding population, the first hints of the consequences of climate change and a sudden spike in agricultural commodity prices in 2007-2008 linked to lower international grain stocks and a sharp rise in commodity prices, notably oil, provided an unwelcome reminder to Indians that all was not well with the agricultural policy. What ensued was impulse buying on international markets at the same time as export of some items was prohibited (hurting mainly other developing countries, the industrialised world having cornered all the food it needed). One salutary measure offered by Delhi was the lowering of tariffs on some necessary international food imports but by November 2008, the government was again raising tariffs on some products (soya) in order to protect domestic producers.

    What do all these measures, taken together, amount to? Certainly not a coherent set of policies to raise productivity over several decades. Rather, as elsewhere in the world when governments face similar pressures, they smack of political expediency and improvisation.

    Is India facing a lasting crisis in agriculture and a serious threat to its food security? In a word, yes. There is no reason for short-term panic. India remains in good years capable of meeting its main needs and simultaneously of earning sizeable sums from agricultural exports. Rather, it is the combination of Indian demographics with the growing success of the country’s overall economy and environmental stress that create a challenge: increasingly prosperous Indians will be eating more (and probably wasting more also, as do middle classes everywhere).

    Global rice production has stagnated for the past 10 years, while the price has increased four-fold. President George Bush raised the ire of Indian commentators last year when he commented that the international food crisis was due to an expanding demand from India and China. Perhaps his mistake was not in differentiating between them: food consumption in China more than doubled after 1990. India’s consumption rose much more modestly, by roughly 30 per cent. But does anybody seriously believe that a significantly more prosperous India will avoid greater food consumption, including of meat (so expensive in grain to produce)?

    It may be instructive to take a short detour and consider the diverging path of early economic reforms in India and China. India’s key economic reforms of the early 1990s centred on liberalisation favouring the manufacturing and services sectors. These were tremendously successful but little was done for agriculture. China, on the other hand, starting its key reforms earlier, focussed first on agriculture, perhaps sensing that a dramatic drop in rural poverty might make other reforms more saleable politically to those sceptical of change.

    A fine article in Economic and Political Weekly by Shenggen Fan and Ashok Gulati in June 2008 traced the outlines of China’s revolutionary attempt, in the late 1970s, to raise agricultural production by encouraging multiple experiments at the local level, “learning by doing.” Only after it was clear what worked (and what did not), a process Deng Xiaoping described as “crossing the river while feeling the rocks,” did Beijing launch a full-bore nationwide reform process that succeeded dramatically in raising production and decisively reducing rural poverty. These are steps India still has not taken.

    That said, in the current global slowdown, rural India may be better equipped to absorb the shock than its highly privatised Chinese counterpart because of the wide range of Indian anti-poverty programmes constituting a fragile but hopeful safety net.

    Is improvement of productivity and nutrition a matter only of agricultural policy? Obviously not.

    As is well known but never ceases to surprise, India suffers from higher levels of child malnutrition than Sub-Saharan Africa. This is not because basic Indian foodstuffs are less nutritious than Africa’s. Canada’s global micro-nutrient initiative, co-funded by U.N. agencies and the World Bank, while making a significant contribution to fighting against malnourishment, stunting and wasting in India (all at heartbreaking levels, all with life-long effects) is not as successful as it should be. Why? Because of poor rural health, education and physical infrastructure (the latter inhibiting the free flow of foodstuffs that would naturally alleviate nutrition problems).

    Thus, “food security” relates to much more than agricultural incentives and disincentives. Wider national policies and programmes are at least as important. And yet, in spite (or perhaps because) of India’s vibrant democracy, admirably free and crusading press and dynamic civil society in constant contention with each other, little has been achieved in recent years.

    An early debate on climate change is beginning to take hold in India. Whether or not the Copenhagen Conference later this year produces a successor to the Kyoto protocol, India will need to take a number of steps now in the interests of its own food security.

    Canada and India share an unwelcome phenomenon: melting ice — lots of it, in Canada’s north and in the Himalayas. For India’s northern breadbasket, this portends shifts in water supply that could destroy the foundation of the country’s food self-sufficiency. Prudential steps need to be taken urgently to mitigate and adapt to the effects of these coming changes in water supply.

    The success of the U.S. and Canadian rural development model depended, within decades of the first European farming settlement, on creating non-farm rural jobs so that sub-division of farms and unemployment could be avoided. These jobs mostly related to servicing a growing agricultural sector and processing food, in order to get as much of it as possible to distant markets intact (a major challenge for India today with respect to fresh produce). Rather than misguided attempts to force rural migrants from urban settings they have reached in search of livelihoods, coherent government policies need to encourage good non-farm jobs in rural areas.

    As an enthusiastic and respectful friend of this great country, I hope that the next Parliament and government will tackle the full range of policies necessary to boost agricultural production and nutritional progress. India is not short of agricultural land. Per capita, it has as much as Italy and Germany, both highly efficient agricultural producers. It is not short of water: the monsoons, while sometimes disappointing, can be counted upon to reward sensible water management policies and programmes. Above all, India abounds in admirable human capital: optimistic, hard working, endlessly entrepreneurial. If any country can succeed in boosting world agricultural production, it should be India. But this will require a range of sound policies, determined implementation and a rebalancing of national attention to include more systematically and meaningfully rural interests and perspectives.

    (David Malone, a former Canadian High Commissioner to India, is President of Canada’s International Development Research Centre. These lines are drawn from a millennial lecture, endowed by The Hindu, he delivered at the M.S. Swaminathan Foundation in Chennai on January 23, 2008.)
     
  11. NSG_Blackcats

    NSG_Blackcats Member of The Month OCTOBER 2009 Senior Member

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    India's crops, shares at risk from monsoon woes​


    NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Forecasts of weak rains in the next five days and inadequate water in reservoirs have raised the risk to the country's cane and soybean crops, and fears of wider economic fallout could spook the stock market. India's weather office said on Friday rainfall would be meager in the main soybean region in central India, which has been unusually dry for more than 15 days and needs rains in the next few days to prevent crop damage. Government data also showed the seasonal rise in water level in reservoirs was slower than normal, raising the prospect of more power cuts with a drop in hydropower output. The water level at India's 81 main reservoirs, also important for irrigating winter crops such as wheat and rapeseed, had risen rapidly in the previous week.

    The country experienced its driest June in 83 years but rainfall was almost normal in July in most regions, except for the northern sugarcane-producing state of Uttar Pradesh, where most districts are in the grip of a drought. Monsoon woes mounted on Thursday after the weather office said rainfall in the past week was a third of the average, almost as bad as the worst week in June. Weak monsoon rains have hurt the cane crop and prospects of large imports by the world's top consumer of sugar have helped drive raw sugar futures to a 28-year high. The main stock index was trading down 2 percent by 0735 GMT on Friday after having fallen 2.5 percent the previous day, with last week's low rainfall damping sentiment, traders said. "Stocks in some sectors had gone ahead of the market, and investors are thinking it is a good time to take profits. The monsoon is also not progressing the way it should," said A.N. Sridhar, a fund manager at Sahara Mutual Fund.

    Annual monsoon rains are vital for India's 1.1 billion people although the share of agriculture in the gross domestic product has halved to 17.5 percent in the past three decades as manufacturing and services sectors expanded while farm output stagnated. But analysts say the monsoon is still crucial for India. "This is because nearly 55 percent of the labour force is employed in agriculture and only 42 percent of the area under major crops is irrigated," said Rajeev Malik at Maquarie Securities. Sectors such as tractors, motorcycles, mobile phones and fast-moving consumer goods could be adversely affected, he added. "India has been lucky with the July showers, but the current month remains uncertain," he said.

    Link
     
  12. NSG_Blackcats

    NSG_Blackcats Member of The Month OCTOBER 2009 Senior Member

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    Cotton Production in India​


    India grows all the four major types of cotton – G arboretum, G hirsutum, G herbaceum and G barbadense. The first hybrid in the cotton crop was developed in India, in Surat, by Dr C T Patel (H4 intra hirsutum in 1970) – more than 200 varieties and hybrids were evolved in the subsequent five decades. Hybrids occupy around 45% of cotton crop in India, as in 1998. Important landmarks in the Indian cotton history include the development and release of native hybrids like G cot DH 37, G cot DH 9, DDH 2 and drought tolerant straight varieties like SRT 1, Renuka, LRA 5166, Anjali and Rajat.

    India Cotton Map

    [​IMG]

    Statistical Details about Cotton Production in India
     
  13. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Ubergene Cometh

    GM crops may soon enter the market amid the safety vs productivity debate
    LOLA NAYAR
    Genetic Crops: Foods In The Pipeline

    [​IMG]
    Cotton

    Status: Being grown in over 80% of cotton acreage
    Impact: Cottonseed oil has already entered the food chain
    Brinjal

    Status: Large-scale field trials completed in 11 locations
    Impact: Data from field trials being reviewed, could get green signal soon
    Mustard

    Status: Slipped off the radar after biosafety concerns
    Impact: Research under way
    Maize

    Status: Contained safety trials likely to start, followed by field trials
    Impact: Insect-resistant variety could take 3-4 years
    Cabbage, Castor, Corn, Cauliflower, Okra, Tomato

    Status: At various stages of greenhouse and limited trials
    Impact: Insect resistant variety may take 3-4 yrs
    Potato, Groundnut

    Status: Confined trial stage
    Impact: Too early to say; research on to improve the nutrition content of potato
    Rice

    Status: Some varieties undergoing safety trials
    Impact: “Golden Rice” may take at least 4-5 years
    ***

    We don’t know if they taste any different



    “We are exploring the transgenic route to food security and tough crop varieties. There is no backtracking.”


    . But what we do know is they generate controversy and debate the world over—which will soon reverberate in India


    “There is scientific evidence from the lab and case studies of livestock which show harm from GM crops.”


    . That’s because the decision to go in for commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) foods (brinjal in this case) may come as early as the year-end. Until now, our exposure to GM foods—modified through transfer of genes across species to improve productivity—has been limited to cans of imported American corn and soybean products apart from edible oil sold without proper labelling. But this is the real thing: GM foods may soon land on our dinner table. Are we ready for it?
    So far, apart from 15 varieties of Bt brinjal, limited trials of several other edible GM crops like maize, okra, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato and potato have been conducted in the country since 2004. The government has set a three-year target to introduce some GM vegetables like tomato, brinjal and cauliflower—subject to approvals. “The fact is the decision could be just a few months away,” says an agitated Kavitha Kuruganti of Punjab-based NGO Kheti Virasat Mission. The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (geac), says Kuruganti, has set up a subcommittee to come to a decision on Bt brinjal developed by Mahyco (the Indian arm of the US seed major Monsanto).

    Striving to reassure all that the matter is still only under consideration, Dr Rajini Warrier, director and member secretary of GEAC, under the ministry of environment and forests, says, “The subcommittee may take three to four months to give its recommendations to the GEAC as it has to go through voluminous documents on health and environment safety besides data of field trials at 11 locations.” The caution mirrors a clear divide among agriculture experts. Many feel we are going too slowly on the transgenic route to food security; others fear for the impact on India’s rich biodiversity and consumer health. There is added concern on how to protect the farmers’ right to own and reuse seeds, as the new technology seeds could carry patent rights of private companies.

    Environment minister Jairam Ramesh is among those willing to keep an open mind on the subject while retaining the element of caution. He is willing to enhance public funding for this technology. “There is no point depending on Monsanto and other private companies for pushing this technology. We need to develop indigenous varieties of GM crops like the Chinese,” says Jairam. Clarifying that he is “not totally against GM crops but would not like to proceed in haste,” the minister expresses keenness to hasten the legislation for setting up a biotechnology authority (suggested by the Dr M.S. Swaminathan panel) as it would help set up clear rules and protocol for carrying out “field experiments and risk assessments by independent professionals and scientific experts”.

    Between 2002-08, GM cotton cultivation in the country has spread to about 80 per cent (or 7.6 million hectares) of the total acreage. India’s cotton production has doubled in this period, winning considerable official support for the GM route to enhancing productivity, but critics maintain it has come at a high cost. “Today in Vidarbha (a major cotton-growing region of Maharashtra), you cannot get any seeds of traditional varieties of cotton. It is not because farmers want it so but they are solely dependent on Mahyco for expensive seeds,” says Krishan Bir Chaudhary, president of Bharatiya Krishak Samaj. This dependence on MNCs is dangerous, feel experts, and would weaken India’s food security.

    Upset that their concerns about public health and environment is not being taken seriously, many groups are studying the rise in allergies in humans—as well as the decline in fertility and milk yield of cattle due to GM cottonseed cake feed. This, they feel, is important as the Bt brinjal developed by Mahyco contains the same Cry1Ac gene as in Bt cotton. “There is considerable scientific evidence, both from laboratory studies and case studies of livestock, which present overwhelming irrefutable evidence of harm from GM crops,” warns Jeffrey M. Smith, executive director of US-based Institute for Responsible Technology and author of Seeds of Deception.

    Proponents of the transgenic route say it improves crop productivity and staves off the impact of pests. “We are exploring the transgenic route to develop crop varieties that are resistant to drought, salinity, heat, water-logging, pests and fungus among other problems,” explains Mangala Rai, agriculture scientist and director general of ICAR. For instance, the Varanasi-based Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR) is in the process of developing transgenic tomatoes that are virus-resistant and in some cases even drought-resistant. Also in the works are transgenic cauliflower, gram and pulses in collaboration with other national research organisations.

    “Where there is no resistance to be found in the plant kingdom to such problems, the transgenic method is being tried,” says Dr Mathura Rai, IIVR’s director. So, in the case of brinjal, the Bt gene will provide protection against shoot and fruit borer infestation, which renders upward of 30 per cent of the fruit unmarketable and also affects productivity. For Ramapati Yadav, brinjal grower in Adalpura village in the vicinity of IIVR, the choice is clear: “If the institute can find a solution to our problem, why will we not grow it? As it is, we inhale poison while constantly spraying pesticides to protect our crop.”

    Unlike in the case of Bt cotton, the public-private partnership in Bt brinjal is expected to offer farmers alternatives to hybrids developed by Mahyco, which will require seed replacement every season. These are varieties being developed by three research institutes in the country—IIVR, Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, Coimbatore, and University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad—where farmers will be able to reuse the seeds. “From this year, the focus is on ensuring the biosafety of GM products developed in India and not just the agronomic performance per se of the hybrids developed,” says Bhagirath Choudhary of International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).

    This partnership between seed MNCs and research institutions has, however, failed to win over the critics. “The problem is we cannot say with confidence that nothing has happened with GM food crops in the US,” stresses P.M. Bhargava, the Supreme Court’s nominee on the GEAC, pointing to a rise in healthcare problems in the US. One of the pioneers of biotechnology in the country, Bhargava has recommended 29 safety tests before giving the green signal to any GM crop. Unfortunately, hardly four or five of these safety tests are being conducted. “We surely do not want the health of the entire nation to be put at risk for decades just so as to satisfy the greed of MNC seed companies,” Bhargava argues.

    As India looks to meet the needs of hungry millions, the question remains: is food safety not as important as targets for improving productivity? ICAR’s Rai says, “There is no backtracking as far as exploring the transgenic route to food security is concerned.” But unlike a car or a drug that can be withdrawn if found defective, what are the options if the GM experiment goes haywire? Well, a pinch of caution won’t change the taste.
     
  14. ajay_ijn

    ajay_ijn Regular Member

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    seems like its drought situation all over the country this year. food prices are already so high, how much more costlier will they get.

    Does govt has enough reserves to keep prices of food grains artificially low or atleast at present prices?

    how about trying to ban all futures trading on food products to avoid too much speculation.
    wonder why imports are not helping the situation.
     
  15. NSG_Blackcats

    NSG_Blackcats Member of The Month OCTOBER 2009 Senior Member

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    India has enough food stock to face this drought like situation in many parts of India. Govt. has already banned the export of rice. Vegetable price will remain a bit high. As we all know 30-40% of the vegetable produced by farmers are wasted due to lack of storage facility. It seems agriculture production will be down this year and it may bring down the GDP growth by 1%.
     
  16. NSG_Blackcats

    NSG_Blackcats Member of The Month OCTOBER 2009 Senior Member

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    Wheat Production in India


    India is today the second largest wheat producer in the whole world. Various studies and researches show that wheat and wheat flour play an increasingly important role in the management of India’s food economy. Wheat production is about 70 million tonnes per year in India and counts for approximately 12 per cent of world production. Being the second largest in population, it is also the second largest in wheat consumption after China, with a huge and growing wheat demand.

    Production area

    Major wheat growing states in India are Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Bihar. All of north is replenished with wheat cultivation. Wheat has a narrow geographic land base of production as compared to rice or pulses. Wheat is a temperate crop requiring low temperatures and most of the country is tropical.
    Growth promotional activities

    The total procurement of wheat ranges from 8 to 14 million tonnes, accounting for about 11 to 20 per cent of the total production. The government system handles only a small proportion of the total wheat production and private merchants handle the large proportion. Yet the support price operation and the PDS play a significant role in maintaining reasonable and stable food grain prices in the country for both the producers and consumers. India’s wheat production increase is driven principally by yield growth and by shift in production from other crops to wheat and an increase in cropping intensity. Among the major factors that affect yield, fertilizer use appears to have less effect in recent years while expansion in irrigated and high yielding variety (HYV) area seem to play a more important role in raising yield.

    India's Wheat Map

    [​IMG]
     
  17. NSG_Blackcats

    NSG_Blackcats Member of The Month OCTOBER 2009 Senior Member

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    Drought fears rise, soybean crop on brink​


    NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Fears of slower economic growth and lower yields of key crops rose in India on Tuesday as the weather office cut its monsoon forecast and the government said more than a quarter of districts were prone to drought. While many of these districts are not major crop producers, most sugarcane and soybean areas remain parched and total rainfall since June 1, the start of the four-month monsoon season has been 28 percent short of normal. The cane crop has fallen for the second straight year, and trade sources said India's sugar stocks on July 31 were 60 percent lower than a year ago, a bigger year-on-year decline than the 54 percent drop a month ago. Traders said the stock drop would raise local prices to a level that makes imports viable. The weather office, which initially predicted normal monsoon rains, has forecast widespread rains in central India, the main soybean-producing region that has seen virtually no rain in the past three weeks.

    The forecast will ease concerns of soybean producers and traders, who fear that crop yield may drop up to 7 percent if rains are delayed further. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said 161 districts were drought prone and sowing of crops was down 20 percent from last year. The minister's statement underscored growing government concern that a weak monsoon could reduce crop output and dampen economic growth already hit by a global downturn. The rain deficit since June 1 worsened to 28 percent at the weekend, raising fears that the season may turn out to be as bad as 2004, when summer crop output fell 12 percent after a drought. GDP fell to 7.5 percent that fiscal year from 8.5 percent in the previous year.

    The rains are vital for sugarcane, oilseeds and other crops, although the impact has been more severe for certain crops -- particularly rice -- than for many others. A feared shortfall in the sugar harvest has lifted global prices to near record highs. Mukherjee said the government was ready to manage a drought and a contingency plan was also in place. Weak monsoon rains have also dented Indian shares, which fell 5.6 percent over three days before recovering 0.4 percent on Tuesday.

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  18. NSG_Blackcats

    NSG_Blackcats Member of The Month OCTOBER 2009 Senior Member

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    Indian Farmers Injecting Oxytocin To Boost Plant Growth: Agriculture Ministry Enraged​


    The "cuddle chemical", or oxytocin, is being used by a large number of Indian farmers to boost the growth of pumpkins and cucumbers. However, the Indian Ministry of Agriculture is adamant on banning the practice, as "indiscriminate use of oxytocin may cause health hazards if taken through vegetables over a period of time". The use of oxytocin in farming has become prevalent in the Uttar Pradesh and Punjab regions in northern India. Oxytocin is known to affect social behaviour in humans, as well as facilitating birth and breastfeeding, reports New Scientist magazine.

    However, it is still unclear how this animal hormone might stimulate plant development. Plant experts at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden and Durham University, both in the UK, are sceptical of any claims that oxytocin improves plant growth and development. However, they have speculated that it may be mimicking an unidentified plant peptide involved in growth. "It is unlikely, but not impossible that there could be an effect in plants, but I seriously doubt that this would massively impact on crop yields in most situations," said Malcolm Hawkesford of Rothamsted Research. The Indian Government has previously taken action against the use of oxytocin in lactating animals to increase their milk production.

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  19. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Drought almost certain now, admits IMD

    Drought almost certain now, admits IMD - India - NEWS - The Times of India

    Certainly not good news for Indian Agriculture output and the economy in general. Agriculture output has to potential to swing the GDP by 2% either ways. Not good news in the times of recession.
     
  20. NSG_Blackcats

    NSG_Blackcats Member of The Month OCTOBER 2009 Senior Member

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    Assam farmers, hoping against hope​


    [​IMG]

    The drought situation across the country is worsening. In places like Assam, it is almost too late for crops, too late for farmers to cut their losses. But they don't have a choice, so they carry on working in their fields, hoping against hope. It is middle of August and Joykanta, a farmer, is yet to transplant the rice saplings. For days, in fact for months, the farmers have been waiting for some rain, which will allow them to transplant these saplings. In fact the saplings have passed their prime, which means they are not suitable for rice cultivation but they are taking an outside chance. Monsoon arrived in Assam by the end of May but the rainfall has been inadequate. Half of the cultivable land is still lying fallow mainly for lack of irrigation facilities.

    On an average, every family has about 10 bighas of land holding so with half of it not in use, they say that the cost of preparing the land and the deficit in production would result to a loss of around Rs 50,000 for each family, which is a lot of money. "There's no rain yet we are hoping against hope. Now we will face financial problems and food security. Some of us had to borrow money, how will we return that?" said Joykanta. Day pass without rains, and the farmers return with saplings, hoping for some rain.

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  21. NSG_Blackcats

    NSG_Blackcats Member of The Month OCTOBER 2009 Senior Member

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    India's granary being sucked dry?​


    A new study by American space agency NASA is going to add to the mounting worries of a failing monsoon in India. Using some sophisticated satellite images, the team has found that water table in northwestern India is depleting faster than it is being replenished. Using technology that measures changes in gravity, NASA noticed that it's underground water is falling at a rapid rate of four cm a year. And it's faster in some places than others. "We have animated the ground water storage variations based on GRACE observations. Blue means there is more ground water storage and red means there is less. Over the six years of the study we go from blues in the region to yellows to reds and that indicates we have lost quite a bit of water ground water over the course of six years," said Matthew Rodell, a NASA scientist.

    A drought like this year's only aggravates the situation. Farmers tend to use underground water a lot more to irrigate their fields as there's little rain. Cities are equally culpable because of an overuse of water. A report in Nature says the unsustainable rate of drawing water will mean severe water shortages and reduced agricultural productivity, which means India's granary is literally being sucked dry.

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