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India Agriculture & Organic News

Vidarbha meltdown: bumper crop losses

As winter chill sets in, Vidarbha farmers are beginning to feel the heat of massive losses, besotted as they are by worries over the hungry months ahead. ?It?s the worst crop year I?ve ever seen,? notes farmers? leader Vijay Jawandhia. Jaideep Hardikar reports.

He did not wait for the government?s new sop

Shattered by a complete failure of crop this year, and looming debt, the three-acre farmer in Yavatmal, Mahrashtra, followed what tens of other farmers have done in Vidarbha in the past. Jaideep Hardikar reports.

From market yard to the police yard

Fertilizer shortages have sparked unrest across large swathes of rural Maharashtra and other States as well. In Washim, every constable and officer is deployed right within the police compound, distributing fertilizer. P Sainath reports.

One-man-army greens barren land

This 58-year-old illiterate farm labourer has developed irrigated farming at a hilltop in the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka. His hard work, vision and never-say-die attitude have turned the land around and he now advises visiting farmers. Shree Padre reports.

Supreme Court to look into deregulation of GM food imports

Following Gene Campaign's challenge to the government's decision to withdraw all existing regulatory oversight over the import of genetically engineered foods, the Supreme Court has issued notices to the Centre, writes Suman Sahai.

Natural farmers of Punjab

During the last four to five years, the soil in several parts of Punjab has been regenerated and rejuvenated. Natural farmers are convinced it is working. The movement is led by experienced farmers who believe in Guru Nanak's tenet of Sarbat da bhala (well being of all). Umendra Dutt writes about the transformative work hundreds of farmers are doing.

Our food, our farmers

The Association for India?s Development (AID) celebrated Gandhi Jayanti (2 October) this year with an ?Our Food, Our Farmers? global vigil organised at 18 locations across India and 39 locations in the United States. An IN-PICTURES feature.

Protection at home, preaching abroad

In clear disregard for the ongoing multilateral negotiations, the United States is attempting to protect its already heavily fortified agriculture further. The House of Representatives passed the US Farm Bill 2007 in July, proposing 286 billion dollars of support for American farmers over the next five years. Devinder Sharma on the implications.

Life on credit, death in installments

Four years, three men, one family. The tragedy unleashed by the agrarian crisis on the family of Deshmukhs in Katyar village of Vidarbha isn?t vanishing. Jaideep Hardikar reports.

Relief cows are milking Vidarbha farmers

The Maharashtra government claims that a huge transformation is taking place in Vidarbha; the milk collection has risen 37 per cent. Distressed farmers, who were given the 'princely' cows as relief, feel otherwise. Jaideep Hardikar does a reality check.

GEAC's poor record of regulation

How does one countenance a regulator that does not adhere to the law of the land? The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, says Bhaskar Goswami, itself needs to be regulated to ensure it plays a balanced role.

Fresh water scarcity demands fresh ideas

A growing world population has led to rising demand for fresh water to ensure a growing supply of food and to meet rising nutrition demands. Where will this water come from? A new publication co-sponsored by CGIAR sheds some light on the narrowing options. Sudhirendar Sharma reviews the report.

"I need my land, not money."

Deprived of their lands, unable to find any kind of work, the female sharecroppers of Singur are today looking at bleak days ahead. Government compensation may come, but it may be too little and a poor substitute for a life-sustaining livelihood. Aparna Pallavi has more.

The Malnad mela

No matter which way India's seed policies are heading, the underlying purpose of Malnad's home garden program as a community conservation initiative for the preservation of genetic diversity, organic agriculture, health and ecologically sensitive livelihoods remains undiluted. Keya Acharya reports from northern Karnataka.

Devinder Sharma: Weeding out wheat

Claiming highest quality standards in the world when it comes to its own agricultural imports, the United States has no qualms in exporting sub-standard wheat to India. US participation in India's wheat procurement cannot be at the cost of India softening quarantine standards, says Devinder Sharma.

Burning down standing surgarcane crops

Farmers in Datodi village in Yavatmal, Mahrastra, turned to sugarcane when the Chief Minister, Vilasrao Deshmukh, called on the debt-ridden cotton farmers of Vidarbha to shift to the sweet cane last year. They are now paying the price, reports Jaideep Hardikar.

Maharashtra's sugar cooperatives face a downturn

Maharashtra's sugar cooperatives helped raise hundreds of thousands of farmers out of high-risk choices, and brought a measure of economic security to the sugar belt. But over the years, big farmers have hijacked the original premise of the cooperative movement, and the prosperous past is now fading. Gagandeep Kaur reports.

Fungus threat to Indian wheat advancing

Stem rust, the worst of the three rusts that afflict wheat plants, has made a comeback. Wheat crops in Africa have been at its mercy and the fungus has already broken into the middle-east. India is directly on its parth, scientists predict. Sudhirendar Sharma has more.

Cooking numbers as agrarian volcano builds up

Using a deviously devised method, Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh is claiming that 75 per cent of Vidarbha farmer suicides are not due to indebtedness at all. Meanwhile, the toll has crossed 250 this year and is rising. Jaideep Hardikar reports.

Under pressure, India makes U-turn

At a two-day international seminar on "Saving Doha and delivering on development" that concluded at New Delhi on 13 March, India's Commerce Minister Kamal Nath provided ample evidence of India's willingness to go along with the rich and industrialised countries. The writing is on the wall, says Devinder Sharma.
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