Gujarat agriculture department wins two national awards

Gujarat Government’s Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare Department has won two prestigious national awards, one under ambitious Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Yojna and the other for technological innovation in the agricultural sector.

The Central Government has announced the Best Performance Award under the Grievance Redressal Category to the tribal Dahod District under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) Scheme.

Similarly, FICCI has announced the Crop Area Estimation and Loss Assessment Award for Application of Geospatial Technology to the Gujarat Agriculture & Farmers Department.

Giving details of the awards, the state’s agriculture secretary Manish Bharadwaj said the PM-Kisan award has been announced on the eve of successful completion of two years of the Scheme for implementation in the States and Union Territories in three different categories. In all, 15 out of 718 districts have been selected for these awards.

Tea Production in India Decreases by around 10%; Led to Increase in Price

Due to extreme floods and coronavirus movement limits, Indian tea production in 2020 dropped 9.7 percent from a year earlier, boosting market rates by nearly a third to a record level, the state-run Tea Board said.

The price increase helped the besieged Indian tea industry, which was competing with increasing production costs, but decreased South Asian exports. India produced 1255.60 million kilograms of tea in 2020, declined by 9.7 percent when compared to the previous year as floods destroyed tea plantations in the northeastern state of Assam, which accounts for more than half of India’s total production; where production has already been reduced to curb the coronavirus epidemic through labour movement constraints.

As per data collected by the Tea Board, lower production raised average tea prices in 2020 by 31 percent from a year earlier to a massive 184.69 rupees ($2.53) a kg. Increased prices, however, have reduced India’s tea shipments, said a supplier in Kolkata. “Indian price rose but prices in rival Sri Lanka and Kenya didn’t go up. Buyers shifted to these 2 nations,” said the exporter, who refused to be named.

India, the second largest manufacturer of tea in the world, ships CTC (crush-tear-curl) category mostly to Egypt as well as Britain, shipping the traditional version to Iraq, Russia and Iran.

Sujit Patra, Secretary, Indian Tea Association, commented that the main tea generating north-eastern region of the nation has received strong rainfall during the last few months and that will lead to increased production in 2021.

“We are anticipating higher quality produce this year. Our import shipments are also expected to go up as major importing nations are emerging from COVID-19 that restricted their imports last year,” Patra said.

Shivraj Government Takes Big Decision for Farmers; Details Inside

Here is good news for Madhya Pradesh farmers. Amidst the ongoing farmers’ protest, Shivraj government is going to take a big decision. Under this, farmers could sell their wheat produce to private centers on the MSP. For this, permission will be given to open purchasing centers in the region.  

Private Purchasing Centres 

Till now, the procurement of wheat has been done by the State Civil Supplies Corporation and State Marketing Cooperative Union at support price (MSP). But now, the Mandi act is same as before, as Supreme Court has postponed the implementation of new laws. And now, the MP government is preparing to allow the private sector to open purchasing centers. Under this, if the trader wants to purchase the produce directly from the farmers, then they will have to take the license for that. 

As per the information, many traders including ITC Company are preparing to open private purchasing centers. If this happens, farmers will get increased benefits.  

Increased number of Procurement Centres 

Procurement can reach to 125 lakh ton because the opening of Mandis. As per the agricultural experts’ belief, this time wheat will be purchased at the rate of Rs. 1,975 per quintal. It is estimated that 20 lakh farmers will sell the wheat at MSP.

In Madhya Pradesh, crop registration process is going on, and crop purchasing will start from 15 March and will continue till 15 May. This time, 4,529 procurement centers have been set up all over Madhya Pradesh for wheat procurement. Around 4,13,000 farmers have registered for the purchase of wheat at MSP. At the same time, it is estimated that around 20 lakh more farmers can be registered till 20 February. And this is the reason that the government has increased the number of procurement centers this time compared to that of last time. 

Another important thing to mention is that, recently MP government has taken a decision to provide electricity subsidy to farmers directly in their accounts.  

Farmer in Bihar Cultivates World’s Costliest Crop ‘Hop-Shoots’

Do you know what is the most costly vegetable or crop in the entire world? Let’s know about this vegetable which has created lots of opportunities for farmers across the globe and is now making its debut in India.

The cultivation of the world’s costliest vegetable which is named as ‘hop shoots’ has recently started on a trial basis in Bihar’s Aurangabad district.  

Amresh Singh, 38, a farmer from Karamdih village under Navinagar block of Bihar’s Aurangabad district, is the first to start hop-shoots cultivation in 5 kathas of his land. 

Singh who is an intermediate-pass from Hazaribagh’s St. Columbus College in 2012 has recently said that if Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes a special arrangement for the promotion of cultivation of ‘hop-shoots’, it will make the farmers earn 10 times more than they can do by other means of agriculture within a couple of years. 

As per reports, ‘Hop-Shoots’(Humulus-lupulus) used to be sold for 1000 pounds a kg even six years ago in international markets which comes roughly to about Rs 1 lakh. The crop which is rarely seen in the Indian market can be bought only by placing a special order.

“I am happy to say that more than 60 per cent of its cultivation has happened successfully,” Singh said. The cultivation of hop-shoots (humulus-lupulus) is going on under the supervision of agricultural scientist Dr. Lal of the Indian Vegetable Research Institute at Varanasi. 

“I have planted the saplings of this vegetable two months ago after having brought it from the Indian Vegetable Research Institute at Varanasi. I hope it will be a grand success and turnaround agriculture in Bihar too,” Singh said. 

Hop-Shoots Cultivation: 

The farming of hop-shoots is mainly found in European countries like Britain, Germany, and others.  Earlier it was done in Himachal Pradesh but stopped since its marketing did not take off because of the high price.  

Amresh also told us that he also cultivates many other medicinal and aromatic plants.  

“In the farming sector, taking a risk with the self-confidence ultimately helps the farmer to win. I have taken the risk for experimenting with the cultivation of hop-shoot in Bihar and hope, it will set a benchmark,” he added. 


Good News for Farmers: NABARD to Provide Loan in Agri Sector

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Bihar has recently announced that it has prepared a Potential Linked Plan (PLP) for 2021-22 to facilitate credit flow to the agriculture sector in all 38 districts of the state.

Moreover, the chief general manager (CGM) Sunil Kumar on Wednesday said that the potential for credit flow has been assessed for each sector like crop, animal husbandry, dairy, poultry, fisheries, goat rearing, plantation and horticulture, farm Mechanisation, godowns and self-help group lending among others.

An aggregation of the projections will be presented in the state credit seminar scheduled on January 15, told Sunil Kumar to the media.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has adversely impacted the economy. The only silver lining is the performance of agriculture sector, which has witnessed positive growth during the first half of the current fiscal. Foodgrain production reached an all-time high and the higher sales of tractors and motorcycle indicate demand in rural areas,” he said.

“There are several gaps in the supply chains and resource management of the Agri sector, starting form input supply to post-harvest management, marketing, and credit supply. Banks need to actively provide credit for the agriculture sector in Bihar,” the CGM said.

Amid the corona pandemic, the bank provided refinance to commercial banks, regional rural banks and cooperative banks.

“We also provide loans to the state government at a concessional interest rate of 2.75% per annum. During 2020-21, NABARD has sanctioned projects worth Rs 1,833 crore so far, which is expected to create employment of about 1,90,000 man-days,” he said.

As per reports, projects related to rural drinking water supply, roads and water resources have been sanctioned. The total disbursement under RIDF during the current year was Rs. 1,605 crore.

“We have already surpassed the disbursement of Rs4,202 crore till date and hope to cross an aggregate credit support of Rs 5,000 crore by March 31, 2021,” he added.

Total disbursement by NABARD (refinance and RIDF) was Rs 4,147 crore last year, he said.

Why is Maize an Amazing Agri-product?

Maize, also known as corn, is an agricultural product that is loved by almost all human beings all over the world.

Maize was first cultivated in Central America and Mexico.  It is found not only in yellow but also in orange, red, blue, white, black, and purple colors.

Popularity and demand for maize

Maize by-products are widely produced and marketed. For example, sweet corn is a very popular food.  Sweet corn is also known as popcorn.  Similarly, corn oil, cornflour, and cornflower are among the daily necessities.

However, it is not found in the common cereals but in vegetable varieties.  Maize is a nutritious seed.  It is essential to include it in your daily diet as it is rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Corn is also a remedy for many health problems.  It is rich in folic acid and vitamin B12 which help in the production of red blood cells.

We all know that carbohydrates are a good source of energy for our body.  Corn is high in carbohydrates, so if you add it to your diet, you can easily get enough energy for your physical activities.

Lifestyle diseases such as high cholesterol and diabetes can be controlled by consuming sweet corn and corn oil, which increase blood flow to the body. It also slows down the absorption of cholesterol into the body. The presence of vitamin B1, B5 and vitamin C promote the formation of new cells in the body.  This is very beneficial for diabetics.

If pregnant women eat corn, it will be very beneficial for the baby.  In particular, corn helps to overcome birth defects.  Pregnancy is also a time when women suffer from constipation. Fiber-rich maize protects pregnant women from this condition.

Maize plays an important role in beauty enhancement as well as health care.  Vitamin C and lycopene in corn help in the production of collagen.  Collagen is the skin eliminates skin problems caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays. Studies show that corn oil and starch are good for increasing skin radiance.

You can become rich by cultivating Saffron

There are many different types of spices. They are all relatively expensive. But the spice of saffron is incomparably more expensive than most of these.

A kilogram of high-quality saffron costs $ 10,000. That is above Rs 7 lakh.  Saffron has been a popular spice for thousands of years and has been used as a spice, medicine and for color. One saffron bulb produces a single flower, which in turn yields just three spindly stigmas – the female part of the flower that makes up the spice. Each stigma has to be delicately plucked from the flower, requiring time and effort.   

At least 150 flowers are required to make one gram of saffron. One kilogram requires at least 150,000 flowers. But there are no special machines available for collecting these. Saffron blooms only for one week in a year. When other spices yield hundreds of quintals per acre, the saffron yields only about two kilograms. 

The Cultivation & Harvest of Saffron 

Saffronis collected from the blossoms of Crocus sativus commonly known as saffron bulbs. It is propagated by bulbs called corms. Each corm forms new bulbsfefe, and this is how the plant multiplies. Saffron flowers are harvested for the red stigmas popularly known as saffron threads, from which the spice is derived. The Crocus sativus grows in many different soil types but thrives best in calcareous, humus-rich and well-drained soil with a pH between 6 and 8.  

The fall-blooming, purple-flowered saffron crocus grows from a bulb-like structure called a corm.  When planting saffron corms for the first time, choose a fresh land, that is, no other tubers or saffron corms have ever been planted there before.  Before planting, make it sure to till the soil 20 to 50 cms deep to keep the sold loose and well-aired, incorporating organic fertilizer during the process. Watering the plants should be minimal once the corms started growing leaves. Planting is done in July, August and September either by hand or by machine, and harvesting comes at the end of October to mid-November, approximately eight weeks after planting.

Required precautions have to be taken against birds, rabbits, etc.  Corm rot, leaf rusts, nematodes, and other pathogens must also be prevented from affecting the saffron crocus plants. 

Generally, in the middle of October,saffron flowers begin to blossom, and the blooming lasts for about three weeks. An intensified blossoming takes place which last from two to six days. Blooms that appear during the night must be harvested at dawn the very next day. It is best to harvest blooms that are closed to ensure high-quality saffron threads. 

The quality of saffron varies depending on its maintenance, weather, and rainfall availability.  If the crop gets good rainfall, when the harvest season approaches, large flowers appear. But if the weather is dry at this time, the size of the flowers will be smaller. 

The highest quality saffron in the world is cultivated in Kashmir. Due to climate change, the production of saffron in Kashmir has declined significantly. However, the demand for saffron is increasing every year.  


What is ‘Rythu Bandhu’ Scheme and Who will get benefit from it?

K Chandrashekhar Rao Telangana’s Chief Minister announced that under the ‘Rythu Bandhu’ system, all farmers in the state would receive financial assistance from December 28.

A day after the Pragathi Bhavan review conference, Rao said that more than Rs 7,500 crore will be transferred directly to the bank accounts of around 6.14 million farmers. 

According to the chief minister’s office (CMO), the amount will be credited against 15.2 million acres of cultivated land at the rate of Rs 5,000 per acre for upcoming cropping season. Rao instructed the officials concerned to ensure that the value of the system is earned by each and every farmer in the state, the release said. 

He (Rao) said the assistance should start with farmers with less land holding and farmers with a broad holding scale and all farmers should receive the assistance within 10 days, the statement read. 

The officials also told the chief minister during the review meeting of the heavy losses caused by the government to the tune of Rs 7,500 crore due to the procurement of paddy, sorghum, corn, redgrams, sunflowers and Bengal grams. The officials claimed that while the government had bought them at the Minimum Support Price (MSP), they had to sell them on the market at lower rates, as there was no demand for such crops.

What is ‘Rythu Bandhu’?

The state-run scheme, formally known as the Agriculture Investment Support Scheme, aims to promote farmers’ lakhs to support farm investment each crop-sowing season. For the purchase of inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, chemicals, labor and other investments in the sector, the government offers financial assistance.

Under the scheme, for two seasons – Rabi and Kharif – every farmer in Telangana is expected to earn Rs 5000 per acre, which amounts to Rs 10,000 per year for an acre of cultivated land. The immediate deposit of money into the farmers’ bank account helps them to borrow the balance from the nearest post offices instead of travelling to cities and towns. Farmers can withdraw the sum through the micro ATMs accessible via thousands of post offices in rural areas of Telangana, according to the government website. 

PM Modi Flags Off “100th Kisan Rail” amid Farmer’s Protest

Amid the farmer’s agitation against central government’s three agricultural laws in the National Capital, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the 100th “Kisan Rail” from Sangola in Maharashtra to Shalimar in West Bengal on December 28 via video-conferencing, said PM office on Saturday.

As per reports, the multi-commodity train service will carry vegetables such as cauliflower, capsicum, cabbage, drumstick, chilli and onion as well as fruits like grape, orange, pomegranate, banana and custard apple, it added.

Moreover, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said, loading and unloading of perishable commodities will be permitted at all stoppages en route with no bar on the size of consignment, adding that the Centre has extended a 50-per cent subsidy on the transportation of fruits and vegetables. It provides a seamless supply chain of perishable produce,” it said.

Moreover, the launch of the Kisan Rail by PM Modi comes amid protests by a section of farmers against three farm laws near Delhi’s borders.


Arunachal Pradesh Launches Millet Cultivation Project in Siang district

In partnership with the Siang district agriculture department, the College of Horticulture and Forestry (CHF), Pasighat, has launched a ‘Millet Cultivation Scheme’ in the remote village of Riga in the Siang district.

Millets are generally grown at an altitude of 2,100 m in both tropical and sub-tropical areas. It is a heat-loving plant and the necessary minimum temperature for its germination is 8- 10 ° c. For proper production and good crop yield, a mean temperature range of 26-29 ° c during growth is best. It is cultivated in the 500-900 mm rainfall area.

The project, run by the Indian Institute of Millet Research (IIMR) in Hyderabad, is funded by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research to increase millet production in the northeastern region.

CHF (Agronomy) professor, Paban Kumar Gaudar, said the project’s aim is to popularize the production of millet in Arunachal Pradesh and make it clear to locals that the cereal can be eaten as a staple meal.

Millets, in addition to having anti-oxidant and anti-carcinogenic (cancer preventive) properties, is a cereal rich in protein and minerals.

The rich red soil and the atmospheric conditions in the Siang area are ideal for the cultivation of various millet varieties.

In the preparation of alcoholic beverages, the people of the Northeast use millets and therefore the government are working to make farmers aware that this is a staple food. They are also trying to make them understand that the commercial cereal crop cultivation is highly beneficial, said the Professor.

In Arunachal Pradesh, the project aims to increase the cultivation of millets to 70-80% of the total cropped area as before only only 20-30% of the total cropped area was used for millet cultivation.

In the first phase, the government aims to cover 30 hectares of cultivable land in seven selected districts said Paban Kumar Gaudar, the CHF (Agronomy) Professor.

A day-long training program on the cultivation of millets was also arranged, during which agricultural scientists taught farmers the economic significance of millets in terms of their nutritional and medicinal values.

During the training, the participants also learned about the production and healthy harvesting procedures of millets.