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Punjab and MPs agriculture universities to sign MoU

Bhopal, 8th March, 2016:
An MoU would soon be singed between Jabalpur University of Madhya Pradsh and Punjab Agriculture University for exchange of agriculture techniques and research.
This was decided during discussions between Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his Punjab counterpart Shri Prakash Singh Badal at Ludhiana on Sunday.
Punjab's Deputy Chief Minister Shri Sukhbir Singh Badal also paid a courtesy visit to Shri Chouhan.
Earlier, the Chief Minister visited Punjab Agriculture University. Shri Chouhan.
He witnessed new researches in agriculture, development of varieties of mustard, drip irrigation, new varieties of mushrooms and their product, advanced agriculture implements and treatment of crop diseases.
Punjab's ACS Agriculture Shri Suresh Kumar, Agriculture Minister Sardar Tota Singh and university's Pro-Vice Chancellor Shri B.S. Dhillon were also present on the occasion.
The Chief Minister also witnessed an exhibition on the premises of the university. The university also gave presentations before Shri Chouhan.
The Chief Minister lauded activities of the university.

Empowerment of farmers by creating awareness about new agricultural technologies and to spread scientific temper is the need of the hour

Mr. Ranjan Mukherjee Additional Director General, Prasar Bharti, is inaugurating the media workshop on “communicating Science & Biosafety” Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University, in Bhopal today.
Empowerment of farmers by creating awareness about new agricultural technologies and to spread scientific temper is the need of the hour. While delivering the key note address at the regional media workshop on communicating Science and Bio safety for Media Personnel at Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, (MCNUJ&C) Bhopal today, Mr. Ranjan Mukherjee, Addl. Director General, Prasar Bharati said that the agricultural research results should go from lab to land so that the farming community will be benefited for increasing agricultural production.
Prof. B.K. khutiala, Vice Chancellor, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University, is inaugurating the media workshop on “communicating Science & Biosafety” Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University, in Bhopal today.
Water conservation and irrigation technologies and information about high yielding varieties are to be informed to the farmers by media by rationality, enquiry and method apart from content. 62 national agricultural universities and 642 Krishi Vigyan Kendras in India are doing a commendable work in agricultural research. Kisan Channel of Doordarshan started by the Prime Minister of India aims at agricultural science communication and educating the farmers about relevant agricultural technologies and providing scientific information for increasing the agricultural production. Kisan channel will be a pioneer in creating journalistic standards in scientific reporting. Radio, Television and Print Media are mass communication channels to create awareness about agriculture biotechnology and bio safety. While delivering the inaugural address, Prof. B.K. Kuthiala, Vice Chancellor of MCNUJ&C, Bhopal said that media plays a key role in communicating science to farmers in modern farming techniques and agriculture operations for benefiting the farmers.
Prof. B.K. khutiala, Vice Chancellor, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University, Mr. Ranjan Mukherjee Additional Director General, Prasar Bharti, and Dr. P.J. Sudhakar, ADG, PIB Bhopal are at the media workshop on “communicating Science & Biosafety” Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University, in Bhopal today.
The Green Revolution, India is a big success story in agriculture sector. The scientific innovations and research should be over-all welfare of society. Radio is a mass media which popularize the hybrid varieties of rice which was known as ‘Radio Rice’. Bio safety also includes saving the man from the mankind. Media should search for the truth and it should have a truthful reporting and objectivity. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. P.J. Sudhakar, Addl. Director General of PIB, Bhopal said that the government has taken several measures on bio safety which includes setting up of Institutional Bio Safety Committee on Recombinant DNA (IBSE), Review Committee on Genetic manipulation and Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee. The Bio safety regulatory system is governed by rules under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
Mr. Ranjan Mukherjee Additional Director General, Prasar Bharti, is addressing the media workshop on “communicating Science & Biosafety” Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University, in Bhopal today.
The biological warfare should not happen for the betterment of the society and world. The Cartagena Protocol for bio-safety of United Nations framed important guidelines for the biosecurity and biosafety. Indian parliament passed several legislations like Plant Varieties and Farmer’s Rights Act, Geographical Indications Goods Act and Bio-Diversity Act for fulfilling the obligations of UN Convention on bio-diversity. Prof. Geeta Bamezai of IIMC explained the objectives of the workshop.
Dr. P.J. Sudhakar, ADG, PIB Bhopal is addressing the media workshop on “communicating Science & Biosafety” Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University, in Bhopal today.
Dr. P. Sasikala, HOD, New Media Technology, MCNUJ&C welcomed the gathering. Dr. Anand Pradhan proposed the Vote of Thanks. The two day workshop is organized by Indian Institute of Mass Communication with the collaboration of Ministry of Environment & Forest and Climate Change. UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) and GEF (Global Environment Facility) are the international organizations that are associated with the project. Dr. Rayies Altaf, Project Coordinator of IIMC also participated in the workshop.

Price Stabilisation Fund

Union Agriculture Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh while inaugurating National Conference on The Department of Agriculture & Cooperation has approved the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF) as a Central Sector Scheme, with a corpus of Rs.500 crores, to support market interventions forprice control of perishable agri-horticultural commodities.
PSF will be used to advance interest free loan to State Governments and Central agencies to support their working capital and other expenses on procurement and distribution interventions for such commodities. For this purpose, the States will set up a revolving fund to which Centre and State will contribute equally (50:50).
The ratio of Centre-State contribution to the State level corpus in respect of North East States will however be 75:25. The revolving fund is being mooted so that requirements for all future interventions can be decided and met with at the State level itself. Central Agencies will, however, set up their revolving fund entirely with the advance from the Centre.
Procurement of these commodities will be undertaken directly from farmers or farmers’ organizations at farm gate/mandi and made available at a more reasonable price to the consumers. Initially the fund is proposed to be used for onion and potato only. Losses incurred, if any, in the operations will be shared between the Centre and the States.
Detailed guidelines for the scheme have now been approved and are available on the departmental website www.agricoop.nic.in .

Concerted Efforts Needed to Produce Clean Spices at Competitive Prices says Radha Mohan Singh

Union Agriculture Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh while inaugurating National Conference on Development and Export of Spices in Pusa campus, New Delhi today, said that concerted efforts are needed to produce clean spices at competitive prices in order to sustain India’s share in world market speaking on the occasion he said that. Spices farmers have been facing the problem of low productivity, fluctuating prices coupled with biotic and abiotic stress resulting in low farm income. However, efforts of diversification, unfolding of nutraceutical and health benefit of spices and farming system models have provided better opportunity for improving income from spices, he added.
Shri Singh said that ICAR-Indian Institute of Spices Research Calicut and National Research Centre on Seed Spices Ajmer have pioneered in developing a number of high yielding varieties and production technologies.
Shri Radha Mohan Singh said that Spices Board under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry has been spearheading activities for excellence of Indian spices with respect to quality and hygiene of high level. The Board functions as an important link between the Indian exporters and the importers abroad and supports Indian spices brand building amongst the importing countries which is really needed to realize the slogan of Brand India and Make in India, he added.
Referring to India’s status in World Spice Trade, Shri Singh said that the export earnings showed a spectacular growth during the period from 2005-06 to 2013-14 as the earning increased from 592.9 million US $ to 2267.67 million US $. The volume of spices exported increased from 350,363 metric tons in 2005-06 to 817,250 metric tons in 2013-14.
Shri Singh said that Spices have been playing an important role in the Indian agrarian economy as it accounts for 5% of the agriculture GDP of the country. The agro-climatic conditions in the country provide an ideal habitat for the natural growth of various spices. There is a long list of 75 spices grown in India but chillies, black pepper, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, coriander, saffron and cumin are commercially more important. Shri Singh said that today, India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of spices in the world.

PM urges fast-tracking of pro-farmer initiatives, chairs high-level meeting on PradhanMantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana

In yet another initiative aimed at benefiting farmers, the Prime Minister has asked concernedDepartments and Ministries of the Union Government to fast-track the Pradhan Mantri KrishiSinchai Yojana. Today's meeting follows yesterday's decision by the Union Cabinet, in whichamendments to the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, were cleared. The amendments include thepro-farmer step of bringing 13 most frequently used Acts for Land
Acquisition for the CentralGovernment Projects into the purview of the Land Acquisition Act, thus benefiting a largenumber of farmers whose land is acquired for such projects. Chairing a high-level meeting involving the Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources, RuralDevelopment, the Prime Minister called for a multi-pronged approach to the ultimate goal ofproviding irrigation for every farm through the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana. The Prime Minister noted that NREGA had been used over the past few years for creation andaugmentation of irrigation assets. He said that NREGA should be integrated with the overallplan of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana.
He also called for precise monitoring ofoutcomes in this regard. At the macro-level, the Prime Minister asked the Ministry of Water Resources to identify river-interlinking projects that could be immediately taken up. The Prime Minister called for comprehensive mapping and identification of water bodiesacross the country.
He said satellite imagery and 3D photography could be used to guidevillages to best possible sources of irrigation.
The Prime Minister has asked concerned departments to look into the possibility of identifyingprogressive farmers, who could take the lead in implementing water conservation andinnovative irrigation techniques.
The Prime Minister has also called for integrating water recycling projects of key towns andcities, to irrigation in nearby rural areas. He emphasized the importance of generatingconsciousness among people towards water conservation. The Union Minister for Water Resources, Ms. Uma Bharati, and the Union Minister forAgriculture, Shri Radha Mohan Singh, were present on the occasion.
INDIAN AGRICULTURE AT A GLANCE
* Agriculture continues to be the backbone of Indian economy.
* Agriculture sector employs 54.6% of the total workforce.
* The total Share of Agriculture & Allied Sectors (Including Agriculture, Livestock, forestry and fishery sub sectors) in terms of percentage of Gross Domestic Product is 13.9 percent during 2013-14 at 2004-05 prices. [As per the estimates released by Central Statistics Office]
* For the 12th Plan (2012-17), a growth target of 4 percent has been set for the Agriculture Sector
* As per the 4th Advance Estimates of Production of food grains for 2013-14, total food grain production is estimated to be 264.77 Million Tonnes.
GROWTH STRATEGY
In order to keep up the momentum gained during the 11th Plan and achieve the targeted growth rate of 4% during the 12th Five Year Plan as also the ensure focused approach and to avoid overlap, all the ongoing 51 schemes of the Department have been restructured into five missions viz. National Food Security Mission (NFSM), Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture Mission (MIDH), National Mission on Oil Seed and Oil Palm (NMOOP), National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), and National Mission on Agricultural

Extension & Technology (NMAET); five Central Sector Schemes viz. National Crop Insurance Programme (NCIP), Intergrated Scheme on Agri-Census & Statistics (ISAC&S), Integrated Scheme of Agriculture Marketing (ISAM), Integrated Scheme of Agriculture Cooperation (ISAC) and Secretariat Economic Service; and one State Plan Scheme viz. Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.
Recognizing the importance of Agriculture Sector, the Government during the budget 2014-15 took a number of steps for sustainable development of Agriculture. These steps include enhanced institutional credit to farmers; promotion of scientific warehousing infrastructure including cold storages and cold chains in the country for increasing shelf life of agricultural produce; Improved access to irrigation through Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichayee Yojana; provision of Price Stabilisation Fund to mitigate price volatality in agricultural produce; Mission mode scheme for Soil Health Card; Setting up of Agri-tech Infrastructure fund for making farming competitive and profitable; provide institutional finance to joint farming groups of “Bhoomi Heen Kisan” through NABARD; development of indigenous cattle breeds and promoting inland fisheries and other non-farm activities to supplement the income of farmers.
Details of the Initiatives are as follows:
* Rashtriya Gokul Mission
India ranks first among the world’s milk producing Nations are such 1998 and milk production peaked at 137.97 million tonnes in 2013-14. India has the largest bovine population in the world. The bovine genetic resource of India is represented by 37 well recognized indigenous Breeds of cattle and 13 breeds of buffaloes. Indigenous bovines are robust and resilient and are particularly suited to the climate and environment of their respective breeding tracts. Rashtriya Gokul Mission a project under the National Program for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development is being launched with the objective of conserving and developing indigenous Breeds in a focused and scientific manner. The potential to enhance the productivity of the indigenous breeds through professional farm management and superior nutrition, as well as gradation of indigenous bovine germplasm will be done with an outlay of Rs. 550 crores.
* Rail Milk Network
In order to promote Agri Rail Network for transportation of milk, overs have been placed by AMUL and NDDB on behalf of Dairy Cooperative Federations for procurement of 36 new Rail Milk Tankers and will be made available by Railways. This will help in movement of milk from milk surplus areas to areas of demand providing dairy farmers with greater market areas.
* An allocation of Rs. 50 crore for development of indigenous cattle breed has been provided.
* ‘Blue Revolution’ for development of inland fisheries being initiated with a sum of Rs. 50 crore
* Target for providing institutional agricultural credit to farmers during 2014-15 has been enhanced to Rs. 8 lakh crore which is expected to surpass.
* Agriculture credit at a concessional rate of 7% with an interest subvention of 3% for timely repayment will continue during 2014-15.
* An allocation of Rs. 5,000 crore for 2014-15 has been made for scientific warehousing infrastructure for increasing shelf life of agricultural produce and thereby increasing the earning capacity of farmers.
* A higher allocation of Rs. 25,000 crore has been made to the corpus of Rural Infrastructure Development Fund during 2014-15 which helps in creation of infrastructure in agriculture and rural sectors.
* An initial corpus of Rs. 4,000 crore is being created to set up long term rural credit fund in NABARD to give a boost to long term investment credit in agriculture.
* For ensuring increased and uninterrupted credit flow to farmers and to avoid high cost market borrowings by NABARD an amount of Rs. 50,000 crore during 2014-15 has been made for Short Term Cooperative Rural Credit (STCRC-refinance fund).
* To improve access to irrigation, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichayee Yojana has been initiated with a sum of Rs. 1,000 crore in the year 2014-15.
* To mitigate price volatility in the agricultural produce a sum of Rs. 500 crore has been provided for Price Stabilization Fund.
* Government has initiated a scheme for Soil Health Card for every farmer in a mission mode with an initial allocation of Rs. 100 crore in 2014-15.
* An additional amount of Rs. 56 crore has been made to set up 100 mobile soil testing laboratories countrywide.
* National Adaptation Fund for climate change has been established with an initial allocation of Rs. 100 crore.
* To protect landless farmers from money lenders 5 lakh joint farming groups of Bhoomiheen Kisan will be financed through NABARD in the current financial year.
* A Kisan TV - Channel dedicated to agriculture will be launched with the initial allocation of Rs. 100 crores in the current financial year.
* An initial allocation of Rs. 200 crore has been allocated for establishing Agriculture Universities in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan and Horticulture Universities in Telangana and Haryana.
* An allocation of Rs. 100 crore has been made in the current financial year for setting up of two institutions of excellence in Assam and Jharkhand which will be at par with Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa.
* An allocation of Rs.100 crore is made for 2014-15 for setting up Agri-tech Infrastructure Fund with a view to increasing public and private investments in agriculture and making farming competitive and profitable.
* Various initiatives taken by Government to support agriculture and allied sectors is to sustain the growth rate at 4%.
* In order to increase profitability for small and marginal farmers, Rs. 200 crore has been earmarked for setting up of 2000 Farmer Producer Organisations.
* Wage employment under MGNREGA will be mainly used for more productive asset creation substantially linked to agriculture & allied activities.
* Sum of Rs. 14,389 crore for Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana for 2014-15 which will improve access for rural population including farmers.
* With a view to promoting farmers and consumers interest setting up of a national market will be accelerated by encouraging States to modify their APMC Act and other market reforms.
* With a view to develop commercial organic farming in the North Eastern Region a sum of Rs. 100 crore has been allocated.
Central Government recognizes and discharges its responsibility to assist State Governments in overall development of Agriculture sector.
Effective policy measures are in position to improve agricultural production and productivity and address problems of farmers. State Governments are also impressed upon to allocate adequate funds for development of agriculture sector in State plan, as well as initiate other measures required for achieving targeted agricultural growth rate and address problem of farmers.

Year end Review for the Ministry of Agriculture for the Year 2014-15

The Immediate challenge to the Ministry of Agriculture when the new Government had taken over, was to sustain the increasing agricultural output of the country in the face of impending deficit rainfall in this year 2014-15. All the requisite preparatory measures were made in coordination with the State governments to have the District-wise contingency action plans in place and to bring in flexibility in the various schemes in order that the States are enabled to cope with any desired changes in the Approved Action Plans for tackling the situation arising out of deficit rainfall.
With the perspective the Central Research Institute for Dry Land Agriculture (CRIDA) in collaboration with State Agricultural Universities and the State Governments has prepared crop contingency plans in respect of 576 districts across the country. Further, all necessary and appropriate steps have been taken to meet the seed and fertilizer requirement and to disseminate information and on suitable farming practices to be followed in such a situation.
INDIAN AGRICULTURE AT A GLANCE
* Agriculture continues to be the backbone of Indian economy.
* Agriculture sector employs 54.6% of the total workforce.
* The total Share of Agriculture & Allied Sectors (Including Agriculture, Livestock, forestry and fishery sub sectors) in terms of percentage of Gross Domestic Product is 13.9 percent during 2013-14 at 2004-05 prices. [As per the estimates released by Central Statistics Office]
* For the 12th Plan (2012-17), a growth target of 4 percent has been set for the Agriculture Sector
* As per the 4th Advance Estimates of Production of food grains for 2013-14, total food grain production is estimated to be 264.77 Million Tonnes.
GROWTH STRATEGY
In order to keep up the momentum gained during the 11th Plan and achieve the targeted growth rate of 4% during the 12th Five Year Plan as also the ensure focused approach and to avoid overlap, all the ongoing 51 schemes of the Department have been restructured into five missions viz. National Food Security Mission (NFSM), Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture Mission (MIDH), National Mission on Oil Seed and Oil Palm (NMOOP), National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), and National Mission on Agricultural

Extension & Technology (NMAET); five Central Sector Schemes viz. National Crop Insurance Programme (NCIP), Intergrated Scheme on Agri-Census & Statistics (ISAC&S), Integrated Scheme of Agriculture Marketing (ISAM), Integrated Scheme of Agriculture Cooperation (ISAC) and Secretariat Economic Service; and one State Plan Scheme viz. Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.
Recognizing the importance of Agriculture Sector, the Government during the budget 2014-15 took a number of steps for sustainable development of Agriculture. These steps include enhanced institutional credit to farmers; promotion of scientific warehousing infrastructure including cold storages and cold chains in the country for increasing shelf life of agricultural produce; Improved access to irrigation through Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichayee Yojana; provision of Price Stabilisation Fund to mitigate price volatality in agricultural produce; Mission mode scheme for Soil Health Card; Setting up of Agri-tech Infrastructure fund for making farming competitive and profitable; provide institutional finance to joint farming groups of “Bhoomi Heen Kisan” through NABARD; development of indigenous cattle breeds and promoting inland fisheries and other non-farm activities to supplement the income of farmers.
Details of the Initiatives are as follows:
* Rashtriya Gokul Mission
India ranks first among the world’s milk producing Nations are such 1998 and milk production peaked at 137.97 million tonnes in 2013-14. India has the largest bovine population in the world. The bovine genetic resource of India is represented by 37 well recognized indigenous Breeds of cattle and 13 breeds of buffaloes. Indigenous bovines are robust and resilient and are particularly suited to the climate and environment of their respective breeding tracts. Rashtriya Gokul Mission a project under the National Program for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development is being launched with the objective of conserving and developing indigenous Breeds in a focused and scientific manner. The potential to enhance the productivity of the indigenous breeds through professional farm management and superior nutrition, as well as gradation of indigenous bovine germplasm will be done with an outlay of Rs. 550 crores.
* Rail Milk Network
In order to promote Agri Rail Network for transportation of milk, overs have been placed by AMUL and NDDB on behalf of Dairy Cooperative Federations for procurement of 36 new Rail Milk Tankers and will be made available by Railways. This will help in movement of milk from milk surplus areas to areas of demand providing dairy farmers with greater market areas.
* An allocation of Rs. 50 crore for development of indigenous cattle breed has been provided.
* ‘Blue Revolution’ for development of inland fisheries being initiated with a sum of Rs. 50 crore
* Target for providing institutional agricultural credit to farmers during 2014-15 has been enhanced to Rs. 8 lakh crore which is expected to surpass.
* Agriculture credit at a concessional rate of 7% with an interest subvention of 3% for timely repayment will continue during 2014-15.
* An allocation of Rs. 5,000 crore for 2014-15 has been made for scientific warehousing infrastructure for increasing shelf life of agricultural produce and thereby increasing the earning capacity of farmers.
* A higher allocation of Rs. 25,000 crore has been made to the corpus of Rural Infrastructure Development Fund during 2014-15 which helps in creation of infrastructure in agriculture and rural sectors.
* An initial corpus of Rs. 4,000 crore is being created to set up long term rural credit fund in NABARD to give a boost to long term investment credit in agriculture.
* For ensuring increased and uninterrupted credit flow to farmers and to avoid high cost market borrowings by NABARD an amount of Rs. 50,000 crore during 2014-15 has been made for Short Term Cooperative Rural Credit (STCRC-refinance fund).
* To improve access to irrigation, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichayee Yojana has been initiated with a sum of Rs. 1,000 crore in the year 2014-15.
* To mitigate price volatility in the agricultural produce a sum of Rs. 500 crore has been provided for Price Stabilization Fund.
* Government has initiated a scheme for Soil Health Card for every farmer in a mission mode with an initial allocation of Rs. 100 crore in 2014-15.
* An additional amount of Rs. 56 crore has been made to set up 100 mobile soil testing laboratories countrywide.
* National Adaptation Fund for climate change has been established with an initial allocation of Rs. 100 crore.
* To protect landless farmers from money lenders 5 lakh joint farming groups of Bhoomiheen Kisan will be financed through NABARD in the current financial year.
* A Kisan TV - Channel dedicated to agriculture will be launched with the initial allocation of Rs. 100 crores in the current financial year.
* An initial allocation of Rs. 200 crore has been allocated for establishing Agriculture Universities in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan and Horticulture Universities in Telangana and Haryana.
* An allocation of Rs. 100 crore has been made in the current financial year for setting up of two institutions of excellence in Assam and Jharkhand which will be at par with Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa.
* An allocation of Rs.100 crore is made for 2014-15 for setting up Agri-tech Infrastructure Fund with a view to increasing public and private investments in agriculture and making farming competitive and profitable.
* Various initiatives taken by Government to support agriculture and allied sectors is to sustain the growth rate at 4%.
* In order to increase profitability for small and marginal farmers, Rs. 200 crore has been earmarked for setting up of 2000 Farmer Producer Organisations.
* Wage employment under MGNREGA will be mainly used for more productive asset creation substantially linked to agriculture & allied activities.
* Sum of Rs. 14,389 crore for Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana for 2014-15 which will improve access for rural population including farmers.
* With a view to promoting farmers and consumers interest setting up of a national market will be accelerated by encouraging States to modify their APMC Act and other market reforms.
* With a view to develop commercial organic farming in the North Eastern Region a sum of Rs. 100 crore has been allocated.
Central Government recognizes and discharges its responsibility to assist State Governments in overall development of Agriculture sector.
Effective policy measures are in position to improve agricultural production and productivity and address problems of farmers. State Governments are also impressed upon to allocate adequate funds for development of agriculture sector in State plan, as well as initiate other measures required for achieving targeted agricultural growth rate and address problem of farmers.

AgriCon 2014 Conference on Farm Mechanization & Post Harvest Technologies

I take pleasure in informing that the Tamil Nadu Technology Development & Promotion Center of CII is organizing the third edition of AgriCon 2014: Conference on Farm Mechanization & Post Harvest Technologies on 19th December 2014 at Hotel Hilton, Chennai.
In the context of increasing commercialization of agriculture, farm mechanization has been helpful to bring about a significant improvement in agricultural productivity. The factors that justify the strengthening of farm mechanization in the country can be numerous. The present trend in agricultural mechanization is for high capacity machines through custom hiring and for contractual field operations. The pace of farm mechanization in the country accelerated with the manufacture of agricultural equipment by the local industries. However, mechanization of horticulture, plantation crops and commercial agriculture is yet to be introduced in the country. In future this calls for developing appropriate technologies for mechanization.
The conference attempts to support this growth and understand the trends in farm mechanization and post harvest management. The conference aims to focus on key growth parameters like technology innovation, new products, new markets, next-generation technology, & implications for allied industries.
We have invited Thiru. Agri SS Krishnamoorthy, Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture, Government of Tamil Nadu to deliver the Inaugural Address at the conference Inaugural Session. Prominent speakers already confirmed includes
· Mr. Rajesh Lakhoni, IAS, Secretary & Agricultural Production Commissioner, Government of Tamil Nadu
· Mr. A Padmasingh Isaac, Chairman & Managing Director, AACHI Group of Companies
· Mr. Menahem Kanafi, Consul General of Israel – Bengaluru
· Mr. TR Kesavan, Chief Operating Officer, TAFE Limited
· Mr. KVSN Raju, President, ELICO Limited
· Mr. Sirish Batchu, Head - Infotronics Technology & Advance Electronics, Automotive & Farm Sectors, Mahindra & Mahindra
· Dr. S Narayanan, Senior Vice President, Jain Irrigation Systems Limited
· Mr. Gopinath Koneti, Executive Vice President & Head - South India, Food & Agribusiness Strategic Advisory & Research, YES Bank Limited
· Mr. Ashok Nair, Vice President – Operations, RML
· Lt. Col. Venkat Bollapragada, Associate Vice President & Zonal Head-South, Kirloskar Brothers Limited
· Mr. D Jayavijayan, Managing Director, Southern Agro Engines (P) Limited
· Mr. Prabhu Shankar, Managing Director, IAC Agro Engineering (P) Limited
Prominent speaker have been already invited includes Mr. Ashish Bahuguna, IAS, Secretary, Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture; Dr. K. Alagusundaram, Deputy Director General (Agricultural Engineering), ICAR; Mr. Satish Nadiger, Managing Director & CEO, John Deere India Private Limited; Mr. Sridar Narayanswami, Managing Director,
Emerson Climate Technologies; Dr. Lakshmi Narayanan, Whole Time Director, TStanes & Company Limited; Mr. Anil kumar Menon, Managing Director, GEA Farm Technologies; Mr. Rakesh Malhotra, Managing Director, New Holland Fiat (India) Pvt. Limited; Mr. Dinesh Khanna, Director (Marketing & Sales), KSB Pumps Limited; Mr. P Sudhir Kumar, Vice President, Frick India Limited; Mr. Harbans Lal, Director, Pennwalt; Mr. Ramachandran Sridhar, Whole Time Director, SHRIRAM Capital Limited; Mr. Randhir Chauhan, Managing Director, Netafim Irrigation India Pvt. Limited; Mr. Gurmeet Singh Grewal, Country Head, Kubota Agricultural Machinery India Pvt. Ltd
The conference aims to cover the key areas in the following sessions:
· Session I Water and Soil Management
· Session II: Emerging Technologies in Mechanized Agriculture
· Session III: Structure and Control Environment Technology
· Session IV: Smart Farming
Around 200 senior management personnel representing Industry leaders & senior executives of leading manufacturers of agriculture machinery companies, ICT Companies, agro based companies, agricultural universities, central universities and labs, fresh produce exporters; progressive farmers; retail chains and government agencies are expected to attend this conference.
I am writing you to invite you to participate and also nominate senior colleagues from your organization to attend this important conference. Please confirm your participation / nominations by completing the enclosed registration form and sending it to us by fax/email at the earliest.
Click here to register online : http://tntdpc.com/agricon_2014/register.php
For more details about conference registration and sponsorship please contact Mr. Hariharan TP @ Mob. 09788790347 / hariharan.tp@cii.in I look forward to your participation.
With regards,
S Chandramohan
Conference Chairman – AgriCon 2014 President & Group CFO TAFE Limited

SOIL CONSERVATION ENABLES INCREASING AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION

Bhopal, 5th Dec’14: Soil is linked to everything around us and performs many important roles in sustaining life on Earth. All soils support biomass production, whether it is natural vegetation or planted for agriculture and forestry. From the smallest seedling to the largest tree, all land-based vegetation depends on soil to provide them with nutrients, water and root support. In turn, this vegetation supports animal life on land. Soil and water quality are very closely linked and, to a significant extent, soil properties determine water quality. As water passes through soil it is filtered and purified which helps to generate clean and wholesome groundwater. Soil organic matter is an extremely important component of soil. It improves nearly all soil properties (e.g. moisture retention, soil structure, drainage, nutrient storage) and therefore plays a vital role in many functions of soil. Afforestation programmes will help to avoid soil erosion. Contour bunding is one the methods for effective soil conservation. World Soil Day is celebrated on 5th December across the year every year.
Soil biodiversity
Soil biodiversity refers both to the relationship of soil to biodiversity and to aspects of the soil that can be managed in relation to biodiversity. Soil biodiversity relates to some catchment management considerations. Biodiversity and soil are strongly linked, because soil is the medium for a large variety of organisms, and interacts closely with the wider biosphere. Conversely, biological activity is a primary factor in the physical and chemical formation of soils. Soil provides a vital habitat, primarily for microbes (including bacteria and fungi), but also for microfauna (such as protozoa and nematodes), mesofauna (such as microarthropods and enchytraeids), and macrofauna (such as earthworms, termites, and millipedes). The primary role of soil biota is to recycle organic matter that is derived from the "above-ground plant-based food web". Soil is in close cooperation with the wider biosphere. The maintenance of fertile soil is "one of the most vital ecological services the living world performs", and the "mineral and organic contents of soil must be replenished constantly as plants consume soil elements and pass them up the food chain". The correlation of soil and biodiversity can be observed spatially. For example, both natural and agricultural vegetation boundaries correspond closely to soil boundaries, even at continental and global scales.
Effects of climate change on soil
Although the earth’s climate has been slowly evolving over millions of years, rapid changes have occurred in recent times due to the activities of humans. Climate change is now recognised as something which is affecting all our lives. Soil is a part of the natural world that is both affected by and contributing to global warming. Soil is the one of the largest sources of carbon in the world. It is primarily accumulated through plants which ‘fix’ the carbon from carbon dioxide in the air; the soil then directly absorbs the carbon as the plants decay. Additionally, dead leaves and animals are broken down by microbes in the soil and carbon is accumulated. The change in temperature and rainfall patterns is also damaging the physical structure of soils. The organic matter in particular is being affected, its balance being crucial to the nutrient balance of the soil, its stability, the amount of water it can hold, and the populations of soil organisms. Additionally, the changes are likely to leave some soils more vulnerable to damage by erosion.
Soil quality
Soil quality is a measure of the condition of soil relative to the requirements of one or more biotic species and or to any human need or purpose. According to the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, "Soil quality is the capacity of a specific kind of soil to function, within natural or managed ecosystem boundaries, to sustain plant and animal productivity, maintain or enhance water and air quality, and support human health and habitation." The European Commission's Joint Research Centre defined that "Soil quality is an account of the soil's ability to provide ecosystem and social services through its capacities to perform its functions under changing conditions." Soil quality reflects how well a soil performs the functions of maintaining biodiversity and productivity, partitioning water and solute flow, filtering and buffering, nutrient cycling, and providing support for plants and other structures. Soil management has a major impact on soil quality.
Factors for deterioration of soil quality
Soil quality is at risk from a number of threats driven by a range of man-made and natural pressures including climate change, land use change and land management practices. Human activities have changed the character and quality of our soils over time. We have destroyed protective vegetation cover and have kept soil bare for long periods of time. We also actively add nutrients and pesticides to soils and cover them with housing and infrastructure. All of these activities can impair, or even destroy, the ability of soil to carry out its essential functions. Climate change is a long-term change of weather patterns including temperature, wind and rainfall. Global warming is enhanced by human activities that increase atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases that trap the sun’s heat and warm Earth’s surface. Sealing is the permanent covering of soil with hard surfaces such as roads and buildings. The impacts that the sealing of soils can have are- loss of all soil functions; loss of high quality agricultural land; loss of natural habitat; increased flood risk by making run-off more rapid and peak discharge greater; habitat fragmentation. Compaction is the process by which soil particles are forced closer together reducing soil porosity. This is caused by heavy machinery traffic and, to a lesser extent, by animals trampling on wet soils.
Soil erosion and nutrient Losses
Soil erosion is the washing or blowing away (by wind or water) of the top layer of soil (dirt). This is a serious problem for people who want to grow crops. Crops are the foods that farmers grow. If the soil has eroded, the crops will not grow very well. Soil erosion was a big problem in the Midwestern United States in the 1930s dust bowl. Erosion also leaves large holes in the earth, which can weaken buildings and even cause them to collapse. Soil erosion can be conserved in several ways. Planting wind breaks can be effective. A wind break is a line of plants that are planted to stop or slow the wind. A thick row of bushes planted next to a field of plants can stop the wind from blowing the soil away. This method also helps against water erosion, as the soil gets caught up against the roots of the bushes, rather than washing away. Terrace farming can also be effective. Terraces are level places that have been made by people on hill sides. People can cut level sides into the side of hills to create a place to grow crops. If the crops are growing on a slope, then one should plant them in lines that run across, the slope, rather than up and down. So, if the slope goes downhill to the south, then the plants should be in rows that run from east to west. To prevent decomposition the government can put up groynes (wooden planks) along the beaches, or they could build sea walls against the cliffs. 5% in Australia is caused by rainfall. Contour bunding is a proven sustainable land management practice for marginal, sloping, and hilly land where the soil productivity is very low. Farmers use a multi-step process to promote the formation of rough terraces along contour lines on sloping land. First the vegetation on the shifting cultivation plot (mostly fodder and forage trees and bushes) is cut down and the leaves and small twigs removed from the branches by slashing. All the material is left on the surface to dry. The leaves and twigs gradually decompose. After a few weeks, the remaining dry material is rolled into bundles and arranged along contour lines. The material is anchored with pegs, stones, and (where possible) tree stumps. This is the beginning of the contour bund. The farmers then incorporate the remaining leaf litter and decomposed organic matter into the soil between the bunds and plant crops. Over time, as the soil gradually deposits above each bund and is eroded below, rough terraces are formed. The process is labour intensive and farmers need to regularly check and maintain the bunds to allow the soil to collect.
Agriculture and Soil Health
Agriculture and other users of land are challenged to develop strategies for sustainability that conserve non-renewable natural resources such as soil. Much attention has been paid in recent decades to mitigating soil erosion through physical conservation measures and to providing supplementary nutrients and water to meet crop needs. Less consideration has been paid to the soil as a dynamic living resource, although its condition is vital to both the production of food and fibre and to global balance and ecosystem function. The quality and health of soil determine agricultural sustainability, environmental quality and as a consequence of both plant, animal and human health. A healthy soil has the ability to perform or function according to its potential, and to change over time due to human use and management or to natural events. Soil health is enhanced by management and land-use decisions that consider the multiple functions of soil and that take into account that soil is a living organism. Without maintenance of biodiversity, the soil's capacity to recover from natural or anthropogenic perturbations may well be reduced. Similarly, maintenance of the soil's capacity to perform functional processes, such as those associated with nutrient cycling and the breakdown of organic matter, is important in order to sustain plant growth in the long-term.
Impact of synthetic fertilizers
Agriculture has relied on the use of natural fertilizers -- substances that increase the nutrient levels of soil for most of human history. Synthetic fertilizers made an entrance at the end of the 19th century and paved the way for modern agricultural production. Their use increased crop yields and brought on an agricultural revolution, the likes of which the world had not seen before. Synthetic fertilizers continue to have far-reaching effects, both positive and negative, and are likely to remain a part of human life for some time to come. Synthetic fertilizers have long-term negative effects. Synthetic fertilizers kill beneficial microorganisms in the soil that convert dead human and plant remains into nutrient-rich organic matter. Nitrogen and phosphate-based synthetic fertilizers leach into groundwater and increase its toxicity, causing water pollution. Fertilizers that leach into streams, rivers, lakes and other bodies of water disrupt aquatic ecosystems. Synthetic fertilizers increase the nitrate levels of soil. Plants produced from such soil, upon consumption, convert to toxic nitrites in the intestines. These harmful nitrites react with the hemoglobin in the blood stream to cause methaeglobinaemia, which damages the vascular and respiratory systems, causing suffocation and even death in extreme cases (when blood methaemoglobin level is 80 percent or more). Synthetic fertilizers damage the natural makeup of soil in the long term. Plants that grow in overly fertilized soil are deficient in iron, zinc, carotene, vitamin C, copper and protein.
Organic Farming Helping Soil Health
Organic farming relies heavily on the natural breakdown of organic matter, using techniques like green manure and composting, to replace nutrients taken from the soil by previous crops. This biological process, driven by microorganisms such as mycorrhiza, allows the natural production of nutrients in the soil throughout the growing season, and has been referred to as feeding the soil to feed the plant. Organic farming uses a variety of methods to improve soil fertility, including crop rotation, cover cropping, reduced tillage, and application of compost. By reducing tillage, soil is not inverted and exposed to air; less carbon is lost to the atmosphere resulting in more soil organic carbon. This has an added benefit of carbon sequestration which can reduce green house gases and aid in reversing climate change. Plants need nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as micronutrients and symbiotic relationships with fungi and other organisms to flourish, but getting enough nitrogen, and particularly synchronization so that plants get enough nitrogen at the right time (when plants need it most), is a challenge for organic farmers. Crop rotation and green manure ("cover crops") help to provide nitrogen through legumes (more precisely, the Fabaceae family) which fix nitrogen from the atmosphere through symbiosis with rhizobial bacteria. Intercropping, which is sometimes used for insect and disease control, can also increase soil nutrients, but the competition between the legume and the crop can be problematic and wider spacing between crop rows is required. Crop residues can be ploughed back into the soil, and different plants leave different amounts of nitrogen, potentially aiding synchronization. Organic farmers also use animal manure, certain processed fertilizers such as seed meal and various mineral powders such as rock phosphate and green sand, a naturally occurring form of potash which provides potassium. All together these methods help to control erosion. In some cases pH may need to be amended. Natural pH amendments include lime and sulfur, but in the U.S.A. some compounds such as iron sulfate, aluminum sulfate, magnesium sulfate, and soluble boron products are allowed in organic farming. Integrated Nutrient Management
Integrated Nutrient Management refers to the maintenance of soil fertility and of plant nutrient supply at an optimum level for sustaining the desired productivity through optimization of the benefits from all possible sources of organic, inorganic and biological components in an integrated manner. The main concept of INM is to provide regulated nutrient supply for optimum crop growth and higher productivity, improvement and maintenance of soil fertility and zero adverse impact on agro – ecosystem quality by balanced fertilization of organic manures, inorganic fertilizers and bio- inoculants.
Vermicompost
Vermicomposting is the process of turning organic debris into worm castings. The worm castings are very important to the fertility of the soil. The castings contain high amounts of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium. Castings contain: 5 times the available nitrogen, 7 times the available potash, and 1 ½ times more calcium than found in good topsoil. Several researchers have demonstrated that earthworm castings have excellent aeration, porosity, structure, drainage, and moisture-holding capacity. The content of the earthworm castings, along with the natural tillage by the worms burrowing action, enhances the permeability of water in the soil. Worm castings can hold close to nine times their weight in water. “Vermiconversion,” or using earthworms to convert waste into soil additives, has been done on a relatively small scale for some time. A recommended rate of vermicompost application is 15-20 percent. Vermicompost is nothing but the excreta of earthworms, which is rich in humus and nutrients. We can rear earthworms artificially in a brick tank or near the stem / trunk of trees (specially horticultural trees). By feeding these earthworms with biomass and watching properly the food (bio-mass) of earthworms, we can produce the required quantities of vermicompost.
IISS
The Indian institute of Soil Science (ICAR-IISS) was established on 16th April, 1988 at Bhopal with a mandate of “Enhancing Soil Productivity with Minimum Environmental Degradation”. In order to accomplish the mandate of the institute, it has given the priority to soil health related issues faced by farmers and other stakeholders. IISS has emerged as a leader in basic and strategic research on soils in the country. It has achieved significant success in the areas of integrated nutrient management, impact on soil under long-term cropping, technology for preparation of enriched composts, soil test based nutrient prescriptions, generation of district-wise GIS based soil fertility maps, organic farming practices, carbon sequestration in soils, sink capacity of soils for heavy metal pollutants, recycling of wastes, soil microbial diversity and biofertilizers, quality standards for municipal solid waste composts etc. The institute has to take up the emerging challenges of increasing food-grain production and ensuring food and nutritional security from shrinking land resources, characterizing and conserving large soil-biodiversity for appropriate deployment in agriculture, achieving self reliance in crop fertilization through indigenous mineral and by-product sources, developing efficient technologies for waste recycling, maintaining soil quality and ecological balance, and developing energy efficient agriculture and sequestering carbon by reorienting it's research pursuits addressing the emerging issues viz., enhancing nutrient and water use efficiency; sustaining soil and produce quality; soil biodiversity and genomics, climate change and carbon sequestration; minimizing soil pollution etc.
* World Soil Day is celebrated on 5th December across the year every year.

FARMER WELFARE FUND WILL BE CREATED
Shivraj Singh Chouhan
CM of MadhyaPradesh Reviews Agriculture development and Farmer welfare department.

 
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