Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Grow your own organic vegetables in kitchen garden :

The State government is keen to promote kitchen gardens and terrace gardens among urban residents.— FILE Photo
The State government is keen to promote kitchen gardens and terrace gardens among urban residents.— FILE Photo
With a large quantity of vegetables sold in the city suspected to be laced with pesticides and chemicals, the Department of Horticulture has launched a programme to promote kitchen gardens and terrace gardens among households in urban areas.
As part of the comprehensive horticulture development programme taken up by the State government, interested residents will be trained to grow organic vegetables in their households in kitchen gardens or terrace gardens. They will also be provided vegetable seeds, implements, pots, and bio-fertilizer.
The State government is keen to promote kitchen gardens and terrace gardens among urban residents so that they can consume safe vegetables. “A large quantity of vegetables being sold in urban areas are laced with pesticides and chemicals. Many vegetables are sold before the post-harvest interval needed for the effect of chemicals to go away. Many pre-harvest and post-harvest practices are not followed properly, leading to sale of vegetables that are unsafe for consumption,” said C.R. Krishna Kumar, senior assistant director, Department of Horticulture, Mysuru.
Hence, citizens should make use of garden space in their houses or terraces to grow vegetables for their household needs, he said.
After receiving an encouraging response to a training programme last year, the Department of Horticulture is organising one more training programme shortly.
More than 1,000 applications were received last year, but barely 590 could be accommodated.
BOX No. 1
‘70,000 households consume Rs. 5 crore worth coriander and mint every year’
Laiqh A. Khan
Can you guess the amount of money households in Mysuru city spend on coriander and mint, the two staple ingredients used in a variety of cuisines?
Senior Assistant Director of Horticulture, Mysuru, C.R. Krishna Kumar told The Hindu that a study conducted by an NGO in Mysuru during 2012 showed that 70,000 urban households spent a total of Rs. 5 crore on buying coriander and mint every year.
If all the estimated 2 lakh households in Mysuru city is taken into account, they together spend about Rs. 15 crore on herbs alone. “If you take all the vegetables into account, residents of Mysuru City spend around Rs. 200 crore every year,” he said.
Box No. 2
Submit applications by October 9
Citizens of Mysuru interested in participating in the kitchen garden and terrace garden training programme should obtain the application form from the Department of Horticulture in Curzon Park and submit the filled-up form by October 9.
Applications should be accompanied by a photograph and address proof.
Two hundred and ninety four applicants each will be chosen for the kitchen garden and terrace garden programme separately. As fifty five slots each in both programmes are reserved for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes, candidates belonging to these categories should submit their caste certificate along with the application.
The early bird applicants will be chosen for the day-long training programme, whose date is yet to finalised. All the selected participants will be given a free kit containing seeds of vegetables like tomatoes, chillies, ladies finger, cow pea, field beans, etc. While terrace garden participants will be given 15 to 20 pots, a shovel and ten kg of bio fertilizer, kitchen garden participants will receive five kg of bio-fertilizer and sprayer. For more information, call 9986787739.

Source : The Hindu

Now, a mobile app for Kangayam cattle conservation :

To help farmers track the genetically pure cattle breed

Tracking a genetically pure Kangayam bull/cow for mating and identifying a genuine buyer for Kangayam cattle are now just an app away.
V. Sivakumar, an Indian-American engineer from Tirupur and his team regularly rescue Kangayam bulls from slaughter. He has introduced the mobile app as an extension of rescue/rehabilitation/conservation activities to improve breeding of genetically pure Kangayam cattle and ensure sales to only needy farmers.
He had recently launched 'Konga Goshala' to rehabilitate the Kangayam cattle,
“Both these steps are aimed at saving the Kangayam cattle from extinction. When it comes to sales, the app will help prevent the cattle from falling into the hands of middlemen who could resell the animal to slaughterers as the buyers too have to register first”, he told The Hindu .
The registration of names into the database is being done free.
Explaining its salient features, Mr. Sivakumar said that the app would function on Android based mobile phones and iPhones with Tamil as the language to enable farmers use it comfortably.
“Only those farmers having their addresses within the Kangayam tract that spreads over Tirupur and some adjoining districts, are allowed to join the group”.
The application enables a farmer to locate a bull which is near to their location for mating with the cow.
“For sales too, features are embedded to help buyers easily identify the cattle of their choice,” said Mr. Sivakumar.

The marketing of the app will be confined to within the farming community.

Source : The Hindu

Icrisat for partnership to benefit marginal farmers :

Partnerships, especially to further the adoption of scientific advancements that benefit the marginal farmer, was the recurring theme at the 73rd Governing Board meeting of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (IIcrisat) held recently in Hyderabad and New Delhi. Appropriate partnerships with the private industry were high on the agenda which included partnering with companies for their corporate social responsibility.
Highlighting the importance of partnerships, Dr. Chandra Madramootoo of Icrisat Governing Board said, “With a focus on strong partnerships and research for development, Icrisat is dedicated to elevate rural communities out of poverty, while improving their health”.
This was reiterated by Ms. K. Padmavati Annapurna, Director of the Mathesis Engineering Pvt. Ltd. (Food Products Division) during her presentation to the board at Icrisat headquarters.
“Our mission has been to provide food products in ready-to-eat and ready-to-make formats, using traditional and nutritious grains towards promoting health and nutrition. We have immensely benefitted from association with the Icrisat Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP), towards developing and commercialising the sorghum and millet based gluten-free “Smart Breakfast product”. “We look forward to the development of markets for new food products from the local crops, thus elevating the standard of living and well-being of rural communities,” added Ms. Padmavati.
Ms. Parvati Krishnan, programme manager, Coca-Cola Foundation, India, noted, “We are very fortunate to work with Icrisat on watershed improvement projects in Parasai and Chataarpurn villages of Uttar Pradesh. It allowed the Foundation to bring modern soil and water conservation technologies and agronomic research findings to thousands of men, women and children in impoverished villages in India.
Water scarcity
Highlighting the water scarcity issues, Ms. Meenakshi Sharma, Vice- President, Sustainability and Communications, SAB Miller, India said, “At SAB Miller, we are very excited about the outcomes of the project we are undertaking with Icrisat. Water scarcity is becoming a hugely limiting factor for food and fodder security. In this context, safe reuse of bio-refinery wastewater in agriculture assumes great significance”.
“Icrisat is committed to put in more efforts to engage strategically in areas where it can benefit the marginal farmer,” said Icrisat Director General Dr. David Bergvinson.

Icrisat Governing Board plans to elevate rural communities out of poverty with focus on 
strong partnership and research for development

Source : The Hindu

Commodity prices :

Garlic prices have risen over 50 per cent in the last one year. In the retail market in Chennai, garlic sells for ₹140/kg, up from ₹90/kg at the same time last year. The persistent increase in demand and bad monsoon rains which reduced supply this year, are reasons for the spike in prices. Last month, garlic was selling for about ₹120/kg.

Here are the prices of various commodities in Chennai.
Price scale is given as Rs./kg
CommodityQuantityNowYear ago
Rice1 kg2832
Wheat1 kg3230
Atta1 kg3032
Gram Dal1 kg7147
Tur Dal1 kg14586
Urad Dal1 kg12591
Moong Dal1 kg111101
Masoor Dal1 kg9575
Sugar1 kg3234
Milk1 ltr3727
Ground Nut Oil1 ltr124105
Sun flower Oil1 ltr9185
Gur (Jaggery)1 kg5049
Tea1 kg220220
Salt1 kg1817
Lime1 kg52100
Apple1 kg140120
Papaya1 kg3025
Pineapple1 kg4040
Pomegranate1 kg140100
Sapota1 kg5040
Banana1 kg3030
Bitter Gourd1 kg3028
Brinjal1 kg3232
Cabbage1 kg2016
Cauli Flower1 kg4040
Garlic1 kg14090
Ginger1 kg100120
Chilly1 kg3236
Onion1 kg6230
Potato1 kg2436
Tomato1 kg1816
*Source: Ministry of Consumer Affairs, National Horticulture Board.

Source : The Hindu

Winter school on groundnut begins :

The winter school currently under way at ANGRAU’s Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS) has provided a platform for the best of the brains to discuss the various aspects of groundnut, right from production, protection, crop management and further to post-harvest.
Twenty-five scientists from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand, all of them working on groundnut research and extension, have converged at the campus for the first-ever winter school to be conducted in the State post-bifurcation.
“Apart from conventional breeding, the event discusses the biotechnological approaches to ensure tolerance to drought, diseases and pests,” said RARS Associate Director T. Giridhara Krishna. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) gave its nod to the proposal forwarded by the Tirupati RARS, in view of its expertise and achievements in the field of groundnut research.
The interactive session will be brainstorming in nature, where the scientists present the farming, research and extension practices in vogue in their respective States and imbibe the inputs learnt from the forum.
“We are roping in experts from various fields to address the participants,” the course director V. Krishna Reddy added. The event concludes on October 15.
While it is groundnut research this time, the RARS is contemplating to hold a similar winter school next year on biotechnology, another promising area for the research station.
Twenty-five scientists from various States
have converged at the campus for the first-ever winter school being conducted in the State post-bifurcation

Source : The Hindu

Expect more rain today, tomorrow :

Upper air cyclonic circulation perched over Rayalaseema

Chennai might be cool and pleasant for two more days. The Meteorological Department forecasts that the day temperature, which was soaring beyond 36 degrees Celsius, will be around 34 degrees Celsius till Thursday. On Tuesday, murky sky and drizzle in several areas kept the temperature at 33.2 degree Celsius, lower than the average temperature for the month.
An upper air cyclonic circulation over Rayalaseema region will bring widespread rainfall over the State, it is predicted.
While a few stations in interior districts will get heavy rainfall, coastal districts, including Chennai, will experience rain or thundershowers in some areas for two more days.
The department has forecast that the temperature on the highways in Chennai and Puducherry will be 34 degrees Celsius and 33 degrees Celsius on Wednesday. People travelling on highways should be ready encounter rain or thundershowers.
S.R. Ramanan, Director of Area Cyclone Warning Centre, said easterly winds blowing over the city have changed the weather.
The weather system may bring rain or thundershowers in some areas.
“Southwest monsoon is still prevailing and it normally withdraws around October 15,” he said.
Some places in Tiruvallur, including Poondi and Tiruttani, recorded 3 to 5 centimetres of rainfall till 8.30 a.m. on Tuesday.
Since June 1, Chennai has received 407.7 mm of rainfall, lesser by 26.1 mm for the season. Similarly, Meenambakkam has recorded a rainfall of 427.8mm, which is deficit by 49 mm for the season. However, officials note that the rainfall deficit is minimal and it can touch the seasonal normal with another rain spell.

  • Interior districts in Tamil Nadu may get heavy rain
  • Rain brings down temperature in Chennai

  • Source : The Hindu

    Farmer producers undergo training in logistic work :

    Chief executive officers of farmers producers’ organisations in the State were being exposed to various aspects of logistics, bulk handling, aggregation of farmers, producer capital management, and communication efficiency in the business promotion activities during a three-day capacity building training which commenced here on Tuesday.
    The training is being organised by the Department of Social Sciences of Anbil Dharmalingam Agricultural College and Research Institute (ADAC&RI), Tiruchi, and Agro Marketing Intelligence and Business Promotion Centre (AMIBPC), Tiruchi.
    The training includes field visits for the participants to interact with the successful CEOs of farmers’ producers organisations and understand the intricacies involved in the business promotion.
    P. Pandiyarajan, Dean, ADAC&RI, stressed the need for taking market intelligence to farmers at the grass-roots level.
    S. Selvam, Executive Director, AMIBPC, Tiruchi, emphasised the need for focussing on sustainable business culture by chief executive officers.
    Jawaharlal, Dean of Horticulture College and Research Institute for Women, called upon participants to focus on high-value crops and overcoming production and marketing constraints.
    R. Chandrasekaran, Joint Director of Agriculture, elaborated on maximising profits and minimising wastage in agro produce.
    C. Sekar, Head, Department of Social Sciences, and B. Thiagarajan, Professor of Agricultural Extension, spoke.

    Source : The Hindu

    E-auction facility in 100 APMC yards across country by March :

    Farmers can directly market their produce without intervention of agents

    Emulating Karnataka’s initiative, the Centre will bring 100 Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) yards in 11 States under the e-market network by March 2016, in a bid to help them take up e-auctioning of commodities.
    Disclosing this to media persons on the sidelines of a workshop organised by the Karnataka Agriculture Price Commission (KAPC) here, Ashok M.R. Dalwai, Additional Secretary to Union Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, said the measure was part of the efforts to bring in a system of national agricultural market.
    In all, the Centre wants to link 585 APMC yards in the country under the e-market network, he said.
    The main intention was to break the monopoly of APMCs in the trading of agricultural commodities and widen the markets for farmers so that they could get remunerative prices for their produce, he explained.
    The Centre will release the software for e-auctioning of commodities on a pilot basis in December.
    Each of the chosen markets will be given a grant of Rs. 30 lakh to set up facilities for grading and testing for quality, Mr. Dalwai said. Farmers will have the option of directly marketing their produce without the intervention of APMC agents. But they can use the agents’ assistance if need be by paying the commission, he said.
    District irrigation plan
    Mr. Dalwai said 100 districts had been chosen for the implementation of Prime Minister’s Krishi Sinchana Yojana that aims at increasing water use efficiency.
    Under this project, a district irrigation plan will be prepared for the efficient use of water resources through various schemes, including watershed.
    He said soil health cards had been given to 9.5 lakh farmers of the total 14 crore in the country.
    In all, the Centre wants to link 585 APMC yards in the country under the e-market network. It aims to break the monopoly of APMCs in the trading of agricultural commodities and widen the markets for farmers so that
    they get remunerative prices for their produce
    Ashok M.R. DalwaiAdditional Secretary, Union Department of Agriculture and Cooperation

    Source : The Hindu

    “Women need to be trained in agro-tech” :

    Haryana Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor, K. S. Khokhar on Tuesday said that in view of the crucial role played by women in agriculture and livestock production, they should be imparted training to upgrade their knowledge and skills.
    For agricultural development, it was necessary that women stays updated with all the latest technologies in this field, he said while talking to a delegation of agricultural experts from Swaziland. The situation in Swaziland was not different from here as women folk there also contributed in agriculture equally to their male counterparts, Mr Khokhar said.
    The delegation which included seven agricultural officers and extension officers had been visiting the university since September 21 for training on good cultivation practices of maize.
    The Vice-Chancellor said the developing nations are still plagued by challenges posed by food security, malnutrition, poverty and unemployment and need to cooperate with each other to get rid of those problems.
    He said that Haryana Agricultural University had taken an initiative to share its improved and useful agricultural technologies with friendly nations.
    The gates of the university were open for the students from Swaziland who after getting education from here would build a strong human resource to boost agricultural production of their motherland, Mr Khokhar said.
    Chritopher M, a member of the delegation expressed gratitude for the training and said it would help increase production of maize, which though a staple crop of Swaziland, had much less yield than Haryana.

    Source : The Hindu

    IT firm promotes organic rooftop garden as stress buster for employees :

    S Dhanu Saranya, an accountant in an IT firm in the city, rushes to office on days when she has an inkling that the shoe flower plant is going to blossom. The plant is grown in the rooftop garden of the office. 

    An innovative idea of the IT firm has made its employees come to their workplace with anticipation sans Monday blues. All of them are eager to see what their latest love - a rooftop organic garden - has produced during the weekend. 

    Director of Elysium Technologies Pvt Limited Muthumari Ayyakannu said she and her partners, managing director K Sundaresh and Dhanalakshmi Sundaresh, had come up with the idea to start a rooftop garden on top of their office building in Anna Nagar six months ago as they felt that beautiful green plants would be the best stress-busters for their employees. 

    She said they were always concerned about the stress levels of their 150-odd employees. A green shade net was erected and they went in for organic cultivation of vegetables, flowers and fruits. 

    Every single employee was enthusiastic about the project from day one. They formed groups and took up turns to maintain the garden. They water, weed and fertilize the plants and tend to them caringly when their turn comes. 

    These tech-savvy youngsters also bring bags of kitchen waste and bottles containing water in which rice and vegetables were washed, so that it could be fed to the plants. 

    "Kitchen waste is good manure and we have been wasting it all these years and it is rewarding to see plants become robust and healthy with this natural diet,'' said an employee. 

    K Senthil Kumar, an employee, said an organic rooftop garden in a workplace has numerous benefits. 

    "If you set up a rooftop garden in your home, it would benefit only your family. But when we take these fruits and vegetables home, the message is spread among our neighbours who realize the goodness of organic fruits and vegetables,'' he said. 

    "I was thrilled when I saw a cucumber appear from the flower in the climber. It became a succulent cucumber one Monday,'' Dhanu Saranya said. 

    The employees also make their own concoctions with herbs like tulsi, Adathoda and Siriyanangai when someone in office has cough or fever for instant relief. 

    When season starts, guava and pomegranate plants also produce many fruits and employees wait with anticipation for their turn to pluck. 

    "These fruits and vegetables are tastier than the ones we buy in supermarkets,'' they said. 

    Muthumari said that they also allow their employees to bring their kids to office and visit 1,000 sq.ft garden. 

    "India is an agricultural country and we take this opportunity to create awareness among young children. Nowadays, most children get to see a tomato plant only on paper,'' she added.

    Source : Times of India

    Tuesday, September 29, 2015

    தமிழகத்தில் மழை தொடரும்

    தமிழகத்தின் உள் மாவட்டங்களில் கனமழை தொடரும் என்று சென்னை வானிலை ஆய்வு மையம் தெரிவித்துள்ளது.

    தென்மேற்கு பருவக் காற்று சற்று வலுவாக இருப்பதால் தென் தமிழகத்தின் உள் மாவட்டங்களில் பரவலாக மழை பெய்து வருகிறது என்று தெரிவிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.
    புதுக்கோட்டை மாவட்டம் மனமேல்குடியில் 9 செ.மீ., சிவகங்கை மாவட்டம் திருப்பத் தூர், கடலூர் மாவட்டம் தொழுதூர், திருவண்ணாமலை மாவட்டம் சாத்தனூர் ஆகிய இடங்களில் 8 செ.மீ., திருவண்ணாமலை மாவட்டம் செங்கத்தில் 7 செ.மீ., புதுக்கோட்டை மாவட்டம் கீரனூரில் 6 செ.மீ. நேற்று முன் தினம் பதிவாகியது. இதுதவிர கோவை, நீலகிரி, தேனி, தஞ்சாவூர், கிருஷ்ணகிரி, திண்டுக்கல், திருவள்ளூர், விழுப்புரம், விருதுநகர், வேலூர் உள்ளிட்ட பல மாவட்டங்களில் மழை பெய்துள்ளது.
    மேற்கு மத்திய வங்கக் கடலில் உருவான காற்றழுத்த தாழ்வு நிலை வலுவிழந்து காற்று மேல் அடுக்கு சுழற்சியாக கடலோர ஆந்திரம் அருகே நிலவுகிறது. இதனால் தமிழகத்தின் உள் மாவட்டங்களில் கனமழை தொடர வாய்ப்புள்ளது என்று வானிலை ஆய்வு மையம் தெரிவித்துள் ளது.___