he Madhya Pradesh government has declined to give no objection certificate for field trials of two genetically modified seeds — chick pea and mustard — in the State
The Madhya Pradesh government has declined to give no objection certificate for field trials of two genetically modified seeds — chick pea and mustard — in the State due to doubts over adverse impact of those crops on humans, animals, biodiversity and environment.
The decision over-rules the permission granted for such trials by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee under the Central Government in August.
The trials are for testing the bio-safety of the two new crop varieties.
The new chick pea seed promises to increase productivity by preventing damage to crops by podborer pest.
Yield loss in chick pea due to this pest is estimated at 21 per cent. The seed has been developed by the Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants.
The new mustard variety is the first-ever hybrid version of the crop developed indigenously. It was developed by the Delhi University’s South Campus and had been given to Delhi-based Sungro Seeds for field trial.
Expressing dismay, a senior official in the Central Government’s Department of Biotechnology said it was unfortunate as the new varieties could have helped increase the production of the two crops significantly in the country.
Flood of oranges in fruits market, onset of winter in north India help lower prices
Farmers cite flood of oranges in the fruits market and onset of winter in north India as the major reasons for the fall in prices of pineapple.
Pineapple farmers in the State are reeling under an unprecedented price fall. The best of Vazhakkulam pineapple is now selling for Rs.14 a kg (A grade raw fruit) in the wholesale market. Farmers say that unless they realise Rs.18–20 a kg for the fruit, their finances will take a big blow.
The onset of the winter in northern India, heavy rains in upcountry cities and towns and the flood of oranges in the fruits market this season are instrumental in bringing down the prices so drastically.
According to Pineapple Farmers’ Association president Jose Kalappura, increased production was one of the other reasons for the fall in prices. He said that production was higher by about 10 per cent this season.
Higher production is reflected in the market arrivals going up to about 1,200 tonnes a day.
A member of the Pineapple Farmers’ Association said that northern India had been experiencing heavy rains since cyclone Hudhud hit the East Coast, cooling demand for fruits in general. Pineapple from Kerala is exported to Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai in large quantities, he added.
“With production costs so high, prices have never fallen so low,” said Baby John, a farmer in Moovattupuzha.
He said that prices had been falling continuously for about a month-and-a-half now with little intervention from State agencies entrusted with the task of supporting farmers in times of trouble.
However, Mr. Kalappura said that Vazhakkulam Agro and Fruit Processing Company, a government enterprise engaged in processing pineapple and other fruits, had promised to procure pineapple from farmers at Rs.18 a kg. The company was expected to start its procurement drive within a fortnight, he said.
It is expected to go a long way in augmenting food production
Seeking a solution:N. Perumal, a progressive farmer of Puliyankurichi, explains his views at the farmers’ grievances meeting, in Salem on Friday.- PHOTO: E. LAKSHMI NARAYANAN
The farmers’ representatives who participated in the monthly farmers grievances day meeting held here on Friday made a forceful plea for a separate budget for agriculture, both at the state and national level.
C. Vaiyapuri, president, United Farmers Association of Tamil Nadu, who set the ball rolling, said that a ruling BJP MP, while speaking in the Lok Sabha recently, had demanded a separate budget for agriculture.
The MP had also demanded priority for organic farming. His demand was totally justified and the government should come forward to present a separate budget for agriculture, which will go a long way in augmenting food production. His demand was supported by other farmers.
N. Perumal of Puliyankurichi condemned the decision of Karnataka to construct two new dams across river Cauvery. He pleaded for a resolution urging Karnataka Government to do away with this move.
He said that plantain crop had been affected by some disease and pleaded with the agriculture department to take effective steps to check the same.
Mr. Perumal said that the TANGEDCO is announcing monthly load shedding for undertaking maintenance work on the week days. This affected the works in the government offices, banks etc.
S. Govindarajan of Ammanpalayam said that the agriculture department was giving figures of widespread rainfall in the district in the recent past. In reality, the district has got very minimum rainfall. Many parts of the district are reeling under severe drought conditions.
Providing exaggerated figures on rainfall received will harm the farming community, as the government may refuse to implement drought relief measures citing good monsoon.
A. R. Shanmugam of Panaimarathupatti and S. Jayaraman of Abinayam supported the view of Mr. Govindaraj.
Even while the Deputy Director of Agriculture clarified that he was only mentioning the figures provided by the Meteorological Department, K. Maharabushanam, Collector, said that 64 system tanks and their water sources were renovated in all the 16 blocks in the district under the MNREGS. But only one system tank had received adequate water in the recent rainfall.
Mr. Govindaraj expressed serious concern at the falling price of tapioca. Last year the tapioca farmers got bumper crop. But this year it is totally opposite. The price of tapioca has fallen drastically from Rs. 430 to Rs. 210 per point. The situation will only worsen if this trend continued for another month. In a similar situation in the early 1990s, the then Central regime intervened and procured tapioca from the farmers and stored it in its cold storages. It marketed the same when price increases. Similar arrangement should be made this time too, he added. Mr. Jayaraman urged the Collector to convene a special meeting for fixing the price of tapioca.
Steps will be taken to fill all 168 tanks, says PWD
S.Ganesh, District Collector, advised farmers to insure their crops at the farmers’ grievances day meeting held in Pudukottai on Friday.
Farmers of tail-end areas of the Grand Anicut canal ayacut have urged the district administration to ensure adequate supply of water to save the standing ‘samba’ crop.
Raising the issue at the monthly farmers’ grievances day meeting held here on Friday, a cross section of the farmers also wanted all the tanks to be filled up through assured supply in the canal.
Initiating the discussion, M.Madhavan, district secretary, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, said the district did not receive adequate rainfall over the past few weeks. The suspension of water release from the Mettur Dam on account of rains in the delta region had resulted in the poor realisation of waters, he said. An official from the Public Works Department assured that steps would be taken to fill all 168 tanks.
G.S.Dhanapathy, district chairman, Farmers’ Forum of India, said that steps should be taken for interlinking the Cauvery and Kundar rivers. Appavu Balandar, a farmer, said that district administration should take steps for removing ‘karuvel’ trees from tanks.
When Arunodhayan, a farmer, pleaded for extending the deadline for insuring the crop, K.V.S. Kumar, Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies, said the State government had already been apprised of the farmers’ demand in this regard.
S.Ganesh, District Collector, who presided over the meeting, said that 1,427 tonnes of DAP, 577 tonnes of urea, and 1,589 tonnes of potash had been stocked at cooperative societies and private shops for timely supply to farmers. Against the normal 829.40 mm of rain for the 11 months till November this year, the district has registered only 606 mm this year. He appealed to ‘samba’ farmers to utilise the crop insurance scheme to protect their crop.
Collector asks panchayat chiefs to remove acacia trees from waterbodies
Voicing concern:Farmers texpressing concern over dry tanks at the grievance day meeting in Dindigul on Friday.— PHOTO: G. KARTHIKEYAN
Despite torrential showers, several tanks had no water owing to accumulation of silt in supply channels and damage in bunds and sluice doors, and this was the result of haphazard renovation work done by Public Works Department officials, farmers complained at the agriculturists’ grievance day meeting held here on Friday.
At the outset, Palani Farmers’ Association president K. Venkataasamy said exit point of the left bank main channel of Palar-Porundhalaru dam was highly damaged and developed breaches. When renovation work was carried out, the contractor just levelled silt and stones in the channel instead of removing them, he said, and sought removal of silt.
Ten tanks in 17 villages were completely dry. Quick renovation of channel and discharge of water from the dam would help farmers protect standing crops. If there was a delay, the crops would wither, he noted.
The PWD officials replied that a proposal had been sent to the government to release water on December 10.
Collector N. Venkatachalam advised the officials to expedite repair work.
When farmers from Oddanchatram said unsafe disposal of garbage by Oddanchatram municipality affected agricultural lands, he said people in Oddanchtram area refused to provide land for dumping waste. Five places were identified for the purpose, but the villagers protested, he said, and asked them to identify a site for the dump.
The Collector advised all panchayat presidents to remove acacia trees from waterbodies without waiting for permission from forest officials. Farmers from Nilakottai block appealed to him to order renovation of supply channel to fill Pulvetti Kulam. Mr. Venkatachalam said water could not flow towards the tank as the channel was in high ridge area.
Forty per cent of the 91,488 irrigation wells in the district had water that could be pumped for an hour and 25 per cent of the wells had water that could be pumped for one to two hours and 35 per cent of the wells had water that could be pumped for two to three hours, PWD officials said.
Earlier, Vagarai Maize Research Station scientist Arviudai Nambi explained maize cultivation techniques to the farmers to increase yield.