Monday, 30 December 2013

Central University to offer certificate courses

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The Central University of Tamil Nadu (CUTN), Tiruvarur, has planned to offer certificate courses in Water Management, Basics in Computers, and Para-legal from January, said B.P.Sanjai, Vice-Chancellor, here on Monday.
The course in Water Management is offered in collaboration with Tamil Nadu Agriculture University (TNAU).Eligibility is a pass or fail in class 10 with an upper age limit of 40. Tamil is the medium of instruction. A maximum of 40 students will be admitted.

Agricultural entrepreneurship training

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The Business Planning and Development Unit of Agricultural College and Research Institute, Madurai, will conduct an agricultural entrepreneurship training programme for two months from January 6, 2014.
In a press release, C. Chinnusamy, dean of Agricultural College and Research Institute, has said that agribusiness ventures such as seed production, food processing, nursery and orchard establishment, biofertilisers, mushroom production, micro irrigation, green house technology, marketing, preparation of project reports, besides training in entrepreneurship and managerial skills will be covered in the programme, conducted free of cost and accommodation.
Graduates and diploma holders in agriculture and biological sciences, intermediate in agriculture with PG in agriculture-related courses or science subjects in the age group of 18-35 years can apply.
The projects submitted by the entrepreneurs trained will be linked to District Industries Centre and the banks for appropriate loan and subsidy. Interested participants can register their names with Dean, AC&RI, Madurai at 0452 – 2422956 (Extension 235) or 87542 13353.

Organic farming scientist dead

G. Nammalvar (75), organic farming scientist and crusader, died at Pichinikadu village near Pattukottai on Monday night.
Born at Elankadu village near Thiruvaiyaru in 1938, he graduated in agriculture from Annamamalai University. In 1963, he joined as an officer in the Agricultural Regional Research Centre, Kovilpatti.
Later he served as an agronomist in Island Peace, an organisation founded by Nobel Laureate R.P. Dominic Pyre. All his life, he championed the cause of natural farming. Gandhigram Rural University honoured him with a doctorate. A crusader against genetically modified crops, he was spearheading the movement against proposed methane project in Cauvery delta districts.

Sunflower price to remain stable: TNAU

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The Domestic and Export Market Intelligence Cell of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University has said that the present price of Rs. 35 a kg for sunflower is expected to remain the same during March-April 2014, which is the harvest season.
The forecast was made based on the last year price during the harvest season, which was between Rs. 33 and Rs. 36 a kg.
This was analysed based on the price that prevailed at Vellakoil Regulated Market for the past 13 years.
In Tamil Nadu, sunflower seed production was around 41,711 tonnes from an area of 13,610 hectares during 2011-12.
Karur, Tiruchi, Dindigul, Tuticorin, Virudhunagar and Dharmapuri districts contribute to about 80 per cent of area and 49 per cent of the total sunflower production in the State.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Agri-horticultural fair from Thursday

The second edition of the mega agricultural and horticultural fair hosted by Calicut University will begin at the Kohinoor grounds on the National Highway 17 on Thursday.
The 10-day fair will have 150-odd stalls with the aim of reaching out to the common man through infotainment. Apart from the different departments of the university, various government departments and public sector units too will have pavilions at the fair.
The agricultural stalls will underscore achieving food security through cultivation. Various agricultural implements too will be on display. The Departments of Fashion Designing, Lifelong Learning, Health Science, Food Science, Folklore, Publication, and Botany will present a wide variety of collections they have.
Stalls will be set up by the Kerala Agricultural University, Agricultural Research Station at Anakkayam, Farm Information Bureau, Horticorp, Kerala Soaps and Oils, and Kerala Forest Research Institute. A Fire and Safety stall will have the modern firefighting equipment on display. The organisers said demonstrations using electronic flame would be a unique attraction of the stall.
There would be sections for solar panels, inverters, fertilizers, bio-fertilizers, agricultural implements, health equipment, home appliances, Kudumbasree products, textiles, fancy products, furniture, toys, earthen vessels, and ornamental fish.
There will be cultural programmes on all evenings. Musical evenings will have noted playback singers, comedians and dancers to entertain the crowds. There will be an hour-long ‘smart children show’ at 5 p.m. on all days for school children. There will also be competitions for the public every day.
Competitions will be held in health drink preparation, glass painting, flower decoration, fabric painting, fruit and vegetable carving, cooking without the use of flame, traditional cooking, chocolate making, henna designing, payasam making, and pot designing. For details, the organisers can be contacted on 9447354909.
There will also be a food festival at the fair, in which the delicacies of different regions will be available. Free medical camps will also be held, said K.V. Mohanan, general convener of the fair.
Vice Chancellor M. Abdul Salam will inaugurate the fair on Thursday evening.
10-day fair being organised by Calicut University will have 150-odd stalls.

Rs.3.17-crore project to promote organic farming

Farmers, students urged to support project

Aimed at improving the domestic supply of organic vegetables in the rural and urban markets, the Agriculture Department has given shape to a comprehensive organic vegetable farming project, under which vegetable cultivation will be taken up on nearly 1,700 hectares of land identified in various parts of the district.
The cooperation of active farmers, farming clusters and students will be sought for the new venture, which will be implemented at a total cost of Rs.3.17 crore.
The department will give technical support and financial aid to purchase quality seeds and manure to the farmers who cooperate with the initiative.
As educational institutions are one of the major targets of the project, the department has already identified 200 schools in the district, which will extend support to start small farming ventures. Educational institutions in the government, aided and unaided sectors are part of the farming venture.
Each of the selected agriculture clubs in these schools will be granted a financial aid of Rs.15,000 to buy pump sets, dig wells and conduct field visits to various model vegetable farms for learning purposes.
Similarly, financial support will be provided to set up biogas plants. Already, 450 schools have been shortlisted for the project.
“Under the scheme, students will be encouraged to set up small vegetable farms in their backyards and seeds will be distributed free of cost for the purpose from the local Krishi Bhavans,” said Deputy Director of Agriculture (Vegetable Farming) M. Abdul Latheef. As encouragement, the department would also give excellence prizes for the best units selected from the enrolled educational institutions, he added.
Forming new vegetable farming clusters is another highlight of the project. A farming cluster, comprising 15 members, will be eligible for financial grant up to Rs.30,000 per hectare.
Marketing facilities
At the block panchayat level, there will be separate facilities for these farming clusters for marketing. In addition to this, the facilities at the Vengeri agriculture wholesale market too will be open for the farmers.
The highest financial assistance is offered to farmers who make use of fallow land for cultivation.
Agriculture Department officials said such farmers would be eligible for a financial assistance of Rs.30,000 per hectare. The farming clusters too could make use of the aid with the support of local body members and Krishi Bhavans.
For attracting more farmers to the venture, the department has also come up with a crop insurance.
The premium amount has been fixed at Rs.10 per 10 cents of land, which will offer a coverage of Rs.800 in case of any unexpected perish.

  • Rs.15,000 for selected farming clubs in schools
  • Rs.30,000 per hectare for fallow land cultivation

  • Source:

    Training in dairy farming

    The Animal Husbandry Training Centre of University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, will conduct a six-day training programme in dairy farming for farmers on its campus here from January 6. Enrolment will be done on the spot. Participants have to bring their Electoral Photo Identity Cards or copies of ration cards as identity proof. SC/ST candidates have to furnish caste certificates. For details, contact 98448 34926. — Staff Correspondent


    Friday, 27 December 2013

    From Subsidies to Direct Cash Transfers for Fertilizer Purchase in India

    Dec 27, 2013 by sgustafson

    Fertilizer use in India has exploded since the government began a subsidization program in the 1970s. National fertilizer consumption rates increased by 50% during the 1990s. But research has shown that the effectiveness of these inputs has actually declined – on average, 8 kilograms of grain were produced per kilogram of fertilizer in the late 1990s, compared to 25 kg of grain per kg of fertilizer in the 1960s. Many farmers have reacted by simply applying even more fertilizer to their land; in addition to greatly increasing the cost of the government’s subsidy program, this overapplication of chemical fertilizers can cause long-term damage to the soil and surrounding water supply, further threatening agricultural productivity. And while some farmers are using far too much fertilizer, other smaller farmers continue to have little or no access to fertilizers at all, thereby underscoring deeper systematic problems with fertilizer subsidies and distribution within the country.
    In an effort to break this cycle of costly and damaging overuse, and to increase access to proper amounts of fertilizer by marginalized farmers, the Indian government has proposed phasing out the subsidy program in favor of direct cash transfers (DCTs) to both farmers and retailers. The hope is that DCTs will provide incentives for farmers to use fertilizers more efficiently and also lower the cost to the government. In a new article published in Economic and Political Weekly, IFPRI Postdoctoral Fellow Avinash Kishore, IFPRI research fellow Devesh Roy, and K.V. Praveen of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute argue that such a proposal faces some daunting challenges.
    The first question is how to determine who will receive the cash. Unlike other cash transfer schemes that target specific populations (such as girl children or pregnant women), there are no clear criteria for identifying farmers. Identification cards can’t guarantee that the cardholder is truly a farmer, and land records are often unreliable and exclude tenant farmers. The government has proposed creating a database that would be used to identify beneficiaries based on the size of their farms and what they produce; as both farm size and plantings can vary greatly as time passes, however, this too is far from a perfect solution. Furthermore, safeguards would need to be put in place so that the DCTs would not encourage the production of certain crops to the detriment of others, or discourage investment in less fertilizer-intense technologies, such as organic farming.
    It also will be a challenge to prevent cash transfers from distorting market prices and ultimately harming farmers, according to Roy. Fertilizer prices are by nature highly variable, and so the scheme needs to protect farmers’ purchasing power in the face of these changing prices. Tracking prices effectively for various types of fertilizers, however, will be time-consuming and expensive. Additionally, the government needs a way to effectively monitor and ensure that retailers and wholesalers don’t collude to raise market prices.
    Finally, it’s important that any new fertilizer subsidy scheme has mechanisms in place to ensure the proper use of fertilizers and prevent further environmental degradation stemming from their overuse. Such mechanisms could include regulating how much fertilizer can be purchased by any one farmer and providing incentives to encourage the use of a proper mixture of fertilizers that will help maintain optimal soil nutrients.

    Read the full article

    Free training at TNAU from January 6 to 20, 2014

    Tamil Nadu Agricultural University will conduct four agripreneurship programmes of 15 days duration in Coimbatore, Madurai, and Tiruchi, respectively.
    The programmes will be conducted free with financial support from the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of Tamil Nadu.
    Two batches of this programme will be held at the Directorate of Extension Education, Coimbatore, from January 6 to 20, 2014.
    One will be conducted at the Agricultural College and Research Institute, Madurai, and another at the Horticultural College and Research Institute for Women, Tiruchi, from January 6.
    Topics such as seed production, processing and nursery, biofertilizers, biological control agents, mushroom production, bee keeping, farm implements and gadgets will be covered in the training programme.Value addition technologies, micro-irrigation, green house technology, etc., besides entrepreneurship skills are the other areas that will be covered.
    The eligibility to apply for the training is a diploma / degree. Viable projects submitted by entrepreneurs trained in this programme will be linked to District Industries Centre and the banks for availing appropriate loan and subsidy. Those interested, can contact Head, Training Division, Directorate of Extension Education, Coimbatore, on 0422-6611520 / the Dean, Madurai on 04252-2422985 / the Special Officer, Tiruchi on 0431-2918033.

    Tuesday, 24 December 2013

    Horticultural Show

    The Thrissur Agri-Horticultual Society will conduct the 36th Thrissur Flower Show at the Thekkinkad Maidan here from December 23 to 30, according to a press release.


    Coconut and copra price to remain stable, says TNAU

    The Domestic and Export Market Intelligence Cell of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University has forecast the price of coconut during December-January to be around Rs. 16 a nut and that of copra between Rs. 75 and Rs. 82 a kg.
    The forecast has been made based on the study of coconut at Pollachi market and copra at Avalpoondurai and other markets in Coimbatore and Erode.
    Price of coconut will be lower in other markets compared to Pollachi, which always leads because of its superior quality nuts.
    Kerala and Tamil Nadu markets are facing acute shortage of copra due to lesser arrivals from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Copra price rose to Rs. 83 a kg in Kerala and Rs. 80 in Tamil Nadu.
    Production of coconut is expected to be less this season and as a result, prices are likely to show an upward trend.
    At present, it is Rs. 24,000 a tonne in Pollachi market, i.e., approximately Rs. 15 a nut (nut weighing 700 gm) and price for average size weighing 400 – 500 gm is Rs. 12 – Rs. 13 a nut.


    Farm Show

    A mega agriculture exhibition, Polima-2014, will be held near the Indira Gandhi Stadium bus stand here from January 9 to 13. Departments of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries are organizing the exhibition - Staff Reporter