Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Aavin honours milk suppliers

KRISHNAGIRI, February 27, 2014 - Three hundred milk producers who supplied maximum quantity to primary cooperative societies were given cash incentive of Rs. 6 lakh by the Dharmapuri District Milk Producers Cooperative Union (Aavin) comprising Krishangiri and Dharmapuri districts on Monday.
Aavin sources here said that the government had sanctioned the amount as a one-time incentive.
The first 100 top milk producers were given Rs. 3,000 each and the next 100 Rs. 2,000 each, and the next 100 were given Rs. 1,000 each as cash incentive along with a ‘Star Producer’ certificate, the sources said.
As many as 148 milk producers in Krishangiri district and 152 in Dharmapuri district got the cash incentive and certificate.
District Collector T.P. Rajesh distributed the awards in the presence of S. Thennarasu, chairman, DDMPCU, and general manager K. Kombaiyan.


Foot-and-mouth disease vaccination camp from March 1

VELLORE, February 27, 2014 - The sixth round of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccination camp is to be conducted in all villages coming under the jurisdiction of veterinary dispensaries in Vellore district from March 1 to 21.
According to a release from the Regional Joint Director of Animal Husbandry, Vellore, FMD spreads to cattle through a virus. It spreads through fodder, water, air, close contact of animals, and through aerosols to a distance of 300 km.
The disease is highly prevalent during summer. In the initial stages, it manifests itself in the form of fever with a temperature of 41 degrees Celsius. The later symptoms include excessive secretion of stringy or foamy saliva, and formation of blisters in the mouth, tongue, hooves, skin and teats of a cow. The calves of affected cows might die of the disease. The disease would lead to prolonged infertility and resultant economic loss to the dairy farmers.
Therefore, the Centre has decided to implement FMD Prevention Scheme to fully control the disease.


New technology to boost production of crops

New technology to boost production of crops

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Soil mulching being adopted for raising horticultural crops on 50 hectares in Tirunelveli district

Plasticulture, a new technology of soil mulching with polythene sheet that conserves soil and water, is being adopted for horticultural crops for the first time in the district, which has started experiencing adverse effects of monsoon failure for the fifth year in succession.
It has been introduced for enhancing productivity thanks to the implementation of National Horticulture Mission (NHM). Mulching is a practice of covering the soil surface around plants to make conditions more conducive for plant growth through in-situ moisture conservation, enhanced microbial activities in the root zone and weed control.
Mulching is in practice here since ages in one or another form as the farmers generally use dry leaves, straw, hay, stones as mulching materials for pepper, clove, fruit tree crops etc. However, introduction of the LDPE film as mulch increases the efficiency of water use by improved moisture conservation, soil temperature and elimination of weed growth thereby increase in crop yield. Generally, thickness of LDPE film used for mulching varies from 10 to 200 micron. Outcome of the research conducted by various research organizations confirm the efficacy of plastic mulch in enhancing the yield, water saving and weed control.
Plasticulture intervention in cultivation of high–valued crops like fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants may contribute significantly to higher growth rate, says S. Raja Mohamed, Deputy Director of Horticulture, Tirunelveli.
Under protected cultivation component of NHM, during the current fiscal year, Rs. 5 lakh has been earmarked for covering 50 hectares with plastic mulching at 50 per cent subsidy of Rs. 10,000 an hectare to the maximum of two hectares for a beneficiary, he says.
Demonstrating the method of laying of plastic mulching held recently for acid-lime trees at a farm at Pudukulam in Palayamkottai block, Mr. Mohamed said that the plastic mulching had the benefits of enhancing the total crop protection and productivity, keeping the forest cover and rich biodiversity intact, minimizing the soil erosion induced due to traditional food production system, managing the rainwater in a better way for life saving irrigation and thereby uplifting the economic status of farmers.
“There is tremendous scope of adoption of plasticulture technology. But the adoption rate is very slow due to lack of awareness. Only some headway has been made in shade-net house and drip irrigation technology. Intensive efforts in the form of demonstrations and sensitization are being made in all blocks to popularize this technology,” he says.
As of now, nearly 50 hectares of area, benefitting 50 farmers, have been covered with plastic mulching for fruit crops like mango, acid-lime, sapota, nelli and banana.
S. Tamilvendan, Assistant Director of Horticulture, Palayamkottai, and P. Valluvan, Horticulture Officer, Palayamkottai, were present


Monday, 17 February 2014

Entrepreneurship training

TIRUCHI, February 18, 2014 - Thirty prospective entrepreneurs are undergoing an entrepreneurship training programme under the National Mission on Food Processing in the district.
The national mission seeks to promote business ventures in post-harvest operation, food processing, and value addition in agriculture and horticulture produce. In Tiruchi district, the training is being provided through Gramalaya, a voluntary organisation. Officials from various departments are being briefed on various aspects of food processing and agro business. Demonstrations are being organised on manufacture of value-added products of banana, tomato, fenugreek, onion, and minor millets as part of the programme.
— Special Correspondent


Sunday, 16 February 2014

This Valentine’s, Hosur roses ride high

This Valentine’s, Hosur roses ride high

Workers on the rose farms in Hosur region work hard to meet the surging demand for cut-flowers. Photo: N. Bhaskaran
The HinduWorkers on the rose farms in Hosur region work hard to meet the surging demand for cut-flowers. Photo: N. Bhaskaran

Flowers from the region exported to U.S., Australia and Singapore

This Valentine’s Day, cut-flowers exporters in and around Hosur have cashed in on China’s fall in flower production due to floods.
It is estimated that over four crore flower stems produced by small, medium and big farmers have been exported to other countries for Valentine’s Day this year. Flowers are exported to the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and Gulf countries.
The demand increased by 20 to 30 per cent when compared last year, said G. Siva (30), a cut-flower producer and exporter from Gudisetlu village near Bagalur in Krishnagiri district.
He has exported around 75,000 cut-flowers from February 1 to 11 as against 60,000 last year.
“Salubrious weather makes Hosur and surrounding areas ideal for flower cultivation; the number of farmers cultivating them has increased from 150 to 1500 in the last decade,” said V. Venkatachalam, president of Krishnagiri Horticulture Federation.
Healthy prices
The export prices per stem of some red rose varieties are: Taj Mahal – Rs 25 to Rs 30; Grand Gala – Rs 20 to Rs 25 and First Red – Rs 15 to Rs 20. Exporters are able to sell at this price because they have good storage and marketing facilities, even abroad. But, the small farmers who produce these flowers get only Rs10 to Rs 12 per stem because they do not have even storage facilies, Mr. Venkatachalam said.
Common cold storage, grading hall and marketing mall in Hosur are needed to sustain production by small farmers from Hosur, Kelemangalam, Shoolagiri and Berigai, he said. He added that the state government’s free power supply for horticulture farmers has been beneficial as it helped cut production costs.
1,500 varieties
H. Javed, project manager of a leading player near Bagalur, said they have exported around eight lakh stems in the last ten days and the exports for the year would touch Rs 1 crore.
Over 1,500 varieties of roses are being produced in the farms near Hosur. Apart from Valentine’s Day, demand peaks around Christmas, New Year’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
P. Kaliappan, Deputy Director – Horticulture (in charge), says the area of cut-flower cultivation in the district has increased from 150 hectares in the last fiscal to 170 hectares at present.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Book fair at TNAU from today

A mega book fair will be organised by the Directorate of Publications and Public Relations of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University on the university premises from February 11 to 13.
According to a release, Vice-Chancellor of the university K. Ramasamy will inaugurate the book fair, in which more than 20 leading publishers and book sellers will take part and display a wide range of books in agriculture and allied sectors for the benefit of students, research scholars, scientists and public.
A special discount of 20 per cent will be made available.
During the inaugural function, the University will institute ‘Institutional Membership’ with British Council Library, Chennai, for mutual exchange of books and publications.
Interactive session
Three former librarians of the university will also be honoured on the occasion. The portrait of S.R. Ranganathan, father of Indian Library Science, will be unveiled.
An ‘author-publisher’ interactive session has also been planned.
During the valediction on February 13, TNAU scientists who have published maximum number of quality books in various disciplines will be honoured with merit certificates.

The fair is being held at Techno Park II of the university and entry is free.


Monday, 3 February 2014

World Food Program can't meet demand in Syria


Aid agencies have been overwhelmed by demand for food in Syria, with thousands surviving without a regular supply of nourishment for more than a year because of civil war in the Middle Eastern country, a United Nations official said.
U.N. World Food Program chief executive Ertharin Cousin was in the Australian capital Canberra on Monday for talks with the new Australian government about the financial needs of the world’s largest humanitarian organization which she leads.

The Rome-based American said gaining access to besieged areas was the biggest challenge in feeding the 6.5 million people in need within Syria’s borders. Another two million Syrians who had fled the conflict relied on food aid in neighboring Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt.AP


Worskshop on food processing begins

A six-week entrepreneurship development programme on food processing began at the Alluri Instistute of Mangement Sciences here on Monday in which 30 women were taking part.
Confederation of Women Entrepreneurs’ (COWE) Executive Committee member Ms. Jessica said that they were encouraging women with viable ideas and also providing the necessary funds to start enterprises on their own .
The programme was inaugurated by AIMS Director B. Prakash .


At science meet, PM pitches for GM crops

Urges people not to be swayed by “unscientific prejudices”

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presents an award to scientist Yash Pal (right) at the Indian Science Congress in Jammu on Monday. Second fromleft is Jammu and Kashmir Chief MinisterOmar Abdullah.— Photo: PTI
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presents an award to scientist Yash Pal (right) at the Indian Science Congress in Jammu on Monday. Second fromleft is Jammu and Kashmir Chief MinisterOmar Abdullah.— Photo: PTI
Underscoring food security, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday favoured genetically modified crops, urging the people not to be swayed by “unscientific prejudices.”
“Use of biotechnology has great potential to improve yields. While safety must [also] be ensured, we should not succumb to unscientific prejudices against Bt. crops,” he said, inaugurating the 101st session of the Indian Science Congress here.
Dr. Singh urged scientists to engage more with society and explain socially productive applications of biotechnology and other alternatives. The government remained committed to the use of biotechnology and other new technologies for agricultural development.
The government would soon come out with another national mission on high performance computing on an outlay of Rs. 4,500 crore and was planning to establish a national geographical information system on an outlay of Rs. 3,000 crore. India would soon join, as an associate member, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN, where international projects such as research on ‘god particle’ was going on. It was planning to host the third detector for the global Gravitational Wave Experiment. “A national mission on teaching to enhance the esteem of our teachers is also being launched.”
The Prime Minister announced the names of five eminent scientists, selected for the recently instituted Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowships.
The fellowship is open to scientists who are either Nobel Laureates or Fellows of the Royal Society, or members of the United States or French academies of science. The selected scientists are entitled to a fellowship of $1,00,000 and a research grant of Rs. 55 lakh. They will have to do research in an institution in the country for 12 months, and the money can be spent in instalments over three years. The host institution would also get a grant of Rs. 10 lakh for providing laboratory and other facilities for research.
The scheme provides for 25 fellowships. The five have so far been selected. They are mathematical scientist Professor Srinivasa Varadhan of New York University, computational biologist Professor M. Vidyasagar of the University of Texas, life scientist Professor Azim Surani of the University of Cambridge, astronomer Professor Srinivas Kulkarni of Caltech, and geo-scientist Professor Trevor Charles Platt of the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. Four of the winners are Fellows of the Royal Society and one is an Abel medallist.
Seeking to project the achievements of his government over the past 10 years in science and technology, he noted that the Sixth Pay Commission had improved the conditions for academics and scientists. “International surveys have shown that India scores well in structures for scientific personnel. Our gross expenditure per full-time R&D personnel is increasingly comparable in purchasing power parity terms to some of the more developed R&D systems of the world.”
Science and Technology Minister Jaipal Reddy said the government would soon launch a Rs. 250-crore scheme for scaling up innovations to serve the needs of the common man, and an overseas scholarship programme for bridging gaps in critical and frontier areas of research. His Ministry proposed to set up virtual institutes in advanced manufacturing and climate change.


Farmers to stop milk supply to Aavin from today

“Members of the Tamil Nadu Milk Producers Welfare Association will stop supplying milk to the Cooperative Milk Producers Societies, supplying milk to Aavin, indefinitely from Tuesday (February 4).
The decision was taken as the Government of Tamil Nadu has not called us for talks,” State president of the association, K.A. Sengottuvel, told newsmen here on Monday.
He alleged that the secretaries and office-bearers of the milk producers’ societies and officials from Aavin have been forcing milk producers to supply milk to Aavin.
State general secretary of the association M.G. Rajendran said that about 4.5 lakh farmers are supplying 22 lakh litres of milk to Aavin every day through 8,200 milk producers’ societies.

“The quantity of milk that was supplied to the government run enterprise has reduced from the daily supply of 27 lakh litres a day during 2012-13,” he added.


Motivating farmers to grow millets

A two-day training on millet production was held

Farmers and members of self help groups during a field visit organised by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore.-Photo:Special Arrangement.
Farmers and members of self help groups during a field visit organised by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore.-Photo:Special Arrangement.
With the premise that people in the earlier times used millets in their regular diet for a healthy life, the State Government was keen on bringing people to adopt such a lifestyle change.
To give an impetus to this, it was funding and implementing schemes and programmes to motivate farmers to increase production of millets and also enable them make value-added products out of millets.
A two-day training on ‘Millet Production and Value Addition’ was held here at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University for farmers and self help group women, which focussed on knowledge transfer and skill demonstrations.
The Department of Millets of the university conducted the programme. The participants were encouraged to opt for millet growing as it required less water and was best suited for conditions of water scarcity. They were also asked to focus on marketing techniques so that the produce was sold to the right person at the right place. Importance of pricing for value-added products was also stressed.
They were told to maintain the expenditure record for each crop to assess the actual profit gained. Trainees from Coimbatore, Erode, Dindigul and Karur, were exposed to critical technologies for enhancing the productivity in millet crops, viz., sorghum, pearl millet, ragi and other small millets. A field visit was also part of the training.
Preparation of value-added products using small millets was taught at the Post Harvest Technology Centre of the university.