Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Latest news ...

GM veggies in India within 3 yrs

In a decision that’s likely to kick off a controversy, the government on Tuesday announced that it plans to introduce genetically modified (GM) food — tomato, brinjal and cauliflower — in the country within the next three years.
This is the first time the agriculture ministry has promised to introduce GM food crops. The announcement was made by the agriculture ministry in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Department of Biotechnology have approved the three transgenic crops that are in various stages of tests and development in institutes across the country.
After these tests, the final clearance for allowing for cultivation of GM varieties will be given by the Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation and the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, which themselves have been accused of having a conflict of interest as well as favouring the biotech industry.
Till date, India has only allowed genetically modified cotton — a non-food crop. The use of GM cotton has grown, but so has the controversy around it.

India: Government to prevent misuse of oxytocin in fruits and vegetables

Media reports indicate that the hormone oxytocin is being used by farmers in parts of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab on certain vegetables like cucurbits and pumpkin to increase the size and weight of vegetables.
Indiscriminate use of oxytocin may cause health hazards if taken through vegetables over a period of time.
To prevent misuse by farmers this drug has been notified as a Schedule-H drug and can be sold only against the prescription of the registered medical/veterinary practitioner. It has been made mandatory through Gazette notification to market Oxytocin injection in single unit blister packs only. Instructions have also been issued to all State Drug Controllers to regulate and monitor manufacture and distribution of Oxytocin.
This information was given in Lok Sabha today by Prof. K.V. Thomas, Minister of State for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in a written reply.

India: Steps to promote organic farming

Government is promoting organic farming, which does not involve use of chemical fertilizers, for crops including foodgrains and vegetables.

Under the “National Project on Organic Farming” for production, promotion and market development of organic farming in the country, financial assistance is provided for capacity building through service providers, setting up of organic input production units, promotion of organic farming through training programmes, field demonstrations, setting up model organic farms and market development.
Under the “National Horticulture Mission” (NHM) and a “Technology Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture in North Eastern States, J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand” promotion of organic farming has been included as a component and financial assistance is provided for organic cultivation of horticultural crops, setting up of vermi-compost units and organic farming certification.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has developed technology for preparation of vermi-compost. Besides, microbes to function as effective bio-fertilizers have also been developed.
This information was given in Lok Sabha today by Prof. K.V. Thomas, Minister of State for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in a written reply.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Latest Agriculture news...

Benefits of cruciferous vegetables

The benefits of cruciferous vegetables are numerous for their vital phytonutrients and dense minerals. Most especially, however, their cancer preventative qualities have been noted, thus making them highly valuable for anyone interested in simple prevention. Let's take a look at what heightens the value of our cruciferous neighbors.It is the glucosinolates found in cruciferous vegetables that provide cancer-fighting components.
These break down in the body as isothiocyanates, an especially lucrative cancer-fighting compound. The sulforaphane found in broccoli is what gives it cancer fighting ability. Notably, kale, collard greens, and cauliflower are others in the cruciferous family that carry valuable weight in attaining a healthier outcome. It's significant to note that our vegetable kingdom, in providing key nutrients our bodies require for sustainable living, enables us fewer calories with twice the essentials. When we fill up on vegetables, we're left feeling far less hungry, and yet, are more nourished as well.

India: Railways to set up cold storages and run fruit and veg trains

The Indian Railways has decided to run special trains for perishables and set up cold storages and temperature-controlled cargo centres in an effort to eliminate food wastage and contribute to India’s second green revolution.
The Railways will encourage creation of facilities of setting up cold storage and temperature-controlled perishable cargo centres and its transportation through public-private partnership mode.

India plans hot chilli grenades

Indian defence scientists are planning to put one of the world's hottest chilli powders into hand grenades.They say the devices will be used to control rioters and in counter-insurgency operations.
Researchers say the idea is to replace explosives in small hand grenades with a certain variety of red chilli to immobilise people without killing them.
The chilli, known as Bhut Jolokia, is said to be 1,000 times hotter than commonly used kitchen chilli.
Scientists at India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are quoted as saying the potent chilli will be used as a food additive for troops operating in cold conditions.
And the powder will also be spread on the fences around army barracks in the hope the strong smell will keep out animals.
Other forms of pepper spray are commonly used for crowd control in many parts of the world.

Japan: Horticulturists warn of destructive plant pest

Japanese beetles are on the move in southwest Missouri and they’ve got an appetite for plants, trees and flowers.
The beetle is a highly destructive plant pest of foreign origin that made its way to the United States nearly 80 years ago.
The insects can quickly defoliate more than 300 different types of ornamental landscape plants by eating the tissue between the veins of leaves and flowers.
Adults feed on the foliage and fruits of several hundred species of fruit trees. The grubs develop in the soil, feeding on the roots of various plants and grasses and often destroying turf in lawns, parks, golf courses and pastures.
Adult Japanese beetles are a brilliant, metallic green color, generally oval, 3/8 inches long and a quarter-of-an-inch wide. The wing covers are copper-brown and the abdomen has a row of five tufts of white hairs on each side. These white tufts are essential to the insect identity.
Today, the Japanese beetle is the most widespread turf-grass pest in the United States. Efforts to control the larval and adult stages are estimated to cost more than $460 million a year. Losses attributable to the larval stage alone have been estimated at $234 million per year — $78 million for control costs and an additional $156 million for replacement of damaged turf.

India: Papaya mealy bug – a new threat to sericulture

Papaya mealy bug is a polyphagous sucking insect pest and has been recorded on more than sixty host plants in India.But its serious attack was recorded only in a few economically important crops such as papaya, mango, pomegranate, citrus, beans, tomato, potato, pepper and cotton. In other plants it exists as a minor pest.
However sudden outbreak of any minor pest is common owing to various reasons.
The recent trend in the population built-up of papaya mealy bug on mulberry, the sole food plant of silkworm, indicates its emerging pest status especially in South India where mulberry is cultivated intensively.

India: 22 varieties of jack fruit on display at Yekkur exhibition

Jack fruit, which is called the poor man’s fruit, is being given a place of prominence at the exhibition being exclusively held to showcase its immense possibilities, at the Agricultural Science Centre in Yekkur, which was inaugurated on Friday, June 26. During the two-day fair, besides creating awareness about the advantages and different uses of the fruit, sale will also be held at the venue.
S D Sampath Samrajya, president, Zilla Krishika Samaj, who inaugurated the Mela, said that the fruit, which abounds during the rainy season, has medicinal value too. The growers in the rural areas store the fruit up to a year, as they are aware of its true value, he noted. He lamented, that in several places, jack fruit trees are being felled, because of the fact that its wood fetches good value in the market. (Click to view full)
Compiled and written by Harsh saxena

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