Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sygneta's tropical sugar, Contingency plan for Bihar, Pepsico

1. Sygneta's Tropical Sugar Beet receives world business and development award. The award is for the development and successful introduction of a new sugar beet that can be grown under tropical climate conditions and brings significant advantages to farmers, the environment, the sugar and ethanol industries and the economy.

2. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has evolved a plan for farmers to deal with the flood risis.

3. Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi says her company will extend its partnership with Indian agriculture by covering 10,000 acres and 50,000 farmers by 2011.

Stuck in the moment

A post dedicated to things which see no light at the end of tunnel.

1. Talks at WTO never seem to end. Agriculture negotiations resumed at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Thursday, but comments from diplomats showed it would be difficult to bridge gaps.

2. Tussle between farmers and SEZs continue. If SEZs go tlhrough farmers loose their land and livelihood, if they dont industrialization suffers.

3. A government official says that 4% growth in agriculture is needed to sustain economic growth of 8%. What is government doing to make it possible?

Increasing food production, Wastewater to fertilizer, Retail boom

1. Interesting article here on increasing food production.

2. Canada-based Ostara Nutrient Recovery Systems secured $10.5M for wastewater-to-fertilizer technology. The technology helps by removing nutrients, like phosophorus, from wastewater and recycling them into fertilizer.

3. An elaborate article on how retail boom is going to affect the farmers. It covers various aspects like corporate entry into agriculture, cooperative movement, government regulations, SAZ's , public-private partnership , storage , transportation etc.

4. Interesting analysis on rising agricultural input costs, the main contributers to the cost and the way governments are handling fertilizer policies to ensure food-sufficiency.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dupont opens research centre in Hyd

DuPont opens research centre in Hyderabad.

It is the first integrated agriculture and industrial biotechnology research centre for DuPont outside the U.S.

To collaborate with ICRISAT to develop seed products

Initial focus will be on hybrid rice and maize

The biotech research centre would focus on bringing new crop genetics to the market faster and on application of industrial biotechnology to produce bio-fuels and biomaterials for global markets.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Water scarcity, Onion storage and Integrated Farming

1. The Economist carries an interesting story about shortage of water. We consumer more that 3000 litres of water per day. That is because today's agricultural practices wastes lot of water in irrigation.

2. The Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB) has proposed an onion storage scheme. "This will prevent the usual trend between June and September, when the price per quintal goes up to Rs 1,000 from Rs 200-Rs 300", said project manager DM Sable of MSAMB.

3. Integrated farming is needed to achieve a sustainable high growth rate, said noted agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan at an agriculture leadership summit.

Integrated farming refers to agricultural systems that integrate livestock and crop production.
It also denotes sustainable development by balancing food production, profitability, safety, animal welfare, social responsibility and environmental care.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

VAS for farmers, Agriculture rivival and farmer training

Something what I have been thinking about quite some time has become true - Bharti Airtel, in association with IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative) has announced the launch of VAS (value added services) for farmers. IFFCO Kisan Sanchar (IKSL), the joint venture company of Bharti Airtel and IFFCO, will offer agriculture related information like best farming practices, soil testing, soil improvement, optimum crop cycles, required fertilizers and pesticides as well as livelihood information like mandi crop prices and utility (power/ irrigation).

2. Prime Minister says revival of Indian agriculture is must for
self-sufficiency in food grains and inclusive growth.

3. Training camp help for farmers under the Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA),Govt. of India.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Indian International Agri Expo 2008

India International Agri Expo to be held in Cochin from Oct 31st to Nov 2nd. Technical seminars will be held with topics like organic farming, value-added products, agri-tourism etc.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Quiet revolution, Cashing on floods, Corn export ban and Rice output

1. P.K. Joshi, director of the New Delhi-based National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, in an interview with NEWSWEEK's Jason Overdorf about the challenges India faces.

2. MS Swaminathan, one of India's best-known agricultural scientists and a Rajya Sabha member suggests that "Bihar now needs to change its short-term farm strategy and switch to short-haul cash crops that do rather well after floods. The idea is to grow crops that mature quickly — in about two months — and have a good market."

3. ET reports that Government can lift ban on corn exports.

4. The Union Food and Agriculture Minister, Mr Sharad Pawar,says that the country’s rice production during the current kharif season “will exceed 84 million tonnes (mt)”.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Farm Insurance, hike in MSPs

1. Business-line writes about the status of farm-insurance in our country in its editorial. According to a survey by Max New York Life and National Council for Applied Economic Research, only 19% of rural household have life insurance while only 10-15% of all farmers have crop insurance.

2. Some happy news for farmers. Government has announced higher MSP (Minimum support price) for various Kharif crops for year 2008. However as "harvest of crops is only weeks away; and there is no way farmers will draw any benefit from the announcement at this point of time in the crop growth cycle." MSP of cotton has also been increased by 38.9-47.8

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cotton export, bumper potato harvest

1. According to the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), the world cotton production is likely to fall. China has reduced its acreage for cotton cultivation and US and Pakistan are also set to report lower output. India, set to produce higher output will benefit from exports. Higher MSP (Rs 3000/quintal - 2,500/quintal) will also benefit farmers.

2. Bumper potato crop has become a curse for farmers instead of helping them. The prices have dropped down to Rs 350-400/quintal

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

SMP for cane, Global Industry Analysis Report

1. Farmers are urging the government to raise the Statutory Minimum Price (SMP) of sugarcane. The current price is Rs811.80 /ton.

2. Global Industry Analysis (GIA) has come out with a research report on Agriculture (priced $1950). "The report titled "Agriculture: A Global Outlook", published by Global Industry Analysts, provides a collection of statistical anecdotes, market briefs, and concise summaries of research findings. Discussions in the report take note of burning issues consuming the world agriculture industry, such as, food security for nations, food integrity, environmental degradation, and the growing notoriety of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Also covered are evolving trends i.e. the green revolution brought about by organic farming, e-commerce penetration in agrochemical trading, and the impact of biotechnology on agriculture, among others. Punctuated with 64 data rich, information laden tables and easy to understand charts and graphs, the discussion on the global market offers exclusive coverage on Agricultural Biotechnology, Agriculture and Environmental Diagnostics, and Agrochemicals, among others. Annotated with tables that enumerate key research findings, the regional markets briefly abstracted, and summarized include the US, Canada, and Japan, among others. The report provides an indexed, easy-to-refer, fact-finder directory listing the addresses, and contact details of 415 companies worldwide."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Investment in food

The profile of food investment is changing in middle east because of constraints in agricultural capacity and rising food prises. This analysis discusses the changes.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Updates: Netafim, Bihar floods, Trade pacts and Pusa1121

1. Netafim, the world’s largest provider of smart water solutions for agriculture, inaugurates its second plant in Chennai, India. "Netafim™, an Israel based Agri-Business pioneer and the world’s largest provider of smart water solutions for agriculture, has been delivering innovative solutions that increase crop yields and preserve water resources. Netafim™ is active in over 110 countries across 5 continents, employing over 2600 employees, has more than 35 subsidiaries and 13 manufacturing facilities in 11 countries."

2. Bihar floods have led to losses worth more that 150 crores. Business-standard carried this story. Worst affected are the crops like paddy and maize and also pulses, vegetables and banana.

3. India is pushing on talks involving free trade of goods, services and investments with Japan and South Korea. Parallel talks are also going on with Thailand in similar lines.

4. Conflicts surrounding Pusa rise continues. Limited exports of Pusa rice has been allowed. Although it has not been provided the new definition of basmati rice in spite of meeting the necessary requirements.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

MFIs selling farm loans to banks

Business-standard reports that private banks are buying loan portfolios from MFIs. Its a win-win kind of situation where MFI's benefit by reducing their asset size and hence increasing CAR, while banks try to meet the priority sector lending targets.

So banks are using these kind of tricks to extend 13.5 per cent of their advances as direct agricultural loans. This does not increase the credit availability for farmers so though this scheme may be good for MFIs and banks but may not be so for farmers.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Organic farming, Basmati rice

1. Organic farming is gaining some interest across farmers and consumers. We can see special sections in grocery retail chains dedicated for organic farming products. One of the companies working in this domain is Sresta, founded by an IIM alumnus. ET covers a story here.

2. Businessline carried the story about late inclusion of Pusa 1121 into new definition of basmati rice. The story also explains the economy of paddy cultivation on a per acre basis.
“As it is, Pusa 1121 prices have been going down in the global market and the delay in notifying the evolved variety would be a final nail in the coffin of the growers of this variety of rice.”