Categories
Agriculture Strategy

Farmers to produce what the market wants

For the first time, the state government is going to regulate the production of crops in India. Farmers in Telangana are going to produce what the market wants. It’s a big move in the right direction and will set ground for a new beginning of Demand Driven Agriculture. This Kharif season, the farmers will be asked to grow paddy on 50 lakh acres (including the Telangana Sona variety on 10 lakh acres of land), cotton on 50 lakh acres and red gram on 10 lakh acres. Farm lands nearer to urban areas will grow vegetables and horticultural crops to tap the demand.

“One should cultivate crops which sell well. They don’t buy whatever you produce”.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao

Asking the farmers to strictly adhere to the cropping pattern, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has said that government sops such as ‘Rythu Bandhu’ (₹5,000 each for farmers in both the seasons for every acre they own) will be stopped to the farmers who don’t conform to the cropping plan.

Farmers base next years supply purely on the previous price and assume that next year’s price will be the same as last year (adaptive expectations). These fluctuations in price may cause some farmers to go out of business.

Limitations of Cobweb theory

As the government is attempting to go beyond advisory and extension roles, it will revamp the Department of Agriculture to take up additional responsibilities. The government will also bring in necessary amendments to the Seed Act.

Read more at The Hindu Business Line

Categories
Agriculture Education

Agriculture Training Support Program in Alberta

Agriculture Training Support Program is intended to offset costs for COVID-19 safety and training, including the costs for personal protective equipment and to remove any barriers to getting Albertans safely working. As part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership Risk Management programs, this program will improve the agriculture and agri-food sector’s ability to anticipate, mitigate and prepare for risks that could have a major financial impact on the livestock and plant industries, or affect human health and safety.

By providing up to $5 million in support to farmers, agri-businesses and food processors, the program helps offset the cost to train new employees safely in new agri-food roles.

The maximum government contribution under the program is $2,000 per new employee, up to a maximum of $50,000 per employer. Grants will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis until available program funding is fully allocated. In addition, approximately $1 million in funding will be targeted for meat processors to provide support for new hires to undertake meat-cutting training.

Read more at Canada.ca

Categories
Intellectual Property Rights

GI tag for Manipur black rice, ‘Chakhao’

Chakhao, a scented glutinous rice which has been in cultivation in Manipur over centuries, is characterised by its special aroma. Chakhao has also been used by traditional medical practitioners as part of traditional medicine. GI has great potential to play a major role in trade and there is a possibility of preserving many traditional skills.

As defined by WIPO, a geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. A study published by the European Commission concluded that the sales value of a product with a protected name is on average double that for similar products without a certification.

The application for Chakhao was filed by the Consortium of Producers of Chakhao (Black Rice), Manipur and was facilitated by the Department of Agriculture, Government of Manipur and the North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited.

Read more at NorthEast Now

Categories
Agriculture Fisheries

‘Survive, reboot, and grow,’ is the ‘new normal’

Amid the challenges in global food systems due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department of Agriculture (DA), Philippines, is ready to take on the challenge of the ‘new normal’ facing the country’s agriculture and fishery sector. It is imperative for the government to rethink and restructure its policies and practices to prevent from being overwhelmed by future crisis. DA is considering a three-pronged strategy to bring agriculture back to normalcy.

  1. We must simply surpass this global crisis.
  2. We must reboot and reform our agricultural policies, and refocus our priorities to minimize the adverse effects.
  3. The agriculture and fishery sector must grow, by attracting more investments and resources, and partnering with the private sector.

Together, we will survive, reboot, and grow toward a food-secured nation.

Read more at Philippine Information Agency

Categories
Milk

FDA has given dairies the official permission to label their skim milk as “skim milk.”

Skim milk is milk with the fat or cream removed—skimmed off. According to FDA guidelines, in order to be called “skim milk,” dairies had to add vitamins A and D to the milk before it could be lawfully distributed. Dairies or creameries who did not add those vitamins were prohibited from labeling their skim milk as skim milk. Instead, they were required to call it “imitation skim milk” or “imitation milk product,” even though their skim milk was not, in fact, an imitation of anything.

The letter that the US FDA sent on April 22, 2020 informed South Mountain Creamery LLC that the agency will no longer enforce the “imitation” labeling requirement and will no longer ask the states to enforce it.

There’s a market for “all-natural” skim milk without the added vitamins, and dairies and creameries who want to offer this product have been battling federal and state regulators for years. “Words mean what the public understands them to mean, not what the government wishes they meant,” said IJ Attorney Anya Bidwell.

Read more at Institute for Justice

Categories
Crop Insurance

Crop insurance brings food security for farmers

The R4 Rural Resilience Initiative by the World Food Programme (WFP) provides an important platform for educating smallholder farmers on climate risk adaptation. The initiative, which began in 2017 in Kitui County in eastern Kenya, enables the poorest farmers to manage climate risk through crop insurance that they can access by participating in risk reduction activities. Under the R4 Initiative, farmers are financially compensated if their crop yields are low which enables them to keep their animals and other assets and still be food secure.

A farmer is compensated for the difference between the weight of what they have harvested and the average weight of the historical yields of that given ecological area

Crop insurance payouts have been critical in protecting poor families in times of severe drought or other shocks. However, insurance alone is not a magic bullet; that’s why crop insurance is integrated with improved farming techniques and infrastructure. If more smallholder farmers had access to this kind of initiative, the need and cost of humanitarian assistance could be vastly reduced.

Read more at WFP_Africa

Categories
Agriculture

Despite lockdown, producers didn’t change planting plans in USA

As compared to 2019, planted acreage in 2020 is as follows:

  • Corn Planted Acreage at 97.0 million acres Up 8 Percent
  • Soybean Acreage at 83.5 million acres Up 10 Percent
  • All Wheat Acreage at 44.7 million acres Down 1 Percent
  • All Cotton Acreage at 13.7 million acres Down Less Than 1 Percent

As compared to 2019, grain stocks on March 1, 2020 is as follows:

  • Corn Stocks totaled 7.95 billion bushels Down 8 Percent
  • Soybean Stocks totaled 2.25 billion bushels Down 17 Percent
  • All Wheat Stocks totaled 1.41 billion bushels Down 11 Percent

Read more at USDA Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks

Categories
Policy

Data driven agriculture leads to Sustainable Ag

Putting data to use requires an effective balancing of economic and social interests while minimizing trade-offs. Technologies like genetic modification, protected cultivation, automation help produce more food than we need to survive. The current food system, with its reliance on a handful of crops, is inadequate and unsustainable in the face of climate change and population growth. The United Nations warned that the current global food system is inadequate and unsustainable. Even farmers are being vilified by many—including those in the environmental, scientific and policymaking communities—as enemies of our planet, as indiscriminate polluters and wasters of our air, soil and water resources. 

To meet this challenge, the researchers proposed a two-step process. The initial step focuses on the design of a sustainable framework—with goals and objectives—guided and quantified by digital agriculture technologies. Implementation, the second step, involves increased public-private investment in technologies like digital agriculture, and a focus on applicable, effective policy. Policymakers must make use of digital agriculture to help drive policy including tax incentives and subsidies to support farmers working toward a more sustainable system.

It does no good to design a policy that the farmer will ignore.

Read more at Nature

Categories
Investments

African Development Bank’s seed-bulking scheme boosts cassava yields in Zambia

For centuries, African farmers across the continent have grown cassava. But Zambia’s cassava growers were not deriving as much out of the crop as was possible. Farmers in the southern African country used low-quality planting materials and suffered from poor harvests leading to hunger and poverty across many of the country’s villages. To tackle this problem, the African Development Bank, through its Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation in the Savannahs (TAAT-S) flagship initiative, implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), provided Zambian farmers with a solution known as “seed bulking”.

This involves collecting seeds from a target crop and then growing them in a controlled setting. Using this method, farmers can multiply their bank of seeds, making them more secure and able to scale-up productivity. Five types of high-yielding cassava seeds were successfully introduced in an effort to boost yields and make the landlocked nation less reliant on food imports. Experts believe that modified seeds could help millions of smallholder farmers to get bigger harvests and earn extra cash.

Read more at AFDB

Categories
Policy

Young millennials as the future of Philippine agriculture

The Department of Agriculture (DA), Philippines, is set to engage 900 fresh graduates (batch 2019-2020) as ‘frontliners’ to assist in the implementation of agriculture programs in each congressional district nationwide. Millennials will be tapped as on-the-job trainees (OJTs) for about six months, given an attractive allowance, and later will get employed and detailed at each congressional district under the DA-Agricultural Program Coordinating Offices (APCOs). Each province has a DA-APCO that coordinates with local government units in the implementation of agricultural banner programs — rice, corn, high value crops, livestock (small and large ruminants) and poultry. It makes recommendations and conducts monitoring services to ensure that national and regional DA policies and programs are effectively and efficiently cascaded at the local level.

Eventually, when their OJT stint is over they can develop their respective agri-fishery business plan to be pursued as a project in their own localities. The initiative is being tied up with the DA’s Kapital Access for Young Agripreneurs (KAYA), a loan program launched in January 2020 to entice young Filipinos to engage in farming and fishery ventures and agribusiness and food processing enterprises. Under the management of the DA-Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), the KAYA financing program, with a total funding of P1B, lends P300,000 to P500,000 per borrower, payable in five years at zero interest.

Read more at Philippine Information Agency