May Agriculture Current Affairs 1st

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Tripura government launches agro entrepreneur facilitation desk to boost economy

On May 1, 2020, The Tripura government launched an “Agro-Entrepreneur Facilitation Desk” to help the entrepreneurs of the state to get subsidies and incentives from Central government funding agencies and National Horticulture Board or NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development), the new desk would help them about availing the facilities.

Key Points:

i.About agro-entrepreneur desk: The state cabinet has approved the setting up of the desk, which will operate from the Directorate of Horticulture and Soil Conservation in the state capital, Agartala.

ii.The desk will be operated by those who hold a masters’ degree in business administration (MBA) or an undergraduate degree in science. The state government has worked out an estimated budget of Rs 24 lakh for the exercise, including the salaries of new hires and other related official activities.

iii.Funds: The funds for the project will be sourced from the Technical Support Group Funds of the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture.

iv.The state government encourages the processing and marketing of fruits such as pineapple, lemon, jackfruit, and also vegetables that are grown in abundance in Tripura, in order to increase the farmers income.

v.The government plans a target of encouraging 2,000 youths in joining agro-based business within a year and initiatives are being given to facilitate 400 people to start the business in the agriculture sector.

vi.Tripura Chief Minister (CM) Biplab Kumar Deb also mentioned that the primary sector activities like agriculture, horticulture, dairy industries would help in reviving the state’s economy which suffered losses due to lockdown.

About Tripura:
Capital– Agartala.
Governor– Ramesh Bias.

CSIR Launched ‘Kisan Sabha’ App to Connect Farmers to Supply Chain and Freight Transportation Management System

On 1st May 2020 Dr.Trilochan Mohapatra, Director General(DG), Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR) and Secretary Department of Agriculture Research Education(DARE), remotely launched the Kisan Sabha app developed by CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CSIR-CRRI), New Delhi to connect with the supply chain and Freight Transportation Management System for the farmers trying to reach the market, seed/fertilizer procurements to make
timely delivery of the produce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Points:

i.Primary study for understanding the issues and gaps in current scenario to develop the Kisan Sabha, was done with more than 500 farmers and transporters in Asia’s biggest Azadpur Mandi The representatives of industry, farmers, team of CSIR-CRRI and other senior scientists of CSIR remotely witnessed the launch of the application.

ii.Dr. Mohapatra offered that ICAR can work with CSIR and the Kisan Sabha app can use the network of Krishi Vigyan Kendra(KVK) for the implementation.

iii.The “Kisan Sabha” a portal that provides solutions for the farmers, transporters, pesticides/fertilizer dealers, cold store and warehouse owners, mandi dealers, retail outlets, online stores, institutional buyers and other related entities.

iv.Kisan Sabha has 6 modules that takes care of Farmers/Mandi Dealers/Transporters/Mandi Board Members/Service Providers/Consumers and also provides a platform for people to buy directly from the farmers

v.Kisan Sabha supports the farmers by providing economical and timely logistics support and reduces the interference of middlemen and connects the institutional buyers and increases their profit margins.

vi.The app will compare the nearest mandis, booking of freight vehicles cost and provide best market rates to benefit the farmers.

About CRRI:
Director– Satish Chandra
Headquarters– New Delhi
Established in– 1952

Kashmir saffron gets GI tag

On May 1, 2020 After chak-hao, the black rice of Manipur, Gorakhpur terracotta & Kovilpatti kadalai-mittai, the Kashmir saffron cultivated and harvested in the Karewa (highlands) of Jammu and Kashmir gets Geographical Indication(GI) tag by the Geographical Indications Registry.

The Directorate of Agriculture, Government of Jammu and Kashmir, and is facilitated by the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology, Kashmir, and Saffron Research Station, Dussu (Pampore).

Uniqueness It is the only saffron in the world grown at an altitude of 1,600 metre(m) to 1,800 m Above Mean Sea Level(AMSL), which differentiates from other saffron varieties available around the world. Iran is the largest producer of saffron and India is a close competitor.

Features

i.It has long & thick stigmas, natural deep-red colour, high aroma, bitter flavour, chemical-free processing, and high quantity of crocin (colouring strength), safranal (flavour) and picrocrocin (bitterness).

ii.It is a globally renowned spice, rejuvenates health, used in cosmetics and for medicinal purposes, associated with traditional Kashmiri cuisine and represents the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Key Points

It is a spice grown in some regions of Kashmir, including Pulwama(saffron bowl of Kashmir), Budgam, Kishtwar and Srinagar. Iran is the largest producer of saffron and India is a close competitor.

Types of saffron in Kashmir

i.Lachha Saffron- Stigmas are separated from the flowers and dried without further processing

ii.Mongra Saffron- Stigmas are detached from the flower, dried in the sun and processed traditionally(packed loosely in air-tight containers)

iii.Guchhi Saffron- It is like Lachha but has stigmas joined together in a bundle with a cloth thread.

About GI tag:

In India, GI registration is administered by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 which came into force with effect from September 2003. Darjeeling Tea(2004) is the 1st indian product to get a GI tag.

Other Indian products with GI tag– Tirupati Laddu, Madhubani Paintings, Nagpur Orange, Kashmir Pashmina, Rajasthani Kathputlis, and Lucknow Chikan Crafts among others.

200 new mandis added to the e-NAM platform from 7 States: Narendra Singh Tomar

On May 1, 2020 The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar has added 200 new mandis to the e-National Agriculture Market(e-NAM) platform from 7 States & stated that by May 2020 there will be around 1,000 Mandis joining the e-NAM platform for marketing of Agricultural produce at a function in Krishi Bhawan through video conference.

Key Points

i.Live trading between mandis from Kurnool and Hubli in groundnuts and maize took place

ii.The 200 markets integrated with the e-NAM platform are: Andhra Pradesh (11 mandis), Gujarat (25 mandis), Odisha (16 mandis), Rajasthan (94 mandis), Tamil Nadu (27 mandis), Uttar Pradesh (25 mandis) & Karnataka (02 mandis).

iii.Currently there are 585 e-NAM mandis in 16 States and 02 Union Territories on adding the new mandis it will come to the total of 785.

iv.It is the 1st milestone achieved in the path of integrating 415 new markets across the country & is the 1st time Karnataka is added to the list of e-NAM States.

v.It has gained more strength by reaching out to more farmers & traders of these new mandis, aiming to reach the last mile farmer and change the way they sell agricultural produce.

e-NAM integrated with UMP For the 1st time in India 2 different e-trading platforms e-NAM & Unified Market Platform(UMP) of Karnataka’s Rashtriya e-Market Services (ReMS), an e-trading platform promoted by the Karnataka State Agriculture Marketing Board for Agri commodities of the scale will be made interoperable

Benefits
Facilitate traders across both platforms & e-NAM to execute flawless trading in both the platforms by using Single Sign On framework. Help farmers of Karnataka to sell their produce to a large number of traders registered with e-NAM and even farmers from e-NAM mandis in other States will be able to sell their produce to Karnataka traders who are enrolled with ReMS platform of Karnataka & will promote inter-State trade between the States on-boarded on e-NAM platform & Karnataka.

Highlights of e-NAM

As of 30th April 2020, total trade volume of 3.41 Crore MT & 37 Lakh numbers (Bamboo & Coconut) collectively worth approximately Rs 1 lakh crore have been recorded on e-NAM platform. 1.66 Crore Farmers & 1.28 lakh traders have registered on e-NAM platform, currently there are more than 1,000 Farmers Producer Organisations(FPOs) on-boarded on e-NAM platform.

It facilitates trade beyond mandi/ state borders. A total of 233 mandis have participated in inter- mandi trade within 12 States, where 13 States/UTs have participated in the inter-state trading on e-NAM platform which allows farmers to interact directly with distantly located traders.

Participants

The Ministers of State(MoS) for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Parshottan Rupala & Kailash Choudhary, Secretary of Department Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare(AC&FW), Sanjay Agarwal, and senior officers of the Ministry.

Few launches by the ministry to tackle COVID-19:

i. 2 modules: FPO module- To help the farmer members of FPO to trade from their collection center; Warehouse module- farmers can sell their stored produce in Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority(WDRA) registered warehouses, which are declared as deemed mandi by States.

Aim– To help farmers to sell their produce without bringing them to mandi

ii.“Kisan Rath” mobile app to help farmers to find suitable transport vehicles/tractors to carry their produce to nearby mandi and warehouse etc.

Constituency of Ministers:
Narendra Singh Tomar- Morena, Madhya Pradesh
Parshottan Rupala- Gujarat
Kailash Choudhary- Baytoo, Rajasthan

Andhra Pradesh CM rolls out ‘CMAPP’ to monitor farming needs

On May 05, 2020, Andhra Pradesh (AP) Chief Minister (CM) Yeduguri Sandinti Jaganmohan Reddy has launched a mobile application ‘CMAPP (Comprehensive Monitoring of Agriculture, Price, and Procurement)’ with the aim to monitor the agriculture needs of the farmers in the state.

Key Points:

i.The mobile app showcases all data relating to the cost, procurement, and marketing facilities of the farmers for their agriculture produce.

ii.Respective officials of the state are entrusted to monitor & review village level agriculture conditions including the sale and procurement of crops on a daily basis & all the joint collectors work on agriculture department related will be trained through a quick session on the use of the app.

iii.AP Agricultural Mission Vice-Chairman MVS Nagi Reddy & Special Chief Secretary of Agricultural Department Poonam Malakondaiah were also present during the launch.

About Andhra Pradesh (AP):
Capital– Amaravati
Governor– Biswabhusan Harichandan
State Fruit– Mango
State Tree– Neem
Dams– Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, Srisailam Dam, Polavaram Dam, Tatipudi Dam

Govt to run awareness campaign in 1 lakh villages on balanced use of fertilisers for FY20-21

While reviewing the Soil Health Programme in New Delhi, Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar has informed that the government will run a mission mode awareness campaign in FY2020-2021 in over 1 lakh villages for promoting use of bio/organic fertilisers and reducing consumption of chemical soil nutrients.

In this regard, Soil Testing Labs by youth having education in agriculture, Women Self Help Groups, FPOs (Farmer’s Produce Organization) etc. will be set up at village level Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme.

Also Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare will launch a comprehensive campaign on soil test based rational application of fertilisers and promotion of organic farming including Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Paddhati (BPKP) for safe nutritious food in association with the Departments of Panchayat Raj, Rural Development and Drinking Water and Sanitation.

About SHC scheme

Deterioration of soil chemical, physical and biological health is considered as one of the reasons for stagnation of agricultural productivity in India. Launched in 2015, under this Soil Health Cards are provided to all farmers at an interval of 2 years. These cards provide information to farmers on nutrient status of their soil along with recommendation on appropriate dosage of nutrients to be applied for improving soil health and its fertility.

A 2017 study by the National Productivity Council (NPC) found that the SHC scheme has promoted sustainable farming and led to a decrease of use of chemical fertilizer application in the range of 8-10%.

NABARD disburses Rs 12,767 crore to State Co-op Banks & RRBs to extend credit to farmers

On May 5, 2020, The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development(NABARD) disburses Rs 12,767 crore to State Co-operative(Co-op) Banks & Regional Rural Banks(RRBs) across the country to increase their resources for extending credit to farmers during the lockdown due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.The loans are being offered for one year at an interest rate of 4.8 per cent.

In total there are 33 State Co-ops & 45 RRBs in the country & are vital intermediaries in the rural credit structure.

Major Highlights

i.NABARD so far has extended the refinance(May 4 & 5) to the rural banks in 15 states which includes- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

ii.Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has announced a Rs 50,000 crore refinance facility for 3 All-India Financial Institution(AIFI) namely- NABARD, the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), and the National Housing Bank (NHB) on April 17.

iii.Of the Rs 50,000 crore refinance, NABARD received Rs 25,000 crore for refinancing RRBs, co-operative banks and Micro Finance Institutions(MFIs).

iv.Since the second half of March 2020 when the lockdown came into force in different states as a measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, NABARD has disbursed nearly Rs 30,021 crore to rural banks.

v.Still the development finance institution has not disbursed any amount from the RBI’s refinance window.

vi.AIFIs play a significant role in meeting the long-term funding requirements of agriculture and the rural sector, small industries, housing finance companies, Non-banking Finance Companies(NBFC), and MFIs.

About NABARD:
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chairman– Harsh Kumar Bhanwala

Indian Scientists discover 3 new species of fishes under genus ‘Dawkinsia’ in western ghats

On May 9, 2020, Scientists from the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) based in Mumbai (Maharashtra), the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune (Maharashtra), have jointly discovered a three new fish species under the genus ‘Dawkinsia’ namely Dawkinsia apsara, Dawkinsia austellus, Dawkinsia crassa.

Key Points:

i.The species’ common names are filament barb, an active, lively, and peaceful fishes found in the rivers of peninsular India and Sri Lanka . They are marketable among aquarium hobbyists and are wild-collected and captive-bred for trade.

ii.About the 3 species: The 1st species ‘Dawkinsia apsara’, found in Karnataka’s Sita and Sowparnika rivers, has been christened after the beautiful celestial nymphs in Hindu mythology.

The 2nd species ‘Dawkinsia austellus’, found from the Muvattupuzha river in Kerala, has been named referring to the Latin word for ‘South’ and refers to the distribution range of the species in Southern Kerala. The 3rd species ‘Dawkinsia crassa’, found in the Netravati river of Coastal Karnataka, has been named after the Latin word for ‘round/thick’ referring to the rounded appearance of the fish.

iii.This research on filament barb is a remarkable contribution to Indian Ichthyology ( branch of zoology devoted to the study of fish) and will help clear taxonomic confusions related to the small cyprinids of the genus Dawkinsia, to stabilise the specification of Dawkinsia assimilis & Dawkinsia lepida (the species of filament barbs described by British ichthyologists in the 1800s).

iv.The discovery has been published in the international journal Vertebrate Zoology, which is published from Senckenberg Museum in Germany & the lead author of the study was Unmesh Katwate, Fish Scientist, Freshwater Research Unit, BNHS, and Ph.D student at KUFOS.

Registration Committee recommends banning use of TB drug on crops

The Registration Committee (RC) under the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee(CIBRC) has recommended the use of Tuberculosis(TB) drugs(antibiotics) like streptomycin and tetracycline to be banned completely with immediate effect on crops where other options were available for bacterial disease control. This recommendation was accepted.

Report submitted

The RC held its 414th meeting on May 1, 2020, under the Chairmanship of S. K. Malhotra, Agriculture Commissioner & Chairman, Registration Committee through video conference, where a report was submitted by the sub-committee on production, sale and use of streptomycin sulphate (9%) and tetracycline hydrochloride (1 %).

Other accepted recommendation of the subcommittee are:

i.Streptomycin and tetracycline use will be phased out by 2022-end for crops for which no alternatives were available. Till then, the antibiotics could be used on crops strictly as per the label claim.

ii.The diseases can also be managed by using Integrated pest management (IPM), and other practices. In the meantime, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR) is requested to initiate research to search for better and safer alternatives.

iii.ICAR may plan in this direction to ensure the availability of efficacious alternatives for all the recommended crops in a time-bound manner.

Key Point

The RC has directed the Secretariat of CIBRC to forward the report to ICAR and Department of Agriculture Cooperation(DAC) for necessary action on suggesting alternatives.

Major Highlights

i.During the World Antibiotic Awareness Week in November 2019, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) released a detailed assessment which highlights the excessive misuse of important antibiotics in crops. It had suggested measures to contain this malpractice and regulate it.

ii.The assessment was carried out in agricultural farms of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana where CSE has found that streptocycline, a 90:10 combination of streptomycin and tetracycline, was used by farmers in high doses in crops.

iii.CIBRC has allowed the use of streptocycline for 8 crops & was found to be used on many more crops in practice.

iv.CSE had recommended that antibiotics should not be used as pesticides for crops, but preserved for treatment of bacterial infections in humans. It had shared its recommendations with all stakeholders concerned, including the CIBRC.

Streptomycin

Streptomycin has important use for previously treated TB patients, who make up over 10% of the total estimated TB incidence in India & also used in multidrug-resistant TB patients and in certain cases of TB meningitis (brain TB).

It is recognised as a critically important medicine for human use by the World Health Organization(WHO)

About CIBRC:

The Central Insecticides Board & Registration Committee (CIBRC) was set up by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare in the year 1970 to regulate the import, manufacture, sale, transport, distribution and use of insecticides. The insecticides are regulated under Insecticides Act, 1968 and Insecticides Rules, 1971.

77 new mandis from 10 States & UTs integrated with the e-NAM platform for marketing of Agricultural produce

In order to strengthen agriculture marketing and facilitate farmers to sell their harvested produce through the online portal, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar has launched integration of 177 new mandis with the National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) from 10 States & UTs.Now the total number of eNAM
mandis across country is 962(including 177 mandis).

Centre sets up “Rice Export Promotion Forum” to promote rice export

On 12th May 2020, Centre set up a new body Rice Export Promotion Forum (REPF) to give impetus to rice exports under the aegis of Agricultural and Processed Foods Export Promotion Development Authority(Apeda).

Key points:

i.The Constitution of Rice Export Promotion Forum has been done considering the importance of exporting rice and inherent the potentials and multifarious issues faced in the exportation.

ii.Basmati and non-basmati varieties are India’s largest commodity of agri-export basket.In 2018-2019 the shipments stood at 7.77 billion USD with 4.72 billion USD by basmati export and 3.05 billion USD by non-basmati.

iii.The Rice Export Promotion Forum will be comprised of representatives from the rice industry, exporters, officials of Apeda, Commerce Ministry, Agriculture Ministry and the Directors of Agriculture from West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Odisha who are the major rice producing states.

iv.The identity and anticipated developments in the production and exports and the necessary policy measures will be monitored by the EPF.

v.EPF will facilitate, support and provide solutions to the rice producers, exporters and other relevant stakeholders.

vi.EPF will identify, document the particulars and reach out the stakeholders in the production and supply chain of the rice export and increase the export to the global market.

vii.India was allowed to export non-basmati from 2011 which led India to become the largest exporter of cereals. viii.The Production rate has been growing steadily in the past several year, From 96 million tonnes in 2010-2011 went upto 117.47 million tonnes in 2019-2020

About Apeda:

Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority is an apex body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, responsible for the export promotion of agricultural products.
Chairman- Paban K.Borthakur
Director- Tarun Bajaj
Established- December 1985
Head Office- New Delhi

Forest loss rate globally declined from 2015 to 2020: FRA 2020

On May 13, 2020 According to the Global Forest Resources Assessment(FRA) 2020 released by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO), the forest loss rate in 2015-2020 has declined to an estimated 10 million hectares(mha), down from 12 mha in 2010-2015.

Major highlights of the report

Key Points

i.The world has lost 178 mha of forest since 1990, an area the size of Libya. The net rate of forest loss has decreased significantly during 1990–2020 due to a reduction in deforestation in some countries, increase in forest area in others through afforestation and the natural expansion of forests.

ii.The rate of net forest loss declined from 7.8 mha per year in the decade 1990–2000 to 5.2 mha per year in 2000–2010 and 4.7 mha per year in 2010–2020.

World regions

i.Among the world’s regions, Africa has the largest annual rate of net forest loss in 2010–2020, at 3.9 mha, followed by South America, at 2.6 mha, whereas Asia has the highest net gain of forest area in 2010–2020, followed by Oceania and Europe.

ii.Both Europe and Asia recorded substantially lower rates of net gain in 2010–2020 than in 2000–2010. Oceania has experienced net losses of forest area in the decades 1990–2000 and 2000–2010.

Forest area

i.The world’s total forest area was 4.06 billion hectares(bha), which was 31% of the total land area; this area was equivalent to 0.52 ha per person.

ii.Tropical(45%) is the largest proportion of the world’s forests followed by boreal, temperate and subtropical. More than 54% of the world’s forests were in only five countries namely- Russia, Brazil, Canada, the United States of America and China.

iii.The forest area that naturally regenerates globally has decreased since 1990, but the area of planted forests increased by 123 mha. The rate of increase in the area of planted forest slowed in the last 10 years.

iv.Plantation forests cover about 131 mha- 3% of the global forest area and 45% of the total area of planted forests. The highest percent of plantation forests were in South America & the lowest were in Europe.

v.There is an estimated 726 mha of forests in protected areas around the world. South America had the highest share of forests in protected areas(31%). The forest area in protected areas globally increased by 191 mha since 1990, but the rate of annual increase slowed in 2010–2020.

About FAO:
Headquarters– Rome, Italy
Director General– QU Dongyu

West Bengal govt launches ‘Matir Smristi’ scheme to utilise 50,000-acre barren land in 6 districts

On May 14, 2020, The West Bengal (WB) Government (govt) launched ‘Matir Smristi’ scheme to utilise 50,000 acres of barren land in 6 districts for income-generating activities like horticulture and pisciculture involving the locals.

Chief Minister (CM) Mamata Banerjee also added that the scheme will benefit around 2.5 lakh people in rural Bengal.

Key Points:

i.About Matir Smristi: There is at least 50,000 acre of barren land in Bankura, Birbhum, Purulia, Jhargram, West Burdwan and West Midnapore districts, which cannot produce anything naturally nor can the farmers cultivate on the strip.

ii.West Bengal CM also mentioned that the work has been initiated in 6,500 acres of land at the micro-level and this is an environment-friendly scheme.

iii.Farmers will be involved in constituting cooperative societies, which will get financial support from the cooperative banks. Preference would be given to locals for carrying out the project in which “lakhs of women self-help groups (SHG)” will be involved.

iv.Festival advance & bonus: The State Government also announced the grant of an ad hoc bonus of Rs 4,200 as the festival advances for the year 2020-21, an increase of Rs 200 over the year 2019. Also, the salary ceiling for eligibility has been increased from Rs 30,000 to Rs 34,250.

v.The salary ceiling for eligibility has been increased from Rs 30,000 to Rs 34,250.

vi.The festival advance is raised from Rs 8,000 in 2019- 20 to Rs 10,000 and the salary ceiling for eligibility from Rs 34,250 to Rs 41,100.

vii.This increase in bonus and festival advance, and also the eligibility will benefit over 10 lakh government employees and employees of panchayat and municipal bodies, university and school staff. The total financial implication will be about Rs 400 crore.

About West Bengal:
Capital– Kolkata.
Governor– Jagdeep Dhankhar.

Govt introduces new scheme of 2% interest subvention on working capital loans for dairy sector

Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has introduced a new scheme “Interest subvention on Working Capital Loans for Dairy sector” for supporting Dairy Cooperatives and Farmer Producer Organizations (SDC&FPO) engaged in dairy activities. A budgetary provision of Rs 100 Crore earmarked for this and will be implemented during 2020-21.

In order to meet the working Capital needs of the Cooperatives and Farmer owned milk producer companies, Interest subvention will be given on working capital loan taken from scheduled Commercial Banks/Regional Rural Banks (RRBs)/Cooperative Banks/Financial Institutions between 1st April 2020 and 31st March 2021 by Cooperatives/ FPOs for conversion of milk into conserved commodities and other milk products.

Interest subvention of 2% per annum provided. The scheme has made provisions for providing interest subvention of 2% per annum, with an additional incentive of 2% per annum interest subvention to be given in case of prompt and timely repayment/interest servicing. This
will help to ease out the working capital crisis for handling surplus milk and enable timely payment to the farmers.

The scheme will be implemented through National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), Anand, Gujarat.

Benefit of scheme

It will help Producer Owned Institutions in supplying quality milk and milk products to consumers at a reasonable price and will also help in stabilizing the domestic market price of conserved dairy commodities and other milk products.

About Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying
Union Minister– Giriraj Singh
Ministers of State (MoS)– Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Pratap Chandra Sarangi

Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan Part-3: Package for agriculture Fisheries and Food Processing Sectors detailed by Nirmala Sitharaman

On May 15, 2020, Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman detailed the third part of the Special economic and comprehensive package of Rs 20 lakh crores to support Indian economy in the fight against COVID-19 during her 3rd press conference in New Delhi.

The Part 3 of “Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan” (self-reliant India Movement) is consisted of 11 measures. 8 measures are for improving agricultural infrastructure and 3 measures are for administrative and governance reforms, including removing restrictions on sale and stock limits of farm produce.

Following are the details of the third tranche of package starting with 8 measures to strengthen
Infrastructure Logistics and Capacity Building for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Processing Sectors

–>NABARD anchored Rs 1 lakh crore Agri Infrastructure Fund for farm-gate infrastructure for farmers. The Central government has allocated Rs 1 lakh crore to fund Agriculture Infrastructure Projects at farm-gate & aggregation points (Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies, Farmers Producer Organizations, Agriculture entrepreneurs, Start-ups, etc.). This fund will be financed and managed by National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD). This fund will be used for setting up cold chains and post-harvest management infrastructure.

About NABARD:
Headquarter– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chairman– Harsh Kumar Bhanwala

–>Rs 10,000 crore scheme for Formalisation of Micro Food Enterprises (MFE)
With an objective to promote “Vocal for Local with Global outreach”, Rs 10,000 crore schemes have been launched by the government to help 2 lakh MFEs with technical upgradation to attain FSSAI food standards, build brands and marketing.

This scheme will support existing MFEs, Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), Self Help Groups (SHGs), and Cooperatives. It will follow a cluster-based approach i.e. government would focus on the particular produce of a region to boost its production, marketing and health and safety standards. For eg: mango in Uttar Pradesh (UP), kesar in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), bamboo shoots in North-East, chilli in Andhra Pradesh, tapioca in Tamil Nadu.
These measures would also help in the export of these products in untapped markets.

What is Vocal for Local?

It is an initiative started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi by urging people to use local products and also advertise them to make them global.Buying Indian products will give the required boost to Indian economy, which is facing a downward trend amid lockdown to contain COVID-19 spread.

–>20,000 crore allocated for fisherman through Pradhan Mantri MatsyaSampada Yojana (PMMSY) The government has allocated Rs 20,000 crore for fishermen through the PMMSY for development of marine and inland fisheries. Of this, Rs 11,000 crore will be allocated for activities in marine, inland fisheries and aquaculture while Rs 9,000 crore for developing infrastructure of fishing harbors, cold chains, markets, etc.

The development will lead to additional Fish Production of 70 lakh tones over 5 years, and double the exports to Rs 1,00,000 crore. It also generates employment to over 55 lakh persons and doubles the exports to Rs 1,00,000 crore.

The focus will be on Islands, Himalayan States, North-east and Aspirational Districts with a provision of Ban Period Support to fishermen (during the period fishing is not permitted), Personal & Boat Insurance.

What is PMMSY?

Initiated in 2019, it aims to promote Blue Revolution (Neeli Kranti) i.e. development of fish and aqautic products, to address infrastructure gaps in the fisheries sector. It was established under the Department of Fisheries.

–>Rs. 13,343 cr National Animal Disease Control Programme launched
Centre has launched National Animal Disease Control Programme for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis with total outlay of Rs. 13,343 crore to ensure 100% vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population (total 53 crore animals) for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and for brucellosis. Till date, 1.5 crore cows & buffaloes tagged and vaccinated.

–>Rs. 15,000 cr Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund to be formulated
An Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) worth Rs 15,000 crorewill be set upby the Centre to support private investment in dairy processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure.The incentives will be given for establishing plants for exports of niche products.

–>Rs. 4,000 cr allocated to promote Herbal Cultivation
Centre will provide Rs. 4,000 crore to cover 10,00,000 hectareunder Herbal cultivation in next two years.This will lead to Rs. 5,000 crore income generation for farmers and will also develop a network of regional Mandis for medicinal plants.

Already, the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) has supported 2.25 lakh hectare area under cultivation of medicinal plants. A corridor of medicinal plants would also be created on the banks of the River Ganga, to be identified by NMPB.

–>Rs 500 cr allocated towards Beekeeping initiatives
The government has earmarked Rs 500 crore for beekeeping initiatives under which infrastructure development related to integrated beekeeping development centres, collection marketing and storage centres, post-harvest and value addition facilities will be provided among other things. This will increase the income of 2 lakh bee-keepers.

–>From ‘TOP’ to TOTAL: “Operation Greens” extended with Rs 500 cr
“Operation Greens” run by Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MOFPI) will be extended from tomatoes, onion and potatoes to ALL fruit and vegetables with an allocation of Rs 500 crore.

The Scheme would provide 50% subsidy on transportation from surplus to deficit markets, 50% subsidy on storage, including cold storages and will be launched as pilot for the next 6 months.
This will lead to better price realisation to farmers, reduced wastages, affordability of products for consumers. Following are the 3 measures for administrative and governance reforms, including removing restrictions on sale and stock limits of farm produce.

–>Amendments to Essential Commodities Act, 1955 to enable better price realisation for farmers. The government will amend the 65 years old Essential Commodities Act (ECA), 1955to enable better price realization for farmers. Agriculture food stuffs including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potato will be deregulated The amendment will provide adequate choices to farmer to sell produce at attractive price, No stock limit will apply to processors or value chain participants following amendment and stock limits will be imposed only under very exceptional circumstances like national calamities, famine after amendment of ECA

3rd advance estimates of production projects all time high food grain production of 295.67 million tonnes for 2019-20

On May 15, 2020 According to Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare’s 3rd Advance Estimates of production of major crops for 2019-20, the total food grain production in the country is estimated to achieve a record of all-time high 295.67 million tonnes in 2019-20 for the 4th consecutive year since 2016-17 crop year (July-June). This estimated output is up 3.67%(10.46 million tonnes) when compared to the previous record 285.21 million tonne during the 2018-19 crop year and has even crossed its target of 291.10 million tonne, which had
been set before the beginning of the 2019-20 sowing season.

The production of foodgrains during 2019-20 is higher by 25.89 million tonnes than the previous five years’ (2014-15 to 2018-19) average production of foodgrain.

Production increase in most of the crops

The production of the majority of crops for the agricultural year 2019-20 is estimated higher than their normal production. On account of more accurate information flowing over the time, these estimates are subject to revision. Reason behind the hike– The cumulative rainfall in the country during the monsoon season (June to September, 2019) has been 10% higher than the Long Period Average (LPA).

Other production estimates

Rice– Total production during 2019-20 is estimated at a record 117.94 million tonnes which is higher by 8.17 million tonnes than the 5 years average production of 109.77 million tonnes.

Wheat– Production during 2019-20 is estimated at record 107.18 million tonnes, which is higher by 3.58 million tonnes as compared to wheat production during 2018-19 and is higher by 11.02 million tonnes than the average wheat production of 96.16 million tonnes.

Nutri / Coarse Cereals– Production during 2019-20 is estimated at a record 47.54 million tonnes which is higher by 4.48 million tonnes than the production of 43.06 million tonnes achieved during 2018-19. Further, it is also higher by 4.50 million tonnes than the average production.

Maize– Total production during 2019-20 is estimated at a record 28.98 million tonnes this year, up from 27.72 million tonne in the 2018-19 crop year

Pulses– Total production during 2019-20 is estimated at 23.01 million tonnes which is higher by 2.19 million tonnes than the Five years’ average production of 20.82 million tonnes.

Oilseeds– Total production during 2019-20 is estimated at record 33.50 million tonnes which is higher by 1.98 million tonnes than the production of 31.52 million tonnes during 2018-19. In addition, the production of oilseeds during 2019-20 is higher by 4.10 million tonnes than the average oilseeds production.

Sugarcane– Total production during 2019-20 is estimated at 358.14 million tonnes.

Cotton & Jute & Mesta– Production of cotton is estimated at record 36.05 million bales (of 170 kg each) is higher by 8.01 million bales than the production of 28.04 million bales during 2018-19. Production of Jute & Mesta is estimated at 9.92 million bales (of 180 kg each).

Other estimated production during 2019-20:

Soyabean– 12.24 million tonnes, Rapeseed and Mustard– 8.70 million tonnes, Groundnut– 9.35 million tonnes, Tur3.75 million tonnes, Gram– 10.90 million tonnes.

About Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare:

About Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Ministry:

Union minister– Narendra Singh Tomar(Constituency- Morena, Madhya Pradesh )

Minister of State– Parshottam Rupala, Kailash Choudhary(Constituency- Barmer, Rajasthan).

e-NAM reaches target 1000 mandis across 18 states and 3 Union Territories

On 15th May 2020, The Ministry of Agriculture announced that the e-NAM reached target 1000 mandis across the nation in 18 states and 3 union territories(UTs) with 38 new mandis integrated with the e-NAM platform of electronic agriculture trading portal.

Key Points:

i.The 38 new mandis include 19 from Madhya Pradesh, 10 from telangana, 4 from Maharashtra and one each in Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir.

ii.e-NAM launched in 2016 to create a network of Mandis as a common online market platform as ‘one nation, one market’ for agricultural commodities became a tool for social distancing in the global pandemic lockdown.

iii.The states and UTs are promoting the platform to reduce the human intervention in trading and handling of produce online.

iv.The registered user base of e-NAM consists of 1.66 crore farmers, 1,31,000 traders and 1000 Farmers Producers Organisations.

e-NAM:

i.The e-NAM was aimed to reduce transaction costs, bridging information asymmetries and to help in expansion of market access for the farmers and stakeholders.

ii.e-NAM is implemented by the Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

iii.The e-NAM has 3 new modules named Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) tradingmodule
Warehouse based electronic Negotiable Warehouse Receipts(e-NWRs) Module Logistics Module

About Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare:
Minister– Narendra Singh Tomar
Minister of State– Parshottam Rupala & Kailash Choudhary

GoM headed by Thawar Chand Gehlot proposes land pooling to corporatise agri, merging MGNREGA with skilling programmes

On May 14, 2020 A Group of Ministers(GoM) panel headed by Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot on employment and skill development has drafted a set of proposals that includes land pooling to corporatise agriculture, opening up Employees’ Provident Fund(EPF) and Employees State Insurance Corporation(ESIC) for the unorganised sector, merging the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act ,2005(MGNREGA) with skill development programmes to create a wage subsidy programme.

Panel’s suggestions in the drafted proposals

i.The land pooling model used to build greenfield airports can be used in agriculture so as to enable corporatisation, which will create demand for skilled labourers.

ii.Merge MGNREGA with skill development programmes to create a wage subsidy programme, where the MGNREGA amount is extended to companies as a wage subsidy for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME).

iii.Works in private enterprises such as factories, construction sites and shops can be considered as eligible work under MGNREGA, which will lower the cost of wages and make industries competitive, creating a local employment wave.

iv.The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) can cut the reverse repo rate to 0% for a few months, thus encouraging banks to lend more. Banks can use Goods & Service Tax(GST) credits as collateral and lend against them.Establish a venture capital fund for SMEs

v.Develop & maintain the rental housing facilities at government and private levels so as to provide rental accommodation to migrant workers

vi.Create a new Department of Hygiene to ensure hygienic practices, which should be made mandatory in all organisations, government or private, and public places, which will have more employment potential.

vii.The food processing should be given “cottage industry” status, with the help of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana(PMKVY), a balance between farm and non-farm activities could be managed.

viii.Besides from National Employment Policy (NEP), a National Electronic Employment Exchange is proposed to help every worker who has migrated or is proposing to migrate. All those workers shall register their skill and enterprises should register their requirement for workers.

ix.Frame a standard operating procedure for migrant workers as a large part of the workforce is unskilled. Proposed a Migrant Worker Welfare Fund with equal contributions from the worker, employer and government, this fund can be utilised to address the requirements of accommodation, health insurance and unemployment allowance in case of shifting of jobs.

x.To provide rental accommodation to migrant workers, the panel suggests development and maintenance of rental housing facilities at government and private levels. It talks of opening up EPF and ESIC for the unorganised sector by registering workers on agreeing to make contributions.

The GoM has proposed a Social Distancing Protocol, which shall be embedded in the functioning of enterprises, and recommends a task force of health experts and industry representatives within a week to decide this protocol.

About ESIC:
Headquarters– New Delhi
Director General– Anuradha Prasad, Indian Defence Accounts Service (I.D.A.S.)

Rs 1,500 crores sanctioned for Punjab to ensure continuous credit flow to farmers: NABARD

On May 15, 2020 The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development(NABARD) has sanctioned Rs 1,500 crores for Punjab to ensure continuous credit flow to farmers, through state cooperative banks, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Out of the total amount Rs 1,000 crores is sanctioned to Punjab State Cooperative Bank and Rs 500 crores to Punjab Gramin Bank.

Major Highlights

i.The Amount given is part of NABARD’s Rs 25,000 crores nationwide special liquidity facility(SLF), which has been made available to state cooperative banks, regional rural banks, and microfinance institutions (MFIs), to ensure flow of credit to farmers for agricultural operations during COVID-19 pandemic

ii.Till now NABARD has disbursed Rs 1,000 crores to Punjab State Cooperative Bank and Rs 100 crores to Punjab Gramin Bank to support agricultural and other activities of farmers

iii.The support given by NABARD is a frontline liquidity support to these banks to ensure credit flow to farmers for carrying out agricultural operations for kharif crops smoothly during this difficult situation.

About NABARD:

Reserve Bank of India(RBI) at the insistence of the Government of India constituted a committee under the Chairmanship of B.Sivaraman to review the arrangements for institutional credit for agriculture and rural development(CRAFICARD) on 30 March 1979. On the committee’s recommendation, NABARD came into existence on 12 July 1982 with the approval of the Parliament by Act 61 of 1981 with an objective to promote sustainable,
equitable agriculture and rural development.
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

Chairman– Harsh Kumar Bhanwala.

Govinda Rajulu Chintala appointed as NABARD chairman, Shaji KV and PVS Suryakumar appointed as DMD of NABARD

On May 20,2020, The appointments committee of the union cabinet appointed Govinda Rajulu Chintala as Chairman of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). He was the successor of Harsh Kumar Bhanwala.

Key Points:

i.About Rajulu Chintala: He will serve as the Chairman of NABARD for the period of 2 years till his superannuation in July 31, 2022.

ii.Chintala currently serves as the Chief general manager of NABARD.

iii.Other appointments: Shaji K V and P.V.S Suryakumar have been appointed as Deputy Managing Directors (DMD) of NABARD.

iv.Shaji K V: Shaji served as the general manager of Canara Bank and he will serve as DMD of NABARD for the period of 5 years.

v.P V S Suryakumar: Suryakumar served as the chief general manager (CGM) of the NABARD, will hold the post of DMD of NABARD till his superannuation on July 31, 2023.

vi.The fresh appointment comes as the institution is set to play a key role in financing the needs of the rural economy as part of the government’s economic package dealing with the coronavirus pandemic’s impact.

vii.Access to institutional credit for farmers and freeing up restrictions on sale of agricultural products are key aspects of the government’s strategy to support the rural economy.

viii.NABARD: National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is an Apex Development Financial Institution in India. The bank is active in developing Financial Inclusion policy.

About NABARD:
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Chairman– Govinda Rajulu Chintala.

World Bee Day 2020, May 20

The May 20th of every year is celebrated as the World Bee Day to commemorate the birth anniversary of Anton Jansa, the pioneer of beekeeping born in 1734 in Slovenia and to acknowledge the role of bees in the ecosystem. The United Nations(UN) approved the proposal of World Bee Day in December 2017 and the first World Bee Day celebrated on Sunday, May 20, 2018. The theme of world Bee Day 2020 is “Save the Bees” to insist on the protection of bees and
other pollinators and their natural habitats.

Key Points:

i.Pollination is a fundamental process of the survival of the ecosystem on which 90% of the wild flowering plants and 75% of the world’s food crops and 35% of the world agriculture land depends.

ii.The pollinators like bees, butterflies, bats, hummingbirds and others contribute to food security and help in conserving biodiversity.

iii.These pollinators and their natural habitats are highly under threat due to human activities. The UN designated May 20 as World Bee Day to create awareness on the importance of the pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development.

iv.The aim of this day is to strengthen the measures in protecting bees and other pollinators and contribute in solving the global food supply and support the developing countries in eliminating hunger.

v.The extinction rate of the present species are 100 to 1,000 times higher than normal and 35% of invertebrate pollinators like bees and butterflies and 17% of vertebrate pollinators like bats are facing extinction all around the world. This will result in the substitution of staple crops (rice, corn and potatoes) farming to the nutritious crop (fruits and vegetables) farming which will result in an imbalanced diet.

vi.The intense farming, high temperature, usage of pesticides and mono cropping will affect bee population and the quality of the food.

vii.To address this crisis the Convention of Biological Diversity(CBD) has made the conservation and sustainable use of pollinators a priority.

viii.The International Pollinator Initiative(IPI) was established in 2000 at the Fifth Conference of Parties as a cross- cutting initiative to promote the sustainable use of pollinators in agriculture and ecosystem.

ix.IPI’s main objective is monitoring the decline of pollinators, to address the lack of taxonomic information on pollinators, assess the economic values of pollination and the impact of decline in pollination services and protect pollinators diversity.

x.IPI provides technical assistance to countries with queen breeding with artificial insemination to sustainable solutions for honey production.

Events on World Bee Day:

i.The day is celebrated by many organisations around the world by conducting workshops, programmes and other activities on the importance of World Bee Day.

ii.Multiple charity events are conducted to contribute to the conservation and preservation of the species.

iii.Due to COVID-19 pandemic this year’s organised events are cancelled.

About CBD:
Acting Executive Secretary- Elizabeth Maruma Mrema
Deputy Executive Secretary- David Cooper
Secretariat- Montreal, Canada
Entered into force- 29th December 1993

World Metrology Day 2020: May 2020

World Metrology Day (WMD) is celebrated every year on May 20, celebrating the International Systems of Units. The term Metrology is a study of measurements. On this day, many nations internationally collaborate to create awareness about metrology and its advancement in the respective field.

Theme for the year 2020: Measurements for global trade. The theme raises awareness about the important role of measurement in facilitating fair global trade, ensuring products meet standards and regulations, and satisfying customer quality expectations.

Key Points:

i.History of the day: The day commemorates the anniversary of signing the famous Metro Convention in the year 1875 in Paris, France, by representatives of 17 nations.

ii.The Convention set the framework for global collaboration in the science of measurement and in its industrial, commercial and societal applications.

iii.The original aim of the Metre Convention is the world-wide uniformity of measurement.

iv.The World Metrology Day is jointly organized by The International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) and Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM). Both these organisations ensure smooth facilitation and results of global measurements.

v.The 2020 WMD poster was designed by AFRIMETS (Intra-Africa Metrology System).

vi.Post the signing of the historic metre treaty in 1875 in France, the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM) and The International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) were developed to make sure that National Metrology institutes across the globe work in a smooth manner for the advancing science of units or measurements.

vii.BIPM coordinates comparisons in measurements, whereas OIML formulates any sort of recommendations or suggestions about the same. OIML Certification System (OIML-CS) is also conducted systematically by the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML).

viii.On WMD, the significance of measurement of units is raised by various programmes, campaigns, workshops.

About International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM):
Director- Dr Martin J.T. Milton.
Headquarters– Saint-Cloud, France.
About International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML):
Headquarters- Paris, France.

‘Mee Annapurna’ initiative launched for farmers welfare across Maharashtra

On May 18, 2020 After the Department of Agriculture, Govt of Maharashtra announced a 3 year empanelment of insurance companies and intermediaries for implementation of crop insurance scheme, the Integrated Risk Insurance Brokers Limited(IRIBL), announced ‘Mee Annapurna’ for farmers welfare across Maharashtra

Major Highlights

It is an initiative that integrates three critical aspects of livelihood and comprehensive engagement for farmers welfare across Maharashtra. It revolves around the three commandments – Expertise, Engagement and Entitlement Background

i.As more small and marginal farmers are forced to take daily wage labor on large lands for survival, the state government is likely to face a major challenge to bring them back into the institutional credit system after the lockdown is eliminated. Farmers should be given adequate loans to cover the input expenditure for farming.

ii.Without concrete measures, 40 to 45% farmers will be forced to take up daily wage work on bigger farmlands or explore alternative jobs.

iii.In view of this, Maharashtra announced a 3 year empanelment of insurance companies and intermediaries. The tender was issued on the guidelines of Revamped Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. Post-launch of the guidelines, the insurance company announced this initiative.

About IRIBL:

It is an Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India(IRDA) licensed insurance intermediary since 2004 & is one of the India’s leading distributors of diversified insurance products and services and specialize in Risk Management, Claim consultancy, Insurance Placement & Government Business.

About Maharashtra:
Capital– Mumbai
Chief Minister– Uddhav Thackeray
Governor– Bhagat Singh Koshyari

Chhattisgarh Govt rolls out Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana for farmers

The state government of Chhattisgarh has launched its ambitious ‘Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana’ (RGKNY) on May 21, 2020 (29th death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi) to encourage crop production in the state and to give the farmers the right price for their produce.

It was initiated by the interim president of the Congress, Sonia Gandhi and Chief Minister (CM) Bhupesh Baghel through video conferencing.

Key Points:

i.Under this scheme, an amount of Rs 5700 crore will be transferred directly to their accounts in four instalments to 19 lakh farmers of the state.

ii.Beneficiaries: Farmers will be giving a maximum amount of Rs. 10, 000 per acre on the basis of the quantity acquired through cooperative society to farmers who cultivate paddy and maize from Kharif 2019. A total 18,34,834 farmers will be provided Rs 1500 crore as first instalment for paddy crop.

Similarly, Sugarcane farmers would get Rs.13,000, where FRP (fair and remunerative price) amount of Rs 261 per quintal and incentive and assistance amounting to Rs 93.75 per quintal i.e. maximum Rs 355 per quintal, based on the amount of sugarcane purchased by the cooperative factory in the crushing year 2019-20 for the sugarcane crop.

Under this, 34,637 farmers of the state will get 73 crore 55 lakh rupees in four instalments, out of which the first instalment Rs 18,43 crore has been transferred on 21 May 2020.

iii.The state is also going to provide incentive amount (outstanding bonus) at the rate of Rs 50 per quintal on the basis of the quantity of sugarcane purchased through cooperative sugar factories in the year 2018-19. Under this, Rs. 10.27 crore will be given to 24,414 farmers of the state.

iv.The state government has decided to include the landless agricultural laborers of the state in the second phase of the Nyay scheme.

About Chhattisgarh:
Capital– Raipur
Governor– Anusuiya Uikey
Chief Minister– Bhupesh Baghel, State Animal– Wild Asian Buffalo
State Bird– Hill Myna

Scientists at Pune based ARI maps 2 alternative dwarfing genes in wheat that can eliminate rice crop residue burning

On May 21, 2020, A team of Scientists at the Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) based in Pune (Maharashtra) have mapped two alternative dwarf genes – Rht14 and Rht18– in wheat that can eliminate rice crop residue burning i.e stubble burning – one of the key sources of air pollution in north India during early winter.

Key Points:

i.The currently available semi-dwarf wheat varieties, which were discovered during the Green Revolution, contain traditional Rht1 alleles (a variant form of gene ) and produce optimum crop under high fertility irrigated conditions.

However, deep sowing conditions are not very favorable in dry environments due to small coleoptiles (a sheath protecting a young shoot tip in grass or cereal).

ii.About the mapping: The team, led by Dr. Ravindra Patil, has mapped chromosome 6a dwarfing genes in durum wheat and developed DNA based markers for better selection of these genes in wheat breeding lines.

DNA-based markers, which are being used for marker-supported transfer of these genes, assisted wheat breeders to selectively pick wheat line carriers of these alternative dwarf genes from a large pool of wheat breeding(morphological, biochemical or DNA/RNA variation) linked to a trait of interest, e.g. productivity, disease resistance, abiotic stress tolerance, and quality).

The presently available semi-dwarf wheat varieties, which were explored during the Green Revolution, carry conventional Rht1 dwarfing alleles. The Reduced Height (Rht) genes decreased plant height and increased productive sprouts.

iii.Benefits: In addition to reduction in crop residue burning, wheat varieties with these alternative dwarf genes may also be helpful in deep sowing of wheat seeds to take advantage of residue humidity in the soil under dry environments. It will save valuable water resources and reduce the cost of farming.

iv.Background: Burning the remains of the remaining rice crop is very harmful to the environment, soil and human health. Therefore, there is a need for inclusion of genes that dwarf alleles in wheat improvement programs.

Farmers in India burn about 23 million tonnes of leftover rice annually to get rid of the straw and prepare their fields to sow the next crop, which results in air pollution.

v.The research has been published in The Crop Journal and Molecular Breeding.

Rs. 20,050 cr PMMSY detailed by Giriraj Singh: Fish production target set to 220 LMT by FY24-25

On May 26, 2020, Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Giriraj Singh detailed the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) during a press conference in New Delhi. PMMSY was announced as a part of the Rs 20 Lakh crore Centre’s economic stimulus package in response to COVID-19 and received the Union Cabinet approval on May 20, 2020. It will be implemented for a period of 5 years i.e. from FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25 in all
states and Union Territories (UTs). This is the first time insurance coverage for fishing vessels are being introduced.

PMMSY is dedicated to the fishers, fish farmers, fish workers, fish vendors and other stakeholders associated with the fisheries sector. Importantly, the scheme is providing insurance coverage for fishing vessels, which is being introduced for the first time.

A booklet on PMMSY was also released during the conference. Outlay of the scheme: Rs. 20,050 cr. The outlay of the scheme is Rs. 20,050 crores comprising Central share of Rs. 9,407 crore, State share of Rs 4,880 crore and Beneficiaries contribution of Rs. 5,763 crore for a period of 5 years from FY 21 to FY25.

This scheme’s outlay resulted in the highest ever investment for the fisheries sector.
42% of the total estimated investment of the PMMSY is earmarked for creation and upgradation of fisheries infrastructure facilities.

Objective of scheme: To enhance fish production to 220 lakh metric tons by 2024-25 from 137.58 lakh metric tons in 2018-19 at an average annual growth rate of about 9%. It also aims to double incomes of fishers and export earnings by 2024-25.

Focus of PMMSY for next 5 years:

-Bring Blue Revolution through sustainable and responsible development of fisheries sector in India.

-To double export earnings to Rs.1,00,000 crore.

-Generation of about 55 lakhs direct and indirect employment opportunities in fisheries sector.

-To increase aquaculture average productivity to 5 tons per hectare from the current national average of 3 tons per hectare.

-To reduce post-harvest losses from the present 25% to about 10% by modernizing and strengthening the value chain.

Components of PMMSY: CS & CSS
The scheme has two components viz.
Central Sector scheme (CS)– 100% centrally funded

Centrally Sponsored scheme (CSS)- Project/Unit cost will be shared between state and centre
North Eastern/Himalayan states– 90% Centre and 10% state share
Other States– 60% Centre and 40% state share
UTs– 100% central share

Points to be noted:

-As a part of PMMSY, there will be Swath Sagar plan, which is envisaged with modernizing of the fisheries sector including promotion of Bio-toilets, Insurance coverage for fishing vessels, Fisheries Management Plans, E-Trading/Marketing, Fishers and resources survey and creation of National IT-based databases.

-Also, Government will register “Sagar Mitra” and encourage formation of Fish Farmers Producer Organizations (FFPOs) to help achieve the PMMSY goals by enhancing domestic fish consumption with corresponding health benefits.

Youth will be engaged in fisheries extension by creation of 3477 Sagar Mitras in coastal fisher villages. Large number of Fisheries Extension Services Centers will be set up in private space to create job opportunities for young professionals.

Sagar Mitra is an initiative to stop the entry of plastic into the seas.

Current status of India in fisheries sector: India is the 2nd largest aquaculture and 4th largest fish exporting nation in the world. It constituted 7.73% of the global fish production and export earnings of Rs.46,589 Crores (2018-19).

The sector recorded an Average Annual Growth Rate of 10.88% during 2014-15 to 2018-19, 7.53% average annual growth in fish production and 9.71% average annual growth in export earnings, with 18% share in agricultural exports.

Gross Value Added (GVA) of the Fisheries sector in the national economy during 2018-19 stood at Rs 2,12,915 crores which constituted 1.24% of the total National GVA and 7.28% share of Agricultural GVA.

Steps taken by Union Government to enhance fisheries sector:

Creation of a separate Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying in the Union Government Setting up a new and dedicated Department of Fisheries with independent administrative structure Implementation of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries during the period 2015-16 to 2019-20 with a central outlay of Rs. 3,000 crore.

Creation of Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF) during 2018-19 with a fund size of Rs. 7,522.48 crore.

Launching of PMMSY with an investment of Rs. 20,050 crore.
Participants at conference: The Ministers of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Sanjiv Kumar Baliyan and Pratap Chandra Sarangi, and Secretary, Department of Fisheries, Dr. Rajeev Ranjan, were present during the press conference.

Flipkart signs MoU with Karnataka State Mango Department to support mango farmers

On 26th May 2020, The Karnataka State Mango Department and Marketing Corporation Ltd.(KSMD&MCL) and Flipkart signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to support the mango farmers in this mango season to sell their produce through the online platform of Flipkart.

Features of MoU:

i.The Flipkart will provide the platform for the Mango Board Farmer Producer Organisations, sellers, growers and traders by enrolling on the platform.

ii.Flipkart will provide training and capacity building on how to use the platform and the other user interfaces.

iii.The fruits from the Bengaluru urban, Kolar, Haveri, Hubballi-Dharwad and Belgaum will be available for the customers access through this platform.

iv.The varieties like Alphonso, Badami, Apoos, Banganapalli, Kesar, Neelam, Himam Pasand, Sendur and Mallika will be available on the Flipkart platform in batches of 3Kg.

Key Points:

i.The Indian Post Offices will support the delivery of produce to consumers as partners with the Mango Board.

ii.This partnership will create a potential revenue to the farmers by providing the needed market access to the consumers in the COVID-19 pandemic situations.

iii.To add a range of essentials to the platform, Flipkart has partnered with the Fast moving consumer goods(FMCG) and retail companies.

Ladakh inaugurates the 1st Solar Lift Irrigation Plant of Kargil

On May 27, 2020, Ladakh’s Director of Animal, Sheep Husbandry and Fisheries Mohammad Raza inaugurated the 1st Solar Lift Irrigation Plant of Kargil with five kilowatt(KW) Solar Plant and 3 Horsepower(HP) Submersible Pump(installed by Kargil Renewable Energy Agency- KREDA) at Yak Breeding Farm, Bodh Kharboo.

Major Highlights

i.The prototype will help to solve the shortage of water to irrigate, especially those lands which are at the banks of rivers & the drinking water issue. This Solar Irrigation Pump will help in proper utilization of this fund in the Farm.

ii.The pump discharges 45,000 litres of water per day, a major achievement in the industry.

iii.This step is to fulfil the dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Make Ladakh a Carbon Neutral Entity and will also help the Yak Farm spread at a 360 Canal Land to be self-sufficient in Fodder Development.

Upcoming projects

i.Various projects have been sanctioned under the Special Package sanctioned for Ladakh under UT Funds so as to witness a great change in the Animal and Sheep Husbandry and Fisheries Sector in the near future and to fulfil the dream various projects of Ladakh

ii.Soon KREDA will be proposing for more such projects which involves one-time investment which has no recurring cost.

Allotment– Under Rashtriya Gokul Mission(RGM) Yak Breeding Farm, Bodh Kharboo has an allotment under special package of Rs 1.20 crore by the Government of India

Gist about RGM:
It was launched in December 2014 with an outlay of Rs 2025 crore for enhancement & conservation of indigenous breeds by selective breeding in the breeding tract and genetic upgradation of the nondescript bovine population. The comprises two components namely National Programme for Bovine Breeding(NPBB) and National Mission on Bovine
Productivity(NMBP).

Indian researchers explore new possibilities to increase paddy yield

On May 27, 2020, A team of researchers from the Department of Biotechnology’s National Institute of Plant Genome Research (DBT-NIPGR) of New Delhi, ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), ICAR-National Rice Research Institute (ICAR-NRRI), Cuttack and University of Delhi South Campus (UDSC), have identified a part in the paddy genome through which there is a possibility of increasing yields.

Key Points:

i.Discovery:
Scientists studied them by sorting the genes of the genetic structure — genotypes that show opposite phenotypes in seed size / weight — in four Indian varieties of paddy (LGR, PB 1121, Sonasal & Bindli). In the meantime, after analyzing the genomic adaptations, they found that Indian rice germplasm has much more diversity than anticipated.

The scientist then studied the DNA of 3,000 varieties of rice found worldwide with four Indian genotypes sequenced, where they identified a long (~ 6 Mb) genomic region, with an unusually suppressed nucleotide diversity region at the center of chromosome 5. They named it ‘low diversity region’ (LDR).

ii.The analysis done by the team revealed that the region played a key role in determining domestic varieties of rice, as it was not present in most of the wild varieties of paddy. Most of the varieties of paddy associated with modern farming belong to the genus Japonica and Indica.This feature has been found prominently in them. In contrast, the feature was found in relatively small quantities in traditional variety of aus species.

iii.Benefit: The new study is significant that in addition to genome-wide exploration, it has revealed an important and long-lived genomic region of paddy that has been sequentially prepared for molecular markers and quantitative trade.

iv.The study has been published in ‘The Plant Journal’.

NABARD grants Rs 1,050 crore to West Bengal during FY 21 for the benefit of farmers & poor people

On May 29, 2020, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), a development bank focusing primarily on the rural sector of the country, has extended Rs 1,050 crore special liquidity facility (SLF) to West Bengal (WB) so far in the current fiscal year (FY 21) for the welfare of farmers and poor people in the state.

Of the total amount, Rs 300 crore disbursed for MFIs (micro-finance institutions), Rs 700 crore sanctioned for state cooperative banks and Rs 50 crore for regional rural banks (RRBs).

Special liquidity facility:

It aims to increase the resources of the Cooperative banks and RRBs to enable them to extend credit to farmers for taking up pre-monsoon and kharif(summer sown crops) 2020 operations.

Key Points:

i.NABARD had already approved an amount of Rs 720 crore to the state cooperative banks and regional rural banks & the disbursement to micro-finance institutions (MFIs) would start soon.
ii.The credit support to the rural areas of the state is extremely important to sustain agricultural operations as the economy is hit by the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).


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