Agriculture Current Affair 20 December 2020

Agripreneurs add flavour to mint farming

The first time Amandeep Panwar, 26, and Rishabh Choudhary, 27, stepped into a farm was in 2015 when they needed acres of open space to fly the drones they had built as part of their final-year aeronautical engineering project. Today, Panwar and Choudhary — who struck up a friendship as classmates at a Lucknow college — run BharatRohan, an agriculture-technology (ag-tech) start-up that scientists at Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR) say could be one of the hottest prospects in the farming sector.

BharatRohan, that was founded in 2016 and began commercial operations a little over a year ago, uses hyperspectral imaging, one of the most advanced remote sensing tools to capture warning signals about pest attacks, disease outbreaks and nutrition deficiency in crops at a very early and actionable stage. “Remedial action at this early stage helps farmers eliminate crop losses. It can be one of the most important innovations in agricultural early warning systems. The potential is humungous,” says Kondapi Srinivas, CEO, Association for Innovation Development of Entrepreneurship in Agriculture (a-IDEA) at ICAR’s National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM) in Hyderabad that incubated the start-up. It is estimated that India loses a whopping 15 per cent of its farm output, or in excess of $40 billion each year to pest and insect attacks.

Oilmeals export up by 12 per cent in April-November

The overall export of oilmeals witnessed a growth of 12 per cent during April to November of 2020, according to the provisional export data compiled by Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) of India.

A press release by BV Mehta, Executive Director of SEA, said that the overall export of oilmeals recovered during April to November and reported at 19,48,699 tonnes as against 17,34,872 tonnes during the corresponding period of 2019, recording a growth of 12 per cent.

The export of oilmeals increased to 3,31,171 tonnes during November 2020 as against 2,08,401 tonnes in November 2019, recording a growth of 59 per cent.

Giving the export details, Mehta said in the release that rapeseed meal and ricebran extraction performed well during the last eight months of the financial year 2020-21 despite tough competition in the world market.

Govt’s decision to continue import results in drop of onion prices

The Centre’s decision to extend relaxation norms for onion imports till January 31 has a spiralling effect on the onion market. The onion prices at Lasalgaon, Asia’s biggest wholesale onion market are depleting fast and farmers are in agitation mode.

In October this year, the average onion price at Lasalgaon had touched ₹5,000 per quintal as the supply of good quality onion dipped. However, since then prices have dipped with the centre’s intervention to import onion and ban export. The model price of red onion was ₹1,800 per quintal in Lasalgaon on Friday while the price of summer onion dropped to ₹1,400 per quintal.

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