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Food security

Sat30Jul2016

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Between seed and straw: When will we get agriculture right?

The figures for crop production, yield and acreage are looking healthy in this quarter. But behind the triumph a crisis gathers strength, says Rahul Goswami

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The hunger index

By Rahul Goswami

In every one of India’s major states, less food is available for growing populations. The first India States Hunger Index shows alarming falls in per capita availability of cereals. Industrialised Gujarat ranks lower than Haiti on the Global Hunger Index, and Madhya Pradesh beats Ethiopia by only 0.07 points

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How climate change will impact agriculture

Coping with climate change and its impact on agriculture and rural livelihoods is going to be a long haul, says Suman Sahai. It's an irony that those who have caused global warming -- the high-emission polluters in developed countries -- are going to be the beneficiaries of climate change and not its victims, as far as food production is concerned

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No let-up for Kerala's farmers

By N P Chekkutty

According to the Economic Review 2007, the rate of farmer suicides in Kerala has fallen dramatically, largely on account of the debt relief commission set up by the government. But the story is different on the ground, where price fluctuations, pest attacks and unsustainable agricultural practices continue to push farmers over the edge

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Market access and the food crisis

By Devinder Sharma

While the World Bank and WTO say that more market access in developing countries is the only answer to the global food crisis, the UN’s ‘Economic and Social Survey 2008’ claims market liberalisation has actually contributed to the food crisis

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India silent on biosafety negotiations

India has lost out on the opportunity to build a strong liability regime for developing countries which would enable them to protect their farmers and consumers from any damage caused by genetically engineered crops and products, reports Suman Sahai after the recent international convention in Bonn

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'The days of cheap food are over': M S Swaminathan

By Rashme Sehgal

M S Swaminathan analyses the global food crisis

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Warning: Food crisis ahead

By Devinder Sharma

International wheat prices have risen 300% in the last five years, and foodstocks are plummeting. With small farms being gobbled up by big agribusiness, farmland increasingly diverted for industrial purposes, and the international focus shifting from staple foods to cash crops, the world now faces an impending food crisis

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Short-term remedy, but no long-term vision

By Devinder Sharma

The Rs 60,000 crore farm loan waiver is a positive step towards addressing agrarian distress. But the 25,000 crore booster for new farm initiatives, which focuses entirely on agribusiness, corporate agriculture and food retail, is likely to lead to further despair. The focus should be on sustainable agriculture

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Food on the table: What it costs in urban India

By Rahul Goswami

Hard data now shows the size of the food price burden on urban households. From Cuttack to Panaji, Jammu to Chennai, families have paid more every year for the last three years for staple foods

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The truth about subsidies

By Darryl D'Monte

A Swiss cow gets a subsidy that will allow her to fly first-class around the world! And Queen Elizabeth gets farm subsidies of over $ I million annually. Subsidies don't always work as they are meant to in India either

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GM or organic: Where does India's future lie?

By Suman Sahai

Does it make sense for India to forego its special status as a producer of GM-free agricultural foods, lose a secure market for its produce and incomes for its farmers, and start cultivating GM crops that no one will buy? Is the future not with organic farming?

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Green, Gene and Evergreen Revolutions: Interesting wordplay

By Suman Sahai

By successfully morphing the popular Green Revolution with the Gene Revolution, proponents of agricultural biotechnology appear to indicate that the latter will bring in all the benefits of the former, and in perpetuity. But there are glaring differences between the two so-called 'revolutions'

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Herbicide-tolerant plants: Not in India, please!

By Suman Sahai

Herbicide-tolerant crops contain a gene that makes them resistant to the herbicide that is sprayed to kill herbs and weeds. The herbicide-tolerance trait is essentially labour-saving and will have economic implications were it to be introduced in labour-surplus developing countries like India

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Bt cotton: What's the fuss about?

By Suman Sahai

Bt cotton is unlikely to work for more than a few years in India because it is fundamentally at odds with the agricultural and climatic conditions here

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How a genetically-engineered plant is made

By Suman Sahai

In the first of a fortnightly series that demystifies genetic engineering and its impact on the environment and health, Suman Sahai explains the cut-and-paste processes that go into making a transgenic plant

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Are supply-side solutions to water access sufficient?

By Darryl D'Monte

While overall access to water supply infrastructure in cities is increasing, coverage remains uneven. But are dams and so-called "flexible water allocations", as advocated by the World Bank, the answer?

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Are GMOs spiralling out of control?

By Darryl D'Monte

To argue that genetically-modified crops will solve the problem of hunger thanks to their higher productivity, is like saying that Bill Gates developed Microsoft software to solve the world's illiteracy problem. And what if the technology runs amuck?

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A bargain-basement knowledge 'mandi'

By Rahul Goswami

The new US-India Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture will re-examine and overhaul existing curricula in agricultural education institutions in India. It will also leave Indian agriculture open to the interests of the world's largest food and agri-business corporations, says Rahul Goswami

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Breathing life into farming

By Darryl D'Monte

The guarantee of 100 days of work in a year cannot by itself provide food security. The trick, says alternative technologist K R Datye, lies in using the NREGA not to build roads but to regenerate the land and create permanent rural assets which will facilitate sustainable livelihoods

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