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Wed24Aug2016

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Ragi over rice

By Ananda Siddhartha

As in the rest of India, in Pavagada taluka of Karnataka, ragi is losing out to rice, groundnut and other cash crops. Until 15 years ago, it was the reverse. What are the market and policy pressures that have caused this reversal, and what are its consequences on health and nutrition, productivity and drought-proofing?

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Stealing from the mouths of babes

By Kathyayini Chamaraj

A chronicle of the civil society action that exposed the shocking scam in Karnataka which saw government functionaries colluding with industry to supply inedible food packets to children in anganwadis, regardless of the fact that children are dying of malnutrition and starvation in the state

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Accountability for malnutrition

The 2nd Convention on Children’s Right to Food held in Bhopal recently explored why malnutrition persists and grows in India, despite attention from the media, voluntary organisations, political parties and MNCs. Is it because malnutrition has still not become a big enough issue with the people, asks Sachin Kumar Jain

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The tragedy of the potato farmer

Why have potato and chilly farmers been dumping their stocks on the streets in protest? Biju Negi reports on the market engineering that is looting the poor farmer

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Monsanto defeated by Roundup-resistant weeds

By Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

While Monsanto grandly claims that its GM technologies help the environment by reducing pesticide use, weeds resistant to glyphosate, the main ingredient of Monsanto’s bestselling Roundup herbicide, are rapidly spreading across continents, further burdening farmers

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Sustainable agriculture reduces distress migration in Orissa

By Pradeep Baisakh

Thanks to intervention from MASS, migration from Orissa’s Bargarh district has reduced considerably as villagers have been encouraged to start their own kitchen gardens, keep goats and chickens, and set up seed and grain banks, thereby adding to their income from agriculture and reducing their dependence on unscrupulous moneylenders

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Grassroots scientists challenge seed monopolies

By Biju Negi

Beej Bachao Andolan is removing the veil of secrecy from the seed research and development process by training farmers in Uttarakhand on cross-breeding rice varieties, helping them reclaim this traditional knowledge and technology from the agri-chemical industries that monopolise the sector

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Requiem for sustainable, subsistence agriculture

By Ravleen Kaur

In Ladakh, the dzo has been replaced by the tractor, organic manure by chemical fertilisers, and indigenous crops by vegetables for the tourist market. A whole culture of agriculture is dead

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A PDS that works is better than cash transfers

A survey of the Public Distribution System across 1,227 BPL households from 106 villages in nine states reveals an impressive revival of the system, with an overwhelming majority of the poor preferring food to cash transfers

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'Push-pull' agriculture stems migration into cities

By Keya Acharya

More than 25,000 small farmers in East Africa have multiplied yields with push-pull cultivation, in which Desmodium planted alongside maize pushes out pests while Napier grass planted along the borders pulls them in. The method could be used in India to good effect

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African landrush

By Rahul Goswami

India's farmland is now international. In Africa, South America and South East Asia, companies that are Indian or Indian-owned have bought or leased hundreds of thousands of hectares to grow foodgrain, pulses and edible oil. Their acquisitions and activities are seen as backed by the central government in a tacit furthering of India's food security mission

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Neem, garlic and green chillies: Recipe for a bumper crop

By Manipadma Jena

Veera Narayana was once a desperate farmer in drought-hit Andhra Pradesh, spending Rs 10,000 in chemical inputs per acre of watermelon crop. Today, he is the guru of organic farming in Singanamala block, his watermelon harvests healthy and his input costs a fraction of what they were

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I am no lab rat!

By Braj Mohan

With genetically modified (GM) brinjal set to become the first GM food to enter the Indian market, a unique consumer awareness campaign seeks to raise public consciousness about the consequences of such a policy on public health

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Genetic roulette

By S Usha

Jeffrey M Smith, an authority on genetically modified organisms and the author of Genetic Roulette, says that 65 health risks from GMOs provide irrefutable evidence. of harm. In this interview he explains why GM technology must be confined to the lab

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The truth about farmer suicides in Chhattisgarh

By Shubhranshu Choudhary

A group of citizen journalists in Chhattisgarh is finding out why four farmers in the state are committing suicide every day, and why the government continues to deny this. They found that in a single district, Durg, 11 farmers had committed suicide due to debt, while 52 labourers took their lives for “economic reasons”

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The loan waiver that failed

The much-hyped Rs 71,000 crore loan waiver has benefited only a small fraction of indebted farmers in Banda district of UP, finds Bharat Dogra. But it has set off a spiral of corruption and further indebtedness

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'In times of need, you can't eat money!'

By Aditya Malaviya

Many villages in Madhya Pradesh, like Pipaldhana, have set up grain banks that lend both grain and money to people in need, at much lower rates of interest than the local moneylender. This improves people’s food security and helps promote a sense of involvement in village governance

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Haiti's real food crisis

By Rupa Chinai

Once the richest colony in the world, Haiti is shockingly poor today. In April Haiti made international headlines for food riots. This two-part travelogue on Haiti looks at how Haiti’s inability to safeguard its local food self-sufficiency has plunged the country into debt and dependence on foreign aid. There are important lessons here for other countries of the South

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How food insecurity impacts health in Haiti

By Rupa Chinai

Malnutrition and maternal and infant mortality rates are extremely high in Haiti. Chronic malnutrition is seen as the biggest hurdle in raising socio-economic indicators in the country

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Genetically modified crops: The risk factor

By Rashme Sehgal

Leading scientist Dr P M Bhargava warns that India may be flooded with genetically modified foods with unknown health risks unless the government takes urgent action

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