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Fri29Jul2016

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Farmer suicides in Chhattisgarh: A state in denial

By Shubhranshu Choudhary

Despite having the highest rate of farmer suicides per 100,000 population, the Chhattisgarh government is in denial. No one talks about farmer suicides in the state. As a result, the problem goes totally ignored, unlike other states like Maharashtra and Kerala

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Manipur resists land alienation

By Monideepa Choudhuri

250 farming families are protesting the acquisition of their fertile lands for modernisation of the Imphal airport.With cultivable land already at a premium in Manipur, the transition of agricultural land to infrastructure development all over the state will exacerbate the food crisis, add to poverty levels and cause loss of livelihoods

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Revitalising agriculture in Kanjikuzhy

By N P Chekkutty

A decade ago, Kanjikuzhy in Kerala began to worry about the decline of farming. Then the community took the initiative to set up farmer groups and a distribution and retail network. Farmers and coir product manufacturers now get a fair price for their products and also bypass the middlemen

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Nutritionist protests ban on lakhodi dal

By Aparna Pallavi

Shantilal Kothari is fasting to have the ban on the cultivation and sale of lakhodi dal lifted. He maintains that lakhodi is an ideal crop for poor rural communities as it promises high yields, very low input costs and excellent nutritive value

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Farmer suicides rampant in MP, Chhattisgarh too

By Sushmita Malaviya and Jinendra Singh

A study by the Madras Institute of Development Studies puts the number of farmer suicides in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh at well over 2,000 a year. But both state governments are choosing to ignore the facts. In this report, farmers tell their own story

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The SEZ versus the 'unrewarding' small farm

By Aseem Shrivastava

Kakinada farmer Narasimha Murthy's 5-acre farm supports 50 people, each living on around Rs 800 a month, more than twice the official rural poverty line.Why would farmers like him in 16 villages in Andhra Pradesh want to give up this livelihood for the Kakinada SEZ? What does the SEZ offer them anyway?

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Industry vs agriculture: The battle over water in Hirakud

By Ranjan K Panda

Before 1997, total allocation to industry of water from the Hirakud reservoir was 31,912 lakh gallons per year. In the nine years since, an 'allocation committee' has allocated 27 times more water to industry. This has, of course, been at the cost of water for irrigation

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Call centres for farmers

By Neeta Lal

Eighty-four call centres across the country are answering farmers' queries related to everything from fungus on brinjals to kisan credit cards and prices of insecticides

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Food or fuel?

By Rajashree Joshi

Bio diesel blends are driving buses in Haryana, Karnataka and now Pune. As bio diesel becomes the buzzword and corporates rush to develop jatropha and oilseed plantations, experts warn of adverse effects on biodiversity and food security

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Taking the GE debate to the people

By Rajashree Joshi

So far it's been multinational corporations, governments, CSOs and scientists who've been guiding the debate on genetically engineered crops. It's time to let people decide for themselves whether GE technology is safe, says Suman Sahai, convener of Gene Campaign

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Smuggling to combat starvation

By Tarun Bose

Displaced by the raging Padma river, Jalangi's people beg, toil as landless labourers, or smuggle rice and other goods to Bangladesh for one meal a day. Several villagers have reportedly starved to death. Local politicians and goons are accused of cornering the relief material. A special investigation

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Drought padayatra: Special Report Agricultural crisis in Vidarbha

By Freny Manecksha

Lured by the promises of seed merchants, Gajanand Dhapse of Kathoda village in Yavatmal cultivated Bt cotton on his 10 acres. His input costs soared, yields dropped, even as the minimum support price dropped. Dhapse is one of hundreds of farmers in Maharashtra's Vidarbha region who are experiencing the devastating effects of degraded lands, unsuitable cropping patterns, and lack of accurate information and institutional credit

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Protecting vanilla farmers against global cartels

By N P Chekkutty

Set up to protect the interests of vanilla-growers in India, Vanilco is a model for farmers who face volatile market conditions and monopolies within the market

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Hunger in picture-postcard Jharkhand

By Anosh Malekar

Jharkhand's rich natural resources prompt its government to claim that it could be the most financially viable state in the country. Yet, around 23.22 lakh families in the rural areas live below the poverty line. In village after village, this correspondent found people facing hunger for six to nine months of the year

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More rice for less water

By Himanshu Thakkar

Cultivating a single kilo of rice requires 5,000 litres of water. India has over 24 million hectares under irrigated paddy, so imagine all the water required. If the system of rice intensification (SRI) were to be applied on all this land we would be able to cut water requirement for paddy by 50% and simultaneously boost rice production by 50%. So why is the government not pushing SRI?

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How a GM debate eludes the Indian media

By Keya Acharya

Important decisions and claims are being made about GM technologies which aren't covered in the Indian media. Journalists either lack access to information about GM crop trials or don't understand the issues at stake. Meanwhile, biotech corporations are pressing ahead, leaving decisions that will affect millions of Indians unexamined

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Profits, not poverty, drive agricultural research

By Keya Acharya

Much of the new crop technology -- such as genetic modification -- is in private hands. It appears to focus on crops that boost India's export economy and serve the middle classes, ignoring crops that can feed India's poor

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Hijacking the organic movement

By Naren Karunakaran

Dr Prabha Mahale, pioneer of organic farming in India, talks about the ways in which national governments and agribusiness corporations are shifting the focus of the organic movement away from the small farmer and the domestic market

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Food security for the tsunami-affected

As the government moves from 'relief mode' to 'rehabilitation mode', in areas affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami, it must do so seamlessly so as not to further marginalise already marginalised communities. Otherwise, these communities could face serious food scarcity as they struggle against caste biases and attempt to get their livelihoods back on track

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West Bengal village pledges allegiance to organic farming

By Rina Mukherji

Bigha, a small village in West Bengal, has become the first village in the state to recognise the benefits of organic farming and work towards producing its first ever pesticide-free kharif crop

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