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Wed24Aug2016

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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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Green in the desert

By Vikas Yadav

The residents of Sohangarh, in dry Rajasthan, are unperturbed by recurrent drought in their state. Thanks to the restoration and regeneration of common pasturelands they enjoy healthy agricultural yields and even have money to spare for the all-round development of their village

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Colas as pesticides? For some farmers it's the real thing...

Coca-Cola and other soft drinks, which have constituted the enemy for many Indian farmers in recent times because of their groundwater-depleting factories, are now unlikely allies in the farmers' battle against pests

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The Cauvery delta: An economy under threat

By Lalitha Sridhar

Thousands of farmers in the Cauvery delta are being forced to come to terms with a new reality: perennial water scarcity. The lack of water in the rain-fed Cauvery is destroying livelihoods and disrupting communities

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Women's participation in irrigation management reaps rewards in Gujarat

By Advaita Marathe

The myth that women have no role to play in irrigation management has been shattered, as the Gujarat government's Participatory Irrigation Management policy clearly shows

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You say protato, and I say pulses

By Devinder Sharma

Can a protein-enhanced potato, the `protato', really help solve India's malnutrition problem? Shouldn't we be increasing pulses production, instead, to meet the protein needs of our people?

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Gruel centres across Andhra Pradesh feed the starving

By Meena Menon

In drought-hit Andhra Pradesh, even tea and tubers are no longer available. The thin gruel doled out at various centres keeps hundreds of starving people going

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`Franken foods': The US vs the rest of the world

By Devinder Sharma

A battle to control the global foodchain is being waged, with the United States attempting to `educate' governments on the virtues of genetically modified foods and their role in eradicating world hunger

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Organic cotton: Getting back to the basics

By Meena Menon

Various Indian government institutions and organisations have been researching and even endorsing organic cultivation of cotton and other crops. But why is none of this research finding its way to the farmers in India's cotton fields? This is the last in a series on organic cotton

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Green gold: Commercial organic cotton

By Meena Menon

In Part II of her series on organic cotton, Meena Menon travels to Vidarbha in Maharashtra and to Madhya Pradesh, where the organic cotton chain leads all the way to the fashionable ecological-social retail stores of Europe. The message? Organic cotton commands a premium and makes good commercial sense. It can also reduce the cost of inputs and save the lives of desperate farmers

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Greening cotton: Finally, a loss of faith in chemical agriculture

By Meena Menon

Meena Menon travels through the cotton fields of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh where, hurrah, farmers are slowly switching back to organic farming

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