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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


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


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


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


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?


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


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


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


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


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