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Food security

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Food Security

Analysis

The organic foods divide in India

By Rahul Goswami

Organic farming

The divide between farmers growing and selling organic produce in India and the major organic foods and beverages retailers is widening, to the detriment of organic farmers. This was evident at Biofach India 2013 held in Bengaluru

he recently-held Biofach India 2013 in Bengaluru -- an annual meet and exhibition of organic producers and products -- has confirmed three disturbing trends concerning Indian organic produce.

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Features

Ragi over Rice

By Ananda Siddhartha

Ragi growing in H D Kote taluka

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?

N L Ravi Kumar is among the few farmers still growing ragi. Most have shifted to cultivation of groundnut and other cash crops

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Books & Reports

Vertical Farms

By Sudhirendar Sharma

A new book by Dickson Despommier posits the farm of the future as a vertical farm over 30 floors in any city centre. Powered by renewable energies a vertical farm could meet the food needs of 50,000 people, consume 70-95% less water, restrict the use of harmful agro-chemicals and ward off weather-related crop failures


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Changemakers

Pat Mooney vs The Terminator

By Rashme Sehgal

Pat Mooney, executive director of the Canadian NGO Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI)

Seventy-five per cent of the biological diversity of this world has already been wiped out, says Pat Mooney, conservationist and crusader against food patenting, in this interview

Pat Mooney, executive director of the Canadian NGO Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), has spent a lifetime crusading against food patenting and the loss of genetic diversity. RAFI works in the fields of conservation and improvement of agricultural diversity.

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Stories of Change

Nalbari farmers resume cultivation after 25 years

By Ratna Bharali Taukdar

 Thousands of farmers in Borigog-Barbhag block, in lower Assam’s Nalbari district, joined hands to dredge a 15-km stretch of a water channel that had blocked and flooded farmlands across 50 villages. For 25 years, farmers had abandoned work on their waterlogged lands. Now they are back in business and busy planning two crops a year.

For 19-year-old Jiayur Rahman of Borjawrihati village, Borigog-Barbhag block in lower Assam’s Nalbari district, witnessing his family farming their lands after 25 long years was an amazing experience.

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News

1.5 lakh workers protest food inflation on Delhi's streets

Trade unions organised a march to Parliament and a rally to protest food inflation which stands at 11.05%

An estimated 1.5 lakh workers marched on the streets of Delhi and attended a rally on February 23, 2011, protesting increasing food prices and unemployment. The protesters marched to Parliament waving red flags, chanting slogans and carrying banners calling on the government to provide food security. ‘Prices will now kill the common man’, read one banner.

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Statistics

Allocation of Foodgrains (rice + wheat) under Welfare Schemes

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Foodgrains Allocation and Offtake under Public Distribution System
(in million tonnes)

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Central Government Foodgrain Stocks and Minimum Buffer Norms

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Backgrounders

Agriculture And Food Security : Background & Perspective

By Devinder Sharma

Pre-Independence India suffered repeated famines, drought and food shortages. But following the Green Revolution in the '60s, yields and foodstocks rose manifold. Now, 30 years later, Indian farmers have realised the follies of their tryst with intensive agriculture. Despite 70 per cent of the population being engaged in agriculture and allied activities, declining foodgrain production and access to food remain the two biggest problems confronting the country. Liberalisation has made things worse: commercial crops are eating into the fertile land tracts meant for essential foodgrains. And six years after the World Trade Organisation came into existence, the anticipated gains for India from the trade liberalisation process in agriculture are practically zero.

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