Info Change India

Info Change India - Environment

Mon07242017

Last updateSat, 22 Jul 2017 6am

You are here: Home | Environment | Food security | Features

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?

Ragi growing in H D Kote taluka

Read more...

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

Hunger Starvation

Read more...

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

Hunger Malnourished children

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

'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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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”

Read more...

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

Read more...

'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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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?

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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?

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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?

Read more...

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

Read more...

`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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

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

Read more...

Free meals make them dependent, so should they go back to eating grass?

By Girija Godbole

A couple of months ago, a free community kitchen offering three square meals to the starving Sahariya tribals of Baran district in Rajasthan, was forced to shut down after NGOs claimed the tribals would become victims of the 'dependency syndrome'. But how and when do you draw the line between relief measures and sustainable rehabilitation?

Read more...

India follows Argentina: More food exports, more hunger

By Devinder Sharma

India appears poised to follow Argentina's economic model - boost private investment in agriculture and encourage commodity exports. But since last year 450,000 jobs have been lost in Argentina, leaving one in four people destitute. Is this the way forward for India?

Read more...

After Bt cotton, it's GM mustard

By Devinder Sharma

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee has deferred granting commercial approval to a genetically-modified mustard. But are these just delaying tactics? Could we soon see the release of the first genetically-engineered food crop in India?

Read more...

Friends of Melghat

By Huned Contractor

An estimated 5,000 tribal children died of malnutrition in Melghat, Maharashtra, between 1992-97. Since 1997, a group of volunteers has been working with the Korkus in this remote forest region, helping educate them about nutrition, sanitation and preventive health care

Read more...

Living through the great drought

By Yana Bey

Yana Bey travels through the poverty-stricken Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput region of Orissa, meeting villagers with long memories of hard times and starvation

Read more...

World Food Summit 2002: The hungry will have to wait

By Devinder Sharma

The various heads of state, at the recently-concluded World Food Summit 2002 in Rome, spoke eloquently about the scandalous "scourge" of prevailing hunger. Yet they provided only a diet of words to the millions of hungry and malnourished around the world

Read more...

Western cow vs Southern farmer: The absurdity of inequality

By Devinder Sharma

Around 1.5 billion marginal farmers in the developing world live in virtual penury. Simultaneously, 1.5 billion cattle in the industrialised world are reared in luxury, with a cow in the developed world receiving subsidies that amount to almost twice the annual income of an average Third World farmer

Read more...

A biological apocalypse averted

By John Robbins

Although supporters of genetically engineered products often claim that rigorous tests have proven the safety of GE products, their opponents argue that the field tests do not provide a track record of safety, but a case of 'don't look, don't find'. And when scientists actually look, what they see can be terrifying

Read more...

Bt cotton: Stepping into a booby trap

By Devinder Sharma

Opinions are divided about the wisdom of the Indian government's decision to burn the genetically modified cotton crop on 10,000 acres of farmland in Gujarat. In this article, the author points out why Bt cotton is a biological trap.

Read more...