Agriculture Current Affairs: October- December 2023
President of India to Inaugurate International Research Conference on ‘From research to impact: Towards Just and Resilient Agri-Food Systems’ October 9, 2023
- Conference is significant in wake of recent G20 Summit that unequivocally endorsed women-led development.
- The conference is hosted by the CGIAR GENDER Impact Platform and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
- The two institutions are joining forces to leverage national and international research to ensure that women take up their rightful leadership roles and spearhead the transformation of agriculture and food systems everywhere.
- Himanshu Pathak, Director General of ‘ICAR’ said “This includes recognizing and promoting leadership and decision-making roles for women in relation to climate change, food security and nutrition”.
- The conference is designed to share cutting-edge knowledge and bridge the gap between research and practice to foster gender-equal and socially inclusive, resilient food systems.
- ICAR, with its 113 ICAR institutes and 76 agricultural universities spread across India, will play an essential role in identifying evidence-based priorities and innovations that can translate the G20 commitments on women’s leadership on climate action, food security and nutrition into positive outcomes for women and men farmers, as well as for entire communities.
- CGIAR can contribute to this process by providing world-class expertise, evidence and proven solutions.
Northern Region Farm Machinery Training and Testing Institute inks MoU with Mahindra
- The Northern Region Farm Machinery Training and Testing Institute (NRFMTTI), Hisar, Haryana, has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd., Mumbai.
- This strategic partnership aims to foster skill development among the youth, equipping them with necessary expertise for a career in the field of farm mechanization.
- Primary objective of this partnership is to bridge the gap between industry requirements and skill sets possessed by youth, ultimately strengthening the workforce in farm mechanization sector.
Key Highlights of the MoU:
- Skill Development Programs: NRFMTTI and the leading agricultural machinery manufacturer will jointly design and implement skill development programs tailored to the specific needs of the farm machinery industry.
- State-of-the-Art Facilities: Mahindra will develop world-class training facilities, laboratories, and experienced faculty to ensure high-quality training for the enrolled students.
- Industry-Linked Curriculum: The training curriculum will be designed to align closely with industry demands, ensuring that graduates are job-ready upon completion of their training.
- Internship and Placement Support: The partnership will facilitate internship opportunities for students within the manufacturing company, providing them with practical exposure to real-world industry operations. Additionally, the manufacturer will actively participate in NRFMTTI’s placement efforts, aiding in job placements for graduates.
Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, SFAC and CSC jointly organized FPO Mela in Delhi Haat to showcase FPO products and promote farmer empowerment, October 10,2023.
- More than 2,165 FPOs of 8 lakh farmers are doing business through online platform ONDC in the country.
- Major FPOs from across the country participated in the fair, displaying a wide range of products from more than 20 FPOs.
- Visitors had the opportunity to taste and experience the essence of natural products at the fair.
- FPOs are groups of farmers that run commercial activities related to farming and crop production in their area.
- They provide farmers with discounts on wholesale prices of agricultural inputs, such as manure, seeds, fertilizers, and equipment, and also help farmers sell their finished crops and produce in the market. FPOs are playing a vital role in boosting the rural economy.
- CSCs present in remote areas of the country, already providing various services to the farmers through tele-consultation, crop insurance, e-veterinary, Kisan Credit Card and PM Kisan schemes.
- CSCs provide rural citizens with access to a variety of government services at their doorstep, such as caste, income, domicile, character certificates, and employment registration.
Special Campaign 3.0 of Department of Agricultural Research and Education
- DARE and its subordinating organisations viz.ICAR including Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and its regional offices, Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB) and three Central Agricultural Universities (CAUs) and their colleges are also conducting the Special Campaign across all over country.
- The special focus during the campaign is on Record Management, space management by weeding out of physical files, creating awareness about Swachhata in Villages with Farmers and enhancement of workplace experience in offices/premises.
- The Department has identified 19843 physical files and 4717 E-files for review during the Special Campaign 3.0. Out of this, 6279 physical files have been reviewed so far, while 4171 physical files have been weeded out during this Campaign.
- 4717 electronic files have also been reviewed and 1465 have been identified for closure.
- DARE has directed all the concerned officers to bring all the pendencies to ‘zero’ by 31st October, 2023 and encouraged the officers to channel their best efforts to achieve the targets of the campaign. The campaign will continue up to 31st October, 2023.
Achievements of DA&FW in the 17th Report on CPGRAMS for the month of September 2023
- Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (DA & FW) have received the maximum number of 11198 public grievances in September, 2023.
- Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare is the top performer in the Grievance Redressal Assessment & Index within the Group A (more than 500 grievances) for September, 2023
- 14% of grievances received by Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare in the month of September, 2023 have been filed through CSCs i.e., 5167 grievances out of 11198 receipts have been registered through CSCs.
- CPGRAMS refers to Centralized Public Grievances Redressal and Monitoring System.
16th Agricultural Science Congress Concludes
- 16th Agricultural Science Congress (ASC) organised by the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) concluded on October 13 at Kochi.
- Secretary to the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) and Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Dr Himanshu Pathak delivered concluding remarks.
- The Congress discussed 10 thematic areas, including all issues related to agriculture and allied areas and sustainability issues on land and water, agricultural production systems, products, agricultural machinery, climate action, economics, renewable or alternative energy, precision farming, alternative farming systems, coastal agriculture, next-generation technologies, etc.
- The Congress witnessed the convergence of over 1500 delegates from India and abroad.
PUSA-44 paddy variety Banned
- The Chief Minister of Punjab has announced a ban on the cultivation of the PUSA-44 paddy variety starting next year.
- PUSA-44, high yielding variety was developed in 1993 and gained immense popularity among Punjab’s farmers, covering 70 to 80 per cent of the state’s paddy cultivation.
- The reasons behind the ban on PUSA-44 are- its longer maturity period around 160 days, Punjab faces severe groundwater depletion, and the government aims to conserve one month of irrigation water by banning PUSA-44. PUSA-44 exacerbates the problem of stubble burning in Punjab. Its harvesting just before the ideal time for wheat sowing leaves a limited timeframe of 20 to 25 days for stubble disposal before wheat sowing.
Bharat’ brand Atta
- The Indian government has launched the sale of ‘Bharat’ brand Atta (wheat flour) with a maximum retail price (MRP) of Rs 27.50 per kilogram which is lower than the national average price of Rs 35.93 per kg.
- This initiative is part of the government’s ongoing efforts to stabilize the prices of essential commodities and provide relief to consumers.
- ‘Bharat’ Atta will be available through various outlets, including Kendriya Bhandar, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED), and National Cooperative Consumer Federation (NCCF), ensuring its accessibility to a broader consumer base.
Krishi 24/7, November 9, 2023
- Krishi 24/7 is the first-ever AI-powered solution for automated agricultural news monitoring and analysis, with support from Google.org. it was developed by Union Agriculture Ministry, in collaboration with the Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence (Wadhwani AI).
- The tool scans news articles in multiple languages and translates them into English.
- It extracts essential information from news articles, such as headline, crop name, event type, date, location, severity, summary, and source link, ensuring that the ministry receives timely updates on relevant events published on the web.
- It addresses the need for an efficient mechanism to identify and manage agricultural news articles of interest to aid timely decision-making.
- It will aid the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (DA&FW) to identify relevant news, generate timely alerts, and take prompt action to protect farmers’ interests and promote sustainable agricultural growth through improved decision-making.
Sugarcane byproduct: Press Mud
- Press Mud is often known as filter cake or press cake. It is the sugarcane byproduct obtained when cane juice is repeatedly filtered before being sent for sugar extraction.
- The filters are cleaned periodically, and the waste is deposited in the yard of the mill. Nearly 3 to 4 percent of press mud is obtained when one tonne of cane is crushed.
- Mills recycle this waste as manure by composting it and supplying it to the farmers in the area.
- It can be utilised as a feedstock for biogas production through anaerobic digestion and subsequent purification to create compressed biogas (CBG).
- It is very useful for crops and horticulture because of its richness in various micronutrients.
- It has been acknowledged as a valuable resource for green energy production.
Discovery of ‘Wild okra’: Abelmoschus Odishae’
December 5, 2023
- “Abelmoschus Odishae”, a new plant species of ‘wild okra is discovered by the scientist from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in a moist deciduous forest in Banspal block in Keonjhar district, Odisha.
- It can be used for hybridisation to create a better variety with high disease resistance and can be used for widening the genetic base Abelmoschus Odishae is a new plant species of ‘wild okra
- of okra.
- It is a perennial shrub up to 5 metres high with a densely hispid, prickly stem with retrorse hairs. It has large, deep yellow flowers.
Ban on Sugarcane juice and sugar syrup for Ethanol production
- Due to uncertainties in cane output for the current season as per the Sugar (Control) Order 1966, the government has temporarily banned the use of sugarcane juice and sugar syrup for ethanol production.
- Government intends to maintain adequate domestic sugar availability and price stability, due to an estimated fall in sugar production in the current season. Sugar mills find it more profitable to sell sugarcane and syrup to Oil marketing companies for ethanol blending. However, this may create a shortage of sugar in the Indian market.
- The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) forecasts a 9% reduction in gross sugar production for the 2023-24 marketing year, further complicating the situation.
- The government plans to promote ethanol production using alternative feedstocks such as B and C-heavy molasses, damaged rice, and maize.
Ban on Onion Exports
- The Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has announced a ban on onion exports until March 2024. Now the export policy of onions is from ‘Free’ to ‘Prohibited’.
- Recently, prices of onion rise due to current supply shortage, and anticipated lower kharif 2023 output, along with increased festive demand. By restricting onion exports, the government aims to prevent price surges or fluctuations within the domestic market.
- To combat spiraling prices, the Centre had imposed a Minimum Export Price of USD 800 per tonne on onions in October 2023. Earlier, in August, the government imposed a 40% export duty on onions.
“Paat-Mitro” mobile application, December 23, 2023
- The Ministry of Textiles recently launched the “Paat-Mitro” mobile application to provide important information about MSP and agronomy to jute farmers.
- The application is developed by the Jute Corporation of India Limited (JCI). Features are available in six languages in this application and all the functionalities are made available to the users free of cost.
- Jute Gradation Parameters, Farmer-centric schemes like ‘Jute-ICARE’, weather forecasts, JCI’s Purchase Centres’ locations, and Procurement Policies are also made available in the app.
- Farmers will also be able to track the status of their payments for the raw jute sold to JCI under MSP Operation.
- JCI was set up in 1971 by the Government of India with the aim to provide minimum support price (MSP) to jute cultivators. JCI comes under the administrative control of the Ministry of Textiles.