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Saturday / July 20. 2024

Trade opportunities and way forward to upscale the export of GI and traditional bananas from India

ICAR- National Research Centre for Banana, Tiruchirappalli and Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), New Delhi jointly organised a two-day consultative workshop on ‘Export of GI and traditional bananas: Present scenario, trade opportunities and way forward’ during 21-22 December, 2022 at Tiruchirappalli to upscale the export of GI and traditional bananas from India.

The Chief Guest, M Angamuthu, IAS, Chairman, APEDA, New Delhi appreciated the efforts of ICAR-NRCB, FPOs, and banana farmers’ efforts to conserve the GI and traditional bananas. He stressed the need to utilise the varietal diversity of bananas by using cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, and precision farming for extending export to more than fifty countries shortly.

The Special Guest, C Samayamoorthy, IAS, Agricultural Production Commissioner praised Tamil Nadu for cultivating diverse, traditional banana cultivars resistant to various biotic and abiotic stresses.  He also assured the support of the Tamil Nadu State Government for promoting exports of bananas.

The Special Guest, Rajalakshmi Devaraj, IDAS, Addl DGFT, Chennai underlined that under the District Export Hub Program, 11 districts from Tamil Nadu were selected in which Tiruchirappalli district was identified for banana export.

V Geethalakshmi, Vice Chancellor, TNAU, Coimbatore stressed the importance of soil management by following strategies such as precision farming, micro-irrigation, and fertigation, etc.

K M Indiresh, Vice-Chancellor, UHS, Bagalkot informed that under One District One Product (ODOP) program, in Karnataka, two regions were identified for promotion of bananas particularly value added products.

V B Patel, ADG (Horticultural Science -II), ICAR, New Delhi urged to enhance the productivity and improve the quality of bananas.

While presiding the inaugural session R Selvarajan, Director, ICAR-NRCB, mentioned that value of banana exports tripled from Rs 430 crores to 1300 crores during 2018-2022 and there is a great opportunity to export GI tagged and traditional banana cultivars in view of increasing demand for those cultivars. He applauded the Sirumalai and delta region farmers of Tamil Nadu for cultivating and protecting the GI-tagged and traditional cultivars of banana.

On this occasion, six publications were released and three awards were conferred to different stakeholders in banana production system viz., Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd., Jalgaon, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu Banana Growers Federation, Thottiyam and Tamil Nadu Hill Banana Growers’ Federation.

More than 300 participants attended the export workshop and an exhibition was also organised wherein more than 100 varieties and landraces of bananas were displayed.

Plenary session of the workshop was held on 22 December, 2022. M K Shanmugasundaram, IAS, Development Commissioner, MEPZ,SEZ, Chennai was the Chief Guest and D K Agarwal, Registrar General, PPV &FRA, New Delhi and Alex Paul Menon, IAS, Joint Development Commissioner, MEPZ, SEZ, Chennai were the Guests of Honour.

Trade opportunities and way forward to upscale

Farmers from Dambal, Kalkeri, Harogeri, and Hirevaddatti villages have obtained higher yields using drip irrigation technology during the Kharif season

Ten farmers of Singatalur Lift Irrigation and Drip Irrigation Package -1 (10080 Ha) were felicitated for outstanding performance in crop production by Karnataka Neeravari Nigama Limited officials in the event that Netafim India and Megha Engineering & Infrastructures Limited JV organised. The farmers from Dambal, Kalkeri, Harogeri, and Hirevaddatti villages have obtained higher yields using drip irrigation technology during the Kharif season of 2021-22. The event was organised at Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Hulkoti, Gadag. The felicitation program witnessed the participation of eminent guest Ramesh H, Assistant Executive Engineer, Sub Division 1 of Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited and Er. Basavaraja Bandivaddar, Professor, WALMI, Dharwad. Girish Deshpande, Sr. Manager Projects Management, Netafim India, Umesha M C, Sr. Manager – Agronomy, Netafim India, Parimalarangan, and Project Manager – Singataluru 1 project, Netafim India, and Sanjay Shirgurkar, CGM, Megha Engineering & Infrastructures Limited participated for the felicitation ceremony.

During the ceremony Ramesh H, Assistant Executive Engineer of Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited stressed that “farmers should cooperate with irrigation projects and boost their crop yield through scientifically proven drip irrigation. Each farmer’s success will encourage other farmers in the neighborhood to adopt drip technology, thus helping the farmer community with their financial growth and making the project successful.

Er. Basavaraja Bandivaddar, Professor, WALMI, Dharwad, said,” Drip irrigation is very beneficial as it offers higher yield and income with less water.” Encouraging farmers to adopt drip irrigation, he emphasised that “the strengthening of water user cooperative societies and the cooperation of farmers is critical for successful projects. With this project, farmers can protect their crops through drip irrigation in case of lack of timely rain for the growing crops “.

Singataluru Lift Irrigation Project endeavours to bring the entire farming community together through Community Drip Irrigation Project – to establish systematic and sustainable irrigation practices. The ongoing phase 1 of the project plans to bring 10,080 hectares of agricultural land and thousands of farmers from 12 villages under drip irrigation to offer maximum crop yield. The drip system is provided by Karnataka Neeravari Nigama Limited. Netafim India is extensively providing agronomy services to educate farmers on sustainable agriculture practices.

Farmers from Dambal, Kalkeri, Harogeri, and Hirevaddatti

Mushroom samples were distributed to the villagers.

On the occasion of National Farmers Day, SVKM’s NMIMS School of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SAST) organised a Scientist-Farmer Interface at Balde village, Shirpur, Taluka, Dhule district, Maharashtra. Jitendra Kuwar (Former ZP Member & former Sarpanch), Nimba Dada Patil (Deputy Sarpanch), Cooperative Society Chairman, and Vitthal Patil (Police Patil) graced the occasion.

Faculty members of SAST, Dr. Krishna Chaitanya, Dr. K.V. Patil, Dr. Mohammad Faisal, Dr Nitin Misal; RAWE students of SAST; and several Farmers participated in the event.

    Dr. K. V. Patil, (RAWE Co-ordinator) explained the significance of National Farmers’ Day and the role of the farming community in addressing the food and nutritional security of the country and contributing to the nation’s economy. He also briefed about the Rural Agricultural Work Experience program which is going on in Balde and adjoining villages. He gave details about the student activities and their role as a bridge between the farmers and the scientists in the transfer of innovative techniques.

Further Dr. Mohammed Faisal (Plant Pathologist) demonstrated different Mushroom species, seed (spawn) and packing for cultivation. He shared multiple ways of processing and utilisation of mushroom products in the Indian market and also highlighted the economic benefits for the villagers. Mushroom samples were distributed to the villagers. He announced that mushroom seeds and produce were readily available at SAST, NMIMS, Shirpur Campus.

Dr. Nitin Misal (Soil Scientist) explained the importance of soil health and damage to soil health due to irrational fertiliser applications and irrigation water management practices. He also discussed the advantages of soil testing and urged farmers of the village to submit soil samples of their farm field at least once before sowing any crop.

Later on, an interactive session was held by Dr. K.V. Patil and RAWE students, where the farmers expressed their general issues and needs. They also discussed specific issues in various crops cultivated by them and with reference to pests and diseases.

Mushroom samples were distributed to the villagers.On

The government has taken up the task of providing GI tagging to another 20-25 products which will give us an edge in the international markets.

“Expanding business and marketing opportunities for farmers with a well-planned holistic agriculture development is immensely helping Jammu and Kashmir to move towards historic transformation”, said Atal Dulloo, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Agriculture Production Department.

ACS said this while addressing a mammoth gathering after inaugurating one day Buyer-Seller meet organised by the department of Horticulture Planning and Marketing (HP&M).

Over three hundred growers and farmers, SHGs, FPOs and entrepreneurs hailing from different parts of J&K participated in the event.

The meet also witnessed great participation of buyers which included big merchants, exporters and multinational companies like Reliance, Big Basket and Amazon. Besides, many potential buyers, exporters, and stakeholders including HFN, Unnati Cooperatives, Uniwool, JKDCUL, Sarweshwar addressed the gathering.

Participating buyers appreciated the initiative of the department which will provide an exclusive opportunity to interact directly with the growers and farmers.

He said that the government has launched a holistic agriculture development programme in J&K. The conceptualization, formulation and approval of the massive transformative mission to reform agriculture and allied sectors in J&K was finalized and translated on ground in just 5 months of time, he added.

Pertinently, the humongous exercise began with the constitution of the Apex Committee under the Chairmanship of Mangla Rai by the Lieutenant Governor and culminated with the finalization of a transformative mission for holistic development of agriculture and allied sectors in J&K with the potential to transform the subsistence agriculture of J&K into sustainable commercial agri-economy.

Atat Duloo said the approved plan comprising 29 project proposals shall push agriculture and allied sectors to a new trajectory of growth with economy, ecology and equity as its guiding pillars, he shared. He also announced that the government has taken up the task of providing GI tagging to another 20-25 products which will give us an edge in the international markets. Besides, a high-level committee has been set up to take steps for export promotion of our significant products.

ACS further shared that the government has recently constituted a Marketing Board for facilitating the regulation of mandis and conferred various powers to the Board and the director of Horticulture, Planning and Marketing, J&K. The unified licensing has been approved as also the declaration of CA stores/warehouses/stores of FPOs/Cooperatives as sub-yards of Mandis for undergoing trade on e-NAM.

He said HP&M has moved towards a transparent e-auction system for the allocation of space in mandis and e-NAM trade has increased from less than Rs 1 crore to over Rs 23 crore in a span of 3-4 months, besides taking lead at the national level in inter-state e-NAM Trade.

Speaking on the occasion, Vanita, DGM APEDA, deliberated upon the initiatives of the organization towards the promotion of J&K agriculture and Horticulture. She informed that APEDA, a first, recently introduced the Mishri variety of cherry to the Singapore market and Kashmir Apples to Hongkong which she termed as new milestones for local products.

Later, a buyer seller interaction session was conducted where participants had a thorough and candid discussion on different aspects related to business promotion.

The government has taken up the task

Store offers wide range of ‘residue-free and safe-for-consumption’ fresh produce

Simpli Namdhari’s, India’s only-vegetarian omnichannel retailer operating eight supermarkets across Bengaluru in Karnataka, opens a new store in Yelahanka. The store in the northern part of Bengaluru offers a complete grocery experience and customer service.

The new store is designed using natural elements combining greens and browns to compliment the fresh, exotic and extensive product range on offer. It is approximately 5,000 sq ft in size and offers a wide range of residue-free and safe-for-consumption fresh produce, everyday grocery items, personal care and household items, an extensive assortment of dairy items along with gourmet products from around the world. 

The store also boasts a ‘Simpli Good Food’ café where one can enjoy healthy salads, cold-pressed juices and other short eats.

Store offers wide range of ‘residue-free and

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between CMFRI and Kerala-based company Emineotech for the commercial production 

The ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has announced that Cadalmin LivCure extract, a patent-protected nutraceutical product developed by the researchers at CMFRI from seaweeds, against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, will hit the market soon.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between CMFRI and Kerala-based company Emineotech for the commercial production and marketing of the product.

A unique blend of 100 per cent natural bioactive ingredients extracted from select seaweeds, the product is made of an eco-friendly green technology to improve liver health, and is the ninth nutraceutical developed by the CMFRI.

According to Dr A Gopalakrishnan, CMFRI director, “Commercialisation of the product will be greatly beneficial to a large number of people suffering from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease as it helps improve liver health, reduce disposition of fatty substance and maintain other liver/lipid parameters within the clinically acceptable limits.” 

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been

The reported enzyme can have extended application in food medicine.

Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati researchers have studied the efficacy of a specific bacterial endoglucanase enzyme, RfGH5_4 from Ruminococcus flavefaciens in breaking down woody biomatter into a simple sugar that can be fermented efficiently to produce bioethanol – a promising renewable fuel that can replace petroleum-based fuel systems.

A team led by Prof. Arun Goyal, Dept. of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Guwahati, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Lisbon, Portugal have recently published the discovery and observations of the research in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. The published paper is the research work carried out by Parmeshwar Vitthal Gavande, a Doctoral student of Prof. Arun Goyal, as a part of the PhD thesis work.

The production of fuel from renewable biological sources has elicited significant scientific interest in recent years because of the problems of dwindling fossil fuel reserves and the environmental pollution associated with their generation and use. Of the many biofuels known, ethanol (or ethyl alcohol) is widely studied because of its positive impact on the environment. This intoxicating component of spirits and drinks that can also be used to fuel vehicles, is commonly produced by the fermentation of sugar and starch-containing raw materials – grapes, barley, and potato among others. However, there is interest in developing methods to extract bioethanol for fuel from agricultural and forestry residues and crops that are rich in carbohydrate polymers (lignocellulose) – the plant dry matter that constitutes the woody part of plants.

For industrial production of bioethanol as fuel, the lignocellulose extracted from plants is deconstructed by using the biological catalysts (enzymes) called cellulases and subsequently fermented. Endoglucanase is one such cellulase enzyme. The bottleneck to the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to bioethanol is the poor efficiency of these enzymes. Furthermore, the lignocellulosic biomass contains hemicellulose along with cellulose, which cannot be broken down by many endoglucanases.

The IIT Guwahati scientists have shown the efficacy of a new type of endoglucanase called RfGH5_4 in breaking down lignocellulosic and hemicellulosic biomass for the eventual conversion to bioethanol fuel. The enzyme was derived from a bacterium called Ruminococcus flavefaciens.

The IIT Guwahati team chose Ruminococcus flavefaciens because this bacterium is found in the gut of cows and other cud-chewing animals which have faced cellulosic pressure for millions of years. The particular gene encoding the cellulase enzyme, RfGH5_4 was fished-out from R. flavefaciens. The researchers have thus developed this efficient machinery of RfGH5_4 to break down cellulose and cellulosic structures into simple sugars.  The bacterium harbours a cohort of at least 14 different multimodular enzymes that can break down cellulose, one of which is RfGH5_4.

Explaining the research work, Prof. Arun Goyal, Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Guwahati, said, “We characterized Endoglucanase, RfGH5_4 and found that it hydrolysed carboxymethyl cellulose (a lab-scale analog of cellulose) as well as normal amorphous cellulose with greater catalytic efficiency. Our studies also showed that this enzyme acted on lignocellulosic substrates from different agricultural residues such as cotton stalk, sorghum stalk, sugarcane bagasse, etc. and had good affinity for hemicellulosic substrates as well which include β-glucan, lichenan, xyloglucan, konjac glucomannan, xylan and carob galactomannan”.

The IITG team’s earlier work on cloning, expression and biochemical characterization of RfGH5_4 revealed that this particular endoglucanase is multifunctional and catalytically efficient.  With this knowledge, they characterized the structure of this enzyme, its reaction mechanism and the structural basis of its multi-functionality. Adding to the characteristics of RfGH5_4 they further emphasized that its multi-functionality makes RfGH5_4 stand out from the plethora of other cellulases that are present in nature and available commercially..

Elucidating the structural basis, Parmeshwar Gavande, PhD Research Scholar and the First author, elaborated, The structure of RfGH5_4 was deciphered using extensive molecular dynamics and computational approaches at Param-Ishan Supercomputer facility of IITG. RfGH5_4 was found to contain some highly flexible loops in its core structure making room for different carbohydrate polymers during the reaction, thus imparting the multifunctionality to RfGH5_4”

“Agricultural residual biomasses are wasted or burned causing various environmental hazards including global warming and climate change. Their deconstruction by RfGH5_4 might extend its usage in food medicine as well”, Prof. Goyal foresees employing RfGH5_4 to serve humanity. The presented research constructively tries to lend a helping hand in addressing the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDGs) of the United Nations”, Prof. Goyal further added.

RfGH5_4 is sufficiently active at ambient temperatures. Therefore, it might be suitable for the Simultaneous Saccharification and Fermentation (SSF) of lignocellulosic biomass, a process greatly admired in the industry.

The research has shown that multifunctional RfGH5_4 cellulase might be used for the efficient and cost-effective production of lignocellulosic bioethanol on an industrial scale. Thus, its ability to break down cellulose and hemicellulose makes it possibly useful in various other applications such as the textile, food and pulp industry, synthesis of prebiotics, and pharmaceuticals, among others.

The findings of this research work were also recently presented by Gavande at the International Conference of Biotechnology for Better Tomorrow (ICBBT-2022) at Bali, Indonesia, and received the Best Oral Presentation Award for it.

The reported enzyme can have extended application

BioVeda is building an integrated full-stack Agri-tech platform to bring digital efficiency to the agriculture ecosystem. 

BioVeda Agro Ventures India’s first integrated online platform for farmers has recently secured an undisclosed amount of seed funding from India Accelerator’s Angel Investors’ network – iAngels. 

Incepted in February 2022, the Agri-tech platform brings a wide range of Agri- services for farmers to sell their Agri-produce, buy Agri-inputs and avail of credit facilities at lower interest rates on a single Digital Platform.

BioVeda plans to allocate the majority of funds to Business Expansion & Technology. 

Mahua Hazra, Co-founder & CEOof BioVeda Agro Ventures said, “We are delighted to have completed the seed funding round that will give us an impetus to seize the market opportunity & drive expansion. We are ready to dive into the fastest growing sector of Financial Inclusion and Rural E-Commerce. We believe that our business model will play a crucial role in easing the farmers’ access to better Credit facilities; Agri inputs supplies and help them obtain the best rates for their Agri-produce. We operate by the principle of Aggregation & we are confident that our Data Driven Farmer engagement will help in understanding the real needs of the Farmer and would eventually lead to empowering multiple industries through AI and our Predictive SCM. Most importantly, I am glad that we are able to generate Rural employment through incentive-based employment programs and are contributing towards Nation building.”

Commenting on the investment, Deepak Nagpal, Managing Partner & Business Head for iAgri (IA’s Agritech Vertical) said, “BioVeda is a fantastic example of inducing sustainable agriculture practices and super growth metrics in a very short span of time. With an increasing number of farmers looking to foster stable and continuous production, BioVeda’s integrated advanced Agri-tech platform will actually add moolah in the Farmer’s pocket. We have invested in the start-up with great zeal and we look forward to witnessing fast paced growth and profitability.”

Commenting on the growth strategy, Kaushik Dasgupta, Co-Founder & COOsaid; “BIOVEDA is backed by a strong team of founders, with a cumulative 120+ years of experience. India has 7 lakh+ villages and each village is an average business opportunity of INR 5-8 Cr annually. In a short span of 10 months, we have built a robust network of farmers in a select few states. We are currently working with 25 distributors, 300+ Kisan Mitras (VLEs) and over 25,000 Farmers, all digitally enabled. BioVeda aims to cover 10,000+ Villages and 1 million Farmers by the end of the next Financial Year. The right mix of technology and physical presence (Phygital Model) on the ground is the key to our fast-track growth.”

With mobile penetration at its peak, the data collection and automated verification that the company is doing at the root level for every farmer bring a huge set of opportunities, benefitting the FPOs ecosystem in the country as well. 

BioVeda is building an integrated full-stack Agri-tech

DG, ICAR appreciate the efforts of scientists in developing the vaccine for H9N2 virus.

‘Inactivated low pathogenic avian influenza (H9N2) vaccine for chickens’, developed by the scientists of ICAR- National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (ICAR-NIHSAD), Bhopal was transferred to Globion India, Secunderabad; Venkateshwara Hatcheries, Pune; Indovax, Gurgaon and Hester Biosciences, Ahmedabad, facilitated by Agrinnovate India (AgIn) at the National Agriculture Science Complex (NASC), New Delhi.

Speaking at the occasion of the technology transfer of the H9N2 vaccine for chickens, Himanshu Pathak, Secretary,Department of Agricultural Research (DARE) & Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), appreciated the efforts of the ICAR-NIHSAD scientists in the development of the indigenous vaccine for H9N2 virus and commended the Agrinnovate India (AgIn) for the efforts in the transfer of the technology to the industry.

DG, ICAR appreciate the efforts of scientists

The county authority has steadfastly pushed forward the integration of the beef cattle industry and rural vitalisation.

Shandong’s Yangxin county has striven to transform beef cattle into a pillar industry in an effort to drive development, increase local farmers’ incomes and maintain an ecological environment.

The county authority has steadfastly pushed forward the integration of the beef cattle industry and rural vitalisation. It has issued several policies to enhance support of beef cattle breeding and slaughtering, as well as brand promotion. Now Yangxin’s three beef and cattle brands have been approved as certification trademarks with geographic indications.

With a focus on ‘internet + beef cattle’ technology, Yangxin has worked to propel the digital development of the beef cattle industry, using ear tags and smart collars for automated individual cattle identification and precise feeding of cattle at different growth stages with an intelligent centralised feeding system.

In partnership with universities and institutes such as China Agricultural University and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Yangxin has launched a beef cattle research centre, an agriculture internet of things centre, an experimental station and an industrial technology research institute.

Meanwhile, the county has put equal emphasis on recycling and utilisation of livestock excrement, building a series of ecological cycling projects with each one able to make 240,000 metric tons of livestock excrement into 50,000 tons of organic fertiliser, 200,000 tons of biogas fluid fertiliser and 3 million cubic meters of natural gas annually.

Now Yangxin has taken the lead in the country in terms of the scale of its beef cattle industry. It has 136 beef cattle farms and 76 slaughtering enterprises, with an annual output of 280,000 cattle and slaughtering capability of 1.2 million cattle.

In addition, Yangxin has developed cultural creative products including a cattle hair brush, cattle bone china, and cattle bone carvings.

To improve the supply of cattle, the county also has spared no efforts to import quality cattle. In July 2022, it unveiled a cattle industrial park which features functions of customs clearance, intelligent cold-chain logistics, data collection, standard production and comprehensive inspection.

Once fully operational the park will greatly improve customs clearance efficiency, help companies save costs of 36 million yuan ($5.16 million) annually and bring 1,500 jobs. It is expected to become a pioneer and leading area for the beef cattle industry.

Yangxin has fostered a complete industry chain covering forage planting, calf breeding, beef cattle fattening, slaughtering and processing, cold-chain logistics, a restaurant chain, leather manufacturing, cattle bone carving, cattle by-products processing, and organic fertiliser production, and by doing so has created nearly 120,000 jobs.

The county authority has steadfastly pushed forward

The state Cabinet has approved the provision of Rs1142.24 crore for the Development of potatoes, vegetables and Spices.

The Odisha Cabinet approved a provision of Rs 367.19 crore for five years from 2022-23 to 2026-27 for implementation of the State Sector Scheme-“Empowerment of Women in Agriculture-Promotion of Entrepreneurship for Women SHG”, according to an official press release.

The scheme has been introduced with the objective to double the mushroom production across the State through area expansion involving women beneficiaries/WSHGs and to make the state self-sufficient in the production of button mushrooms and loose flowers,

The scheme will ensure sustainable income generation of women beneficiaries/WSHGs & the state shall emerge as the net exporter of mushrooms & high value flowers over the mission period, the press release said.

The state Cabinet has approved the provision of Rs1142.24 crore for four years from 2022-23 to 2025-26 for implementation Of the State Sector Scheme- “Development of Potato, Vegetable and Spices” with the involvement of WSHGs and Farmers Producer Organizations (FPOs).

“The scheme is introduced with the objective to provide financial assistance to the farmers for the cultivation of Potato, Onions, Hybrid vegetables, and Spices in order to make the State self-sufficient in the production of 5 vegetables (Potato, Onion, Tomato, Cauliflower & Cabbage) along with an increase in area and production under spices,” the statement said.

“It will provide ample scope for employment generation in rural areas and augmentation of the income of the farmers. The present dependency of the state on other states for Vegetables like potatoes, onions, and seed spices will be brought down and the state will be self-sufficient,” it added.

The state Cabinet has approved the provision of Rs1142.24

Symposium held to create awareness on occupational health situations in Agriculture.

UPL, one of the Global Agriculture industry leaders, in association with AIIMS, Hyderabad, Nagpur, and Rajkot along with local Associations of Physicians had organised symposiums to train doctors on Toxicology emergency management. The symposium themed ‘Occupational Health- Agriculture’, aimed at spreading awareness among medical healthcare professionals about occupational health-related hazards in agriculture. It further intended to directly communicate the message to the medical fraternity, especially doctors from primary healthcare centres and district medical hospitals, about the right protocol of diagnosis and treatment whenever required. Over 1200 doctors have been trained so far through these symposiums.

Recently, the symposium was held in association with PDU Medical College, Rajkot and the Association of Physicians of India, with the theme of ‘Occupational Health- Agriculture’.

Speaking at the occasion, HC Kyada, Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, PDU Medical College, Rajkot said, “Doctors at Primary level need to differentiate snake bites and other exposures including pesticides for adoption of the required treatment protocol. Most common poisonous cases are cobra bites, snake bite, ecstasy, dhatura, bhang etc. overdose. Different exposures need to be identified for adopting specific treatment protocols. A collaborative effort, in association with a prestigious institution like AIIMS, along with a trained workforce of doctors and health professionals, will certainly go a long way to bring best practices to the medical fraternity, especially working in rural areas.” 

Sagar Kaushik, President, Global Corporate and Industry Affairs, UPL said, “The crop protection industry has introduced environment-friendly crop protection products, including biologicals for pest control and plant health. Also, the expansion of Adarsh Farm Services (AFS) with mechanised machines by UPL has substantially reduced spraying exposure, for spraying workers and farmers, to almost zero levels in the last five to six years. UPL will organise such symposiums nationwide to bring awareness for the safe use of agrochemicals with support from its state medical fraternity”

Poisoning is a significant global public health hazard. The incidence of poisoning in India is among the highest in the world. It is estimated that more than 50,000 people die every year from toxic exposure. Poisoning happens due to several reasons including snakebites, occupational hazards at workplaces such as agriculture. According to a recent study, India accounts for almost 80 per cent of global snakebite deaths. In such situations, it is critical that local PHCs and Doctors are equipped and trained to deal with such toxic emergencies.

The symposium addressed key issues and approaches to toxicology emergencies at PHC and tertiary care hospitals, Pesticides and their medical management, Preventive aspects of toxic emergencies, Initiative from UPL for a safe and preventive approach to pesticide use especially with their Adarsh Farm Services with 3000 mechanised Spraying Machines for the farmers, Pesticide regulations in India, Medico legal aspects of toxic emergencies and more.

Symposium held to create awareness on occupational

WWF report details how stakeholders are putting research into action and ramping up environment-friendly indoor farming.

The St. Louis region is positioned to become the global centre for innovation in indoor soilless agriculture thanks to a cooperative effort from dozens of experts over the past two years. This work, which aims to realise the full potential of a burgeoning industry while benefiting the local community, is detailed in a new report released today from World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Markets Institute.

Indoor soilless farming has great potential to supplement the US food system and help alleviate supply chain instability, food deserts, and the massive environmental impact of traditional farming. But to fulfil this potential and grow at an accelerated pace, the industry must address several challenges including high energy footprints, affordability, and expanding beyond leafy greens. To that end, a St. Louis-based coalition of more than 70 professionals from varying industries has worked to establish a centralised base of knowledge and best practices and lay the groundwork for a new indoor farm where innovative ideas can be put to the test.

“These past few years we’re seen in the US just how fragile our current food system really is,” said Julia Kurnik, director of innovation startups at WWF’s Markets Institute. “We need new food solutions that don’t put additional pressure on nature and climate, and indoor agriculture is one with enormous potential. We’ve dedicated a lot of effort into figuring out how to accelerate the indoor farming industry in a sustainable way, and it’s so gratifying to see that research come to life in the St. Louis region.”

The St. Louis region was identified as the ideal base for these endeavours in a 2020 WWF analysis due to its unrivalled relevant science expertise in plant science, agtech, and bioscience, along with strong potential partners including universities, foundations, and grocery chains. There is plenty of unused or under-utilised infrastructure and capital assets that could be repurposed for or integrated with indoor farms to lower the environmental impact of the facilities. There is also an opportunity to benefit local communities by producing healthy food year-round in urban settings while also creating job opportunities requiring little or no previous experience.

WWF report details how stakeholders are putting

Fungicide comes as a respite, particularly for the production of grapes

Insecticides (India) Limited (IIL), one of India’s leading crop protection and nutrition companies, has launched an indigenously made fungicide called ‘Stunner’ to combat mainly Downy Mildew disease in grapes. This broad-spectrum fungicide comes as a respite particularly for the production of grapes as huge losses, in the form of mortality of the plant ranging from 20 per cent to 80 per cent, are incurred by the farmers due to this fungal disease. Downy Mildew disease plays havoc by significantly affecting the quality of grapes, IIL said.

“This is the first time that this technical and formulation is being manufactured in India. Owing to the requirement of a fungicide for successful grape cultivation, our farmers were mainly dependent on imported fungicide formulations to date. However, being a firm believer of the ‘Make in India’ initiative, we took this step, and here we are with Stunner in hand for the first time in India. Stunner is an effective fungicide for Downy Mildew disease in grapes,” informed, Rajesh Aggarwal, Managing Director, Insecticides (India).

Fungicide comes as a respite, particularly for