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The exhibit delves into the many superpowers of millets, showcasing their diverse varieties, cultivation methods, and culinary uses.

In collaboration with India’s Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Google Arts & Culture launched a new digital exhibit, “Millets: Seeds of Change,” celebrating the rich history and growing international importance of millets, of which India is the world’s largest producer. The digital exhibition highlights the history of millets from ancient grains to modern-day superfoods, as well as their nutritional benefits, contribution to global climate resilience, and potential to address global food security challenges.

The exhibit delves into the many superpowers of millets, showcasing their diverse varieties, cultivation methods, and culinary uses. It features simple and delicious millet recipes from celebrated chefs like award-winner Chef Thomas Zacharias, who is leading a millet revival movement. Interactive elements like quizzes and crosswords allow visitors to test their knowledge and engage with the content in a fun and informative way.

Launching the exhibit at Krishi Bhavan, Manoj Ahuja, Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare stated: “When India spearheaded the UNGA resolution to declare 2023 the International Year of Millets, we did so with the objective of sharing our agricultural practices and experiences with the world. We were gratified to see ‘Shree Anna’, which holds immense potential for multiplier impact – including offering India’s small farmers a doorway to prosperity – receiving interest during the global G20 Summit. Our hope and ambition are that the conversations that have been generated over the past year translate into the advantages of millets spreading farther and wider. I thank Google Arts & Culture for supporting us in this endeavour with a dedicated digital exhibit.”

Amit Sood, Director, Google Arts & Culture remarked on the collaboration: “Google Arts & Culture is dedicated to leveraging technology, offering global audiences an interactive way to engage with cultural and historical treasures that shape our world. We are proud to have worked with India’s Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare to celebrate one such prime example from the ancient world that is capable of transformative impact – for the world of today and of tomorrow. Given its long-standing versatility in addressing multiple nutritional and sustainability challenges, it is little surprise that millets are witnessing a global resurgence. We are glad to lend our technology and platform to support the growing popularity of this food group.”

The exhibit delves into the many superpowers

The partnership will focus on creating next-generation workflows for emerging applications such as Polar Pesticides, PFAS, and Antibiotics.

Agilent Technologies, a pioneer in analytical laboratory solutions, has announced a strategic partnership with ICAR-National Research Centre for Grapes (NRCG) to co-develop advanced analytical workflows and address critical gaps in emerging food safety protocols.

As India cements its position as a key global player in food production and exports, there is an increasing need to focus on the quality of food products and adherence to domestic and international safety regulations. The country’s status as one of the leading producers and exporters of cereals, spices, fruits and vegetables, and seafood underscores this necessity.

The collaboration between Agilent and NRCG will leverage Agilent’s global expertise in food safety solutions alongside NRCG’s extensive experience in analytical workflow development. This synergy aims to expedite the creation of cutting-edge workflows targeting PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), polar pesticides, antibiotics, and other emerging applications, ensuring that Indian food products meet stringent regulatory standards.

The partnership will focus on creating next-generation workflows for emerging applications such as Polar Pesticides, PFAS, and Antibiotics. These innovative workflows will enhance food safety practices and contribute to India’s sustainable reputation as a reliable food producer and exporter.

Speaking about the collaboration, Dr Kaushik Banerjee, Director, ICAR-National Research Centre for Grapes, said: “ICAR-NRCG is delighted to announce its collaboration with Agilent Technologies, which aims to improve the nation’s food safety capabilities with a sustainable approach. In 2012, NRCG published its first GC-MS/MS based multi residue testing procedure for simultaneous analysis of 375 food contaminants using an Agilent GC-MS/MS system, which provided the most comprehensive scope of residue monitoring those days. Since then, the process has progressed with the development and implementation of a variety of analytical methodologies for the benefit of stakeholders in the food sector.”

“The country’s growing demand for food analysis is the focus of this public-private partnership. Laboratories that meet the requirements of regulatory bodies, such as FSSAI, APEDA, EIC, and Commodity Boards will receive significant support from this strategic collaboration. As I look ahead, there are exciting opportunities and important responsibilities on the horizon,” he added.

Agilent and NRCG will collaborate to enhance existing food safety workflows, ensuring robust testing and compliance with regulatory requirements. The partnership aims to advocate for the adoption of new regulations in the country. Agilent and NRCG will contribute to shaping food safety standards by actively participating in policy discussions. Agilent and NRCG will publish methods and articles related to emerging regulations. These resources will provide valuable insights to the scientific community and promote best practices.

Technical personnel from both organizations and the industry will benefit from joint workshops and skill development programs. These initiatives will foster knowledge exchange and empower professionals to implement advanced analytical techniques. Agilent and NRCG will organize webinars and panel discussions to share expertise, discuss challenges, and explore solutions related to food safety.

Speaking about the partnership, Dr Samir Vyas, Country General Manager of Agilent in India said, “This strategic partnership not only aims at bolstering the supply chain with safe and nutritious foods but also seeks to boost India’s growth trajectory in global exports through technological advancements. By fostering skill development among technical personnel via training sessions and workshops, Agilent, together with NRCG, is committed to setting new benchmarks in food safety standards.”

The partnership will focus on creating next-generation

The newly patented technology offers a game-changing solution by enabling the rapid visual detection of L. garvieae within just 40 minutes.

In a significant stride towards combating the devastating impact of Lactococcus garvieae, ICAR- Directorate of Coldwater Fisheries Research, Bhimtal clinched its patent for a pioneering diagnostic solution. The patented technology, titled ‘Composition, Protocol, and Diagnostic Kit for Identification of Bacterial Pathogen Lactococcus garvieae’ was led by Dr Neetu Shahi, Senior Scientist, and the team of ICAR-DCFR, Bhimtal.

Dr Pramod Kumar Pandey, Director, ICAR-DCFR, Bhimtal, emphasised the urgent need for such innovative detection methods to safeguard global aquaculture industries from the burgeoning threat posed by this pathogen.

L. garvieae, recognised globally as a formidable threat to marine and freshwater aquaculture, has inflicted colossal economic losses running into millions of dollars. This bacterium, initially identified in the 1980s from bovine mastitis samples in the United Kingdom, wreaks havoc by causing hemorrhagic septicemia and meningoencephalitis in over 60 fish species. With crop losses ranging from 20 to 60% upon infection detection, the impact on fish production is staggering. Moreover, surviving fish become asymptomatic carriers, further perpetuating the spread of the disease. The outbreak of “Warm Water Lactococcosis”, ascribed to L. garvieae, intensifies during warmer months, posing a dire threat to rainbow trout farming. Compounding the challenge are factors such as climate change, antibiotic resistance, and the lack of rapid diagnostic tools. Traditional identification methods are time-consuming and often prone to misidentification, exacerbating the spread of the pathogen.

The newly patented technology offers a game-changing solution by enabling the rapid visual detection of L. garvieae within just 40 minutes. Leveraging specific concentrations and compositions of oligonucleotides, the diagnostic kit facilitates swift, accurate, and cost-effective detection by discerning color changes in the reactants.

This is the second patent granted to the directorate under the leadership of the present director.

The newly patented technology offers a game-changing

Decentralised biochar production technology will be an affordable and viable option for farmers and Self-Help Groups (SHGs) to solve the issues around crop residues in a sustainable manner.

As global concerns over sustainable agriculture and climate change intensify, the use of biochar for soil amendment is increasingly gaining popularity because of its inherent properties that enrich the soil with nutrients and sequester carbon dioxide. These properties position biochar as a key player in agriculture’s shift towards net-zero emissions and in preventing soil degradation.

A recent study by ICRISAT scientists explores the design of an affordable, farm-level operable kiln for biochar production aimed at supporting smallholder farmers. The research paper also examines the properties of the biochar produced to better understand its applicability.

In her congratulatory remarks to the study’s authors, Director General of ICRISAT, Dr Jacqueline Hughes, underscored the significance of integrated solutions in accelerating our collective journey towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Biochar production not only solves the issue of managing crop residues, but its application in soil health, wastewater treatment and carbon farming opens up enormous opportunities to move towards a cleaner and greener future,” Dr Hughes shared.

According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India, India produces over 500 million tons of agricultural residues annually, with about one fourth being burned (2017-2018). The incineration of these residues causes several health and environmental concerns. However, converting these residues into biochar presents a viable alternative, offering not just a method for managing this waste, but also the potential for additional revenue or cost savings for farmers. 

Dr ML Jat, Director, Global Research Program – Resilient Farm and Food Systems, ICRISAT emphasized the importance of adopting a decentralized approach to ensure that the process benefits the farmers.

“This low-cost, decentralized biochar production technology will be an affordable and viable option for farmers and Self-Help Groups (SHGs) to solve the issues around crop residues in a sustainable manner. Moreover, this technology also aligns well with government incentives for voluntary carbon markets and environmental initiatives like the ‘Mission Life-Lifestyle for the Environment program,'” Dr Jat noted.

The characteristics of biochar significantly depend on the type of crop residue used. In this study, two types of feedstocks—pigeonpea and maize stalk—were used to draw a comparison between the ICRISAT-designed pyrolysis kiln and a lab-scale muffle furnace.

The study also examined the physical and chemical attributes of biochar derived from the two feedstocks, using high-end imaging and analytical technologies such as Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Thermogravimetric Analyzer (TGA).

Research reveals that biochar created in the portable kiln at 400°C exhibits a quality comparable to that produced in the muffle furnace. Further analysis shows that the biochar derived from pigeonpea and maize stalks contains total carbon percentages of 48.9 per cent and 41.9 per cent, respectively. Within these totals, the proportion of stable carbon stands at approximately 98.6 per cent for pigeonpea stalk biochar and 94.4 per cent for maize stalk biochar.

“Organic waste management methods like composting and mulching are efficient, yet thermochemical techniques, such as pyrolysis, offer distinct advantages, including quicker processing times and higher efficiency, particularly with dry residues,” Dr Gajanan Sawargaonkar, Senior Scientist, ICRISAT, and one of the study’s authors, remarked. 

Dr Sawargaonkar also highlighted that the data produced in the study will significantly contribute to the development of a holistic set of practices aimed at advancing sustainable agriculture.

Decentralised biochar production technology will be an

Experts opined at a conference “DSR for Sustainable & Profitable Rice Production” organised by the Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII) in New Delhi.

 Direct-seeded rice (DSR) has the potential to bring a reduction in water consumption, cut methane emissions, minimize soil erosion, reduce manual labour, and provide better crop residue management in rice cultivation in India. DSR is a result-oriented and successful method for sustainable rice cultivation in India. The success of DSR lies with the farmers’ confidence. Farmers need confidence that they will get better yield, their plants will establish well, and effectively manage weeds, pests and diseases, experts opined at a conference “DSR for Sustainable & Profitable Rice Production” organised by the Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII) at The Park Hotel, New Delhi today.

Rice is India’s leading foodgrain crop and is a staple food for the 1.4 billion population of the country. Grown in a variety of agro-climatic zones, according to industry estimates, rice is responsible for 50 per cent of crop-related methane emissions and approximately 40 percent of water consumption in agriculture, leading to depleting groundwater levels, soil degradation due to water runoff, and intensive manual labour in traditional and transplanted rice cultivation.

To successfully drive this transition from transplanted puddled rice to DSR with minimum fear and risk, allowing farmers to experience first-hand convenience and an equivalent or higher return on investment would require the agri input industry to closely work with the Central and state governments, plant breeders, farm machinery industry and farmers.

Speaking on the research and development in the field of DSR techniques, Dr AK Singh, Director, ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), said, “Ongoing research and development efforts in the field of agriculture aim to improve DSR techniques, develop new varieties, and address any challenges associated with its adoption, ensuring continuous improvement and sustainability. In essence, Direct Seeded Rice in India represents a shift towards more sustainable, resource-efficient, and economically viable rice cultivation practices. As the agricultural landscape evolves, DSR will play a crucial role in meeting the demand of a growing population while addressing environmental and economic challenges.”

“Farmers need to adopt appropriate practices, such as selecting suitable rice varieties and managing weeds effectively, to maximize the benefits of this cultivation method. DSR eliminates the labour-intensive process of rice transplantation, saving on labour costs. Since DSR reduces the duration of flooded fields compared to traditional rice cultivation, it contributes to lower methane emissions. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas associated with flooded rice fields, leading to climate change and global warming,” Dr Singh added.

Speakers during the inaugural session discussed how remunerative is DSR for farmers as compared to traditional and transplanted rice cultivation, challenges in the adoption of DSR, training and capacity building of farmers, developing an ecosystem to encourage DSR adoption and synergies between Central and state government policies.

Addressing the conference, Ajai Rana, Chairman, FSII and Managing Director & CEO, Savannah Seeds, said, “The industry sees DSR as a technological advancement in rice cultivation. Direct seeding through machinery and drones, has the potential to further enhance efficiency and reduce dependence on manual labour, aligning with the modernization trends in Indian agriculture. The shift toward DSR creates opportunities for agribusinesses involved in the production and distribution of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and farm machinery. As more farmers adopt DSR, the demand for suitable inputs and equipment is likely to increase.”

“With a growing emphasis on sustainable agricultural practices, the industry recognizes DSR as a practice that contributes to resource conservation. The reduced water usage and lower methane emissions align with global sustainability goals, making DSR an attractive option for environmentally conscious stakeholders. The reduced need for water and seedling nurseries contributes to overall cost reduction in terms of inputs and resources. This is particularly crucial in regions facing water scarcity. DSR is a win-win situation for the farmers. While reducing costs, DSR provides better yields which results in better incomes for farmers.” Rana added.

The benefits of DSR are well known as it is resource efficient, environment and soil friendly, has higher yields and less manpower requirement due to the shift from flooded to direct seeding system which leads to variation in water, tillage, nutrients, the crop faces challenges of weeds, pest and diseases attacks, and lodging.

The majority of rice farmers constantly struggle with issues of water availability and cultivation costs. Rice is a staple food and has good export potential. At the same time, this rice is resource-intensive and has a severe impact on the environment. DSR promises to address these challenges however this requires the support of government policies and procurement systems to encourage farmers to switch from traditional rice cultivation methods to DSR.

Ultimately, industry players evaluate the economic viability of DSR both for farmers and the broader agricultural value chain. The potential for increased yields reduced input costs, and improved sustainability positions DSR as a valuable component of the agricultural landscape in India.

By Nitin Konde

Experts opined at a conference “DSR for

Company plans to commence a palm oil mill in the state by 2029-30, with FFB processing capacity of 10 Metric Tons per Hour (TPH) initially.

Karnataka-based MK Agrotech Pvt Ltd, a leading edible oil and food company in India and M11 Industries, today announced the launch of its ambitious oil palm plantations programme in Odisha. The Karnataka-based companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Odisha under the National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm (NMEO-OP).

The oil palm plantation programme has been launched in Nuapada and Bolangir districts, with 31 farmers already on board. By 2029-30, the plan is to commence a palm oil mill in the state, with FFB processing capacity of 10 Metric Tons per Hour (TPH) initially. In fact, M11 industries Pvt Ltd’s team has initiated, in full swing, identifying progressive and interested farmers for oil palm plantations in Bolangir and Nuapada district in Odisha.

This will be followed by dedicated training, technical support and capacity building along with assistance in establishment of nurseries and supply of quality planting materials to farmers. Micro irrigation will be the game changer and the focus are to ensure the farmers have irrigation systems installed in their farms. Technically sound with an experienced extension team has been discharging their job responsibilities day and night indefatigably in this arena of oil palm extension and development.

The oil palm plantations will be productive to a greater extent in Bolangir and Nuapada districts as they come into contact with the oil palm farmers from the neighbouring Bargarh district with almost similar climatic and soil conditions.

Currently, India is the largest importer of edible oils in the world. In 2020-21, India imported about 13.35 million tonnes of edible oils worth Rs 80,000 crore. Among the imported edible oils, the share of palm oil is the highest (60 per cent), followed by soybean oil (25 per cent), and sunflower (15 per cent). Domestic edible oil production has not been able to keep pace with the growth in yearly consumption, which has exceeded 25 million tonnes.

Elaborating on MK Agrotech Pvt Ltd’s strategic decision to foray into oil palm plantations in Odisha, Mannan Khan, Director, MK Agrotech Pvt Ltd said, “Oil palm-originated from West Africa is comparatively a new crop in India and around nine million tonnes or more- of   palm oil have been imported every year. Interestingly, Oil Palm has the capability to produce highest oil yield per hectare per year. In comparative terms, its yield is more than three times than the average oil yield per hectare per year we do receive from domestic traditional oilseeds. Over the decades, the Government of India has been making continual efforts to expand the area under cultivation of oil palm across various states in India in order to maximise the domestic production of edible oils and to bring down the excessive reliance on imports.

Nasim Ali, Adviser to MK Agrotech (Former CEO- Oil Palm Plantation Division, Godrej Agrovet Ltd.) said, “The plan is to adopt a cluster approach and develop a few model farming plots with the farmers in Bolangir district and Nuapada district. There are primarily two requirements for oil palm plantation – at least half a hectare of land and assured water availability throughout the year for irrigating the crop. It’s less labour-intensive crop and can easily provide an assured net annual income of Rs 1.5 lakh per hectare per year or more to farmers, once plantation is matured. The need of the hour is greater awareness and we are working on campaigns, especially at the village level, with the support of various government authorities at local level.”

Company plans to commence a palm oil

AMTPL will arrange buyers, provide working capital for youth through bank loans, offer free training on processes, products, technology, and pricing, and support KVKs in using AMTPL’s technology platform.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between ICAR-Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute, Kolkata and AgroPreneurs Market Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Ahmedabad, for the development of women entrepreneurs in agri-business and procurement of farm-produce directly from farmers under the brand Grains Global.

ICAR-ATARI and AMTPL are partnering to assist AgroPreneurs in finding suitable markets and building their farmer networks. AMTPL will arrange buyers, provide working capital for youth through bank loans, offer free training on processes, products, technology, and pricing, and support KVKs in using AMTPL’s technology platform, thereby enhancing their ability to handle farm produce.

Dr Pradip Dey, Director, ICAR-ATARI, Kolkata and Prasun Dey, Director, AMTPL, signed the MoU on behalf of their organisations.The signing and exchange of the Memorandum of Understanding was witnessed by Dr. P. Bandopadhyay, Director, Extension Education, Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Nadia.

AMTPL will arrange buyers, provide working capital

Agrostar group and LuLu Group are already working on pomegranates and Guavas to bring Indian fruits to the supermarkets and hypermarkets of the LuLu Group in the Middle East.

In a landmark development for the Indian F&V/horticulture sector, INI Farms, part of the AgroStar group, has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with LuLu Group International, to build a direct farm-to-retail partnership for the Indian Cavendish Bananas. This is a further extension to a long-term partnership between the two groups already working on pomegranates and Guavas to bring Indian fruits to the supermarkets and hypermarkets of the LuLu Group in the Middle East.

The MoU signing on 23 January 2024, is a groundbreaking moment for Indian Banana exports as it marks the direct servicing of a reputed large global retailer like LuLu Group International by an Indian F&V Brand. The event kicked off earlier in the day with the Flag-Off of the first container from INI Farms’ packhouse in Baramati to LuLu Group UAE, followed by the MoU signing event at Pune, ushering in a new era of partnership and progress in the Indian F&V export business. The event was graced with the presence of Salim M.A., Director, LuLu Group International along with dignitaries such as Dr Sudhanshu, Secretary, APEDA, Dr Brajesh Mishra, Head, Regional Plant Quarantine Station, Mumbai, along with other senior representatives from NABARD, Aavishkaar Group and Maharashtra Agriculture department.  

Under this strategic partnership, INI Farms working with the AgroStar network of farmers in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, will adhere to the highest standards of quality required for its products to be in global supermarkets and ensure a year-round supply to meet the demand of the LuLu’s end consumers. The partnership highlights the capabilities of the AgroStar group to serve Indian farmers across the value chain and fulfill the quality expectations of customers across the world. AgroStar’s tech capability, strong farmer relationships, agronomy expertise and wide range of agri input products combined with INI Farms’ strong sourcing, post-harvest & supply chain capabilities and its global network of customers/retailers gives the AgroStar group a unique advantage in India’s AgTech landscape.

Sharing her thoughts on the momentous occasion, Purnima Khandelwal, CEO, INI Farms said, “This MoU is a significant milestone not just in the journey of INI Farms, but also for Banana and Guava farmers across the country. We are excited about the prospect of directly servicing a highly reputed global retailer like LuLu and ensuring the highest quality of Indian bananas and Guavas from our farms to their retail shelves. We are grateful for the faith and trust shown by LuLu Group and excited about the opportunities this collaboration can bring for Indian farmers.”

Speaking during the event, Shardul Sheth, Co-founder and CEO, AgroStar said: “INI Farms has gone from strength to strength over the past few years. Last year, we witnessed landmark developments like the first Indian consignment of our ‘Kimaye’ branded bananas being shipped to the Netherlands and becoming a pioneer in the industry to successfully ship great quality pomegranates to the USA among other achievements. Our collaboration with LuLu Group International is yet another important milestone and a testament to our capability to be able to supply F&V products of global quality standards to marquee retailers and end customers around the globe and our passion to continue to build deep and meaningful relationships servicing the seed to market linkage needs of our farmers.

Sharing his thoughts during the event, Salim M.A., Director, LuLu Group International said, “This MoU is not just a trade deal, it is about celebrating the rich agricultural diversity of our nation and supporting our hardworking farmers. LuLu Group International aims to be the pioneer in sustainable agriculture and set new standards in quality and innovation. We have been working with INI Farms for close to a decade and this MoU further strengthens our collaboration. Together, in collaboration with our farmers and partners we will explore new markets and contribute to the growth of the agriculture sector. This MoU is a milestone and I’m confident that our partnership will be marked by success.”

Dr. Sudhashu, Secretary, APEDA, Ministry of Commerce & Industries shared his thoughts at the event, “The MoU signing, and Flag-Off event marks a historic moment for the Indian AgTech industry, representing a leap toward making banana exports the first billion-dollar fruit out of India in the next couple of years.”

Agrostar group and LuLu Group are already

This project ensures the continued care of trees beyond the support period of the BHGY project by aiding smallholder farmers in securing additional financial support from carbon markets.

Transform Rural India (TRI), in collaboration with Intellecap and ACORN (Rabobank), launched a pioneering Carbon Credit Finance Project benefiting over 100,000 farmers in Jharkhand.

This initiative targets all farmers in the state who have received support under the Birsa Harit Gram Yojana since 2018, facilitating their integration into the Rabobank ACORN platform. Predominantly women, these farmers have cultivated fruit orchards and local timber trees plantations across 100,000+ acres of rural land, with backing from the Government of Jharkhand under the Birsa Harit Gram Yojna (BHGY) of MGNREGA. These farmers will receive benefits for carbon removal over the next 15-20 years.

This project ensures the continued care of trees beyond the support period of the BHGY project by aiding smallholder farmers in securing additional financial support from carbon markets. Remarkably, this comes with no risk to the farmers or any required investment from them or the government. The project’s design inception began in December 2022, with the collaboration of implementation partners in support of the Jharkhand government.

Santosh K. Singh, Managing Director- Agri and Climate, Intellecap said, “We are committed to increasing smallholder farmers’ income and transitioning them to climate smart agriculture. By supporting Climate finance, specifically carbon finance, the project enables this transition to profitable and climate resilient agriculture practices. We also are looking at the ecosystem that is needed for achieving this and the platform works with government agencies, investors and corporates to help smallholder farmers.”

The project is founded on the principle of fair payment to farmers, wherein 80 per cent of the generated carbon credit revenue will be directly transferred to the farmers’ accounts. In addition to carbon credits, the partners will explore avenues to provide additional benefits to farmers through the Government of India Green Credit platform and other global biodiversity platforms. The project aims to ensure the proper maintenance of plantations, boost the income of smallholder farmers, and create local employment opportunities. Data collection and onboarding of BHGY farmers have already commenced, with over 150 farmers from the Bero and Angara blocks of the Ranchi district is under onboarding process. This project has got support from the Government of Jharkhand & Rural Development Department (GoJ).

Ashok Kumar, Director, Farm Prosperity, Transforming Rural India Foundation said, “At TRIF we are excited about this pioneering Carbon Credit Finance Project with ACORN and Intellecap to support over 1 Lakh women smallholder farmers with support from the Jharkhand Govt. This will ensure an increase in income of smallholder farmers as well as support the state’s active role in developing a climate action plan and taking necessary steps to tackle climate change. This project aims to be the guide and champion of smallholder farmers from Jharkhand for climate/ carbon finance.”

Earlier this year in January, Intellecap and Transform Rural India Foundation (TRIF) had developed the climate action platform to increase farmers’ income and build the resilience of their agricultural practices against the different aspects of climate change.

This project ensures the continued care of

The course highlights the use of space technology applications in the agricultural sector like Remote Sensing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Remote Sensing applications.

The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) has organised an innovative ‘Train the Trainers’ short-term program in the use of space technologies in the agriculture sector. The 5-day course on ‘Using Space Technology for the Agriculture Sector’ has been designed in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Meerut Institute of Technology (MIT), various Non-Government Entities (NGEs), and academia.

Dr Vinod Kumar, Director, Promotion Directorate, IN-SPACe said, “The new course is an important step towards realizing the transformative potential of space technology in boosting the agriculture sector. It aims to equip individuals with both theoretical and practical knowledge of space technologies in the agriculture sector. This initiative aligns with the broader goal of benefiting the common man, embodying the spirit of (Antyodaya) as well as our commitment to using advanced technology for the betterment of its agricultural practices and ultimately, for ensuring food security and sustainability”

The Short-Term course on Using Space Technology for the Agriculture sector covers a comprehensive curriculum designed to leverage space technology in agricultural practices. The use of space technology can revolutionise precision farming and leverage satellite data and space-based assets to empower farmers with the power of information to optimize their agricultural practices with unprecedented precision. By analysis of climate data and weather forecasting, it will help to safeguard crops against unpredictable weather patterns.

The course includes modules on Agriculture Land Monitoring, Pest/Disease Detection & Incidence Forecast, Crop Area Estimation & Production Forecast, Cropping Systems Analysis, Soil Mapping & Monitoring, and Agriculture Drought Assessment & Monitoring. Additionally, there are sessions on Horticulture Crop Area Estimation & Monitoring and Command Area & Water Resource Monitoring.

The course also examines topics such as the study of plant nutrient deficiency symptoms, advances in sensing and analytics for precision agriculture, and the fundamental applications of phytotron technology. There’s a focus on the practical aspects of agriculture, including soil sampling, soil processing, drone and robot demonstrations, and methods of soil analysis. Other practical aspects include preparation of growing media, testing of seed germination, measurement and handling of humidity, and the qualitative and quantitative exposure of light.

The course highlights the use of space technology applications in the agricultural sector, introducing participants to the basics of Remote Sensing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Remote Sensing applications in agriculture. Sessions on Crop Inventory and Health using optical methods, Earth Observation (EO) based Digital Agriculture and Global crop monitoring systems, and microwave remote sensing for crop inventory with hands-on training round off the course. Participants are also introduced to various ISRO portals like Bhoonidhi, BHUVAN, VEDAS, and MOSDAC, integrating space technology with AI and ML for comprehensive farm management.

The course highlights the use of space

With the support of ESCAP, BharatRohan aims to incorporate inclusive business practices and expand its reach and mission in the states of Telangana and Haryana.

 BharatRohan, a pioneer in providing drone services in the agricultural sector, has entered into a partnership with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). This collaboration is primarily focused on transforming agricultural methods in Telangana and Haryana, two states poised to promote sustainable crops, and is part of the “Regional Inclusive Business Models in Agriculture and Food Systems” initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

BharatRohan’s mission is diverse, to empower smallholder farmers, improve export opportunities, and promote sustainable agricultural practices. With the support of ESCAP, BharatRohan aims to incorporate inclusive business practices and expand its reach and mission in the states of Telangana and Haryana.

The adoption of an inclusive business model by BharatRohan underlines its commitment to sustainable and equitable growth in agriculture. This model goes beyond the simple pursuit of profits and emphasizes value creation for all stakeholders, especially those at the base of the economy. By focusing its work on small farmers, BharatRohan not only addresses their challenges in accessing resources and markets but also ensures their active participation and autonomy in the value chain.

Furthermore, a significant commitment of this project is to involve women farmers in value chain activities actively. This ensures their active participation in the production process and promotes gender-inclusive agricultural practices. BharatRohan has also demonstrated its commitment towards inclusive business by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Endeva and Ecociate to receive coaching services as part of the ESCAP-supported inclusive business program.

Amandeep Panwar the CEO of BharatRohan said, “I am thrilled about our partnership with ESCAP. Our mission is to empower smallholder farmers and promote sustainable agriculture in Telangana and Haryana. We’re leveraging advanced hyperspectral technology to provide farmers with precise insights, reducing costs, and ensuring top-quality, residue-free yields. Our dedication to inclusivity extends to gender- inclusive practices, actively involving female farmers in value chain activities to create additional income opportunities. This partnership is not just about innovation; it’s about making a tangible difference in the lives of farmers and fostering a sustainable future for agriculture.”

“We are delighted to welcome BharatRohan as a valued member of the Cohort participating in the Inclusive Business Coaching program supported by ESCAP. BharatRohan’s technology-driven solutions hold great significance for smallholder farmers, aiding them in crop monitoring and optimizing input usage effectively. Moreover, their drone-based services have the potential not only to generate employment opportunities for local youth but also to provide essential last-mile services to farmers in a sustainable fashion. Ecociate and Endeva look forward to working with Bharat Rohan on their path towards incorporating inclusive business practices ” Santosh Gupta, Director, Ecociate Consultant.

ESCAP is supporting BharatRohan by providing inclusive business coaching services that will be key in identifying critical resources and expert connections, which will ensure the successful implementation of the comprehensive strategic plan for the transformative project.

BharatRohan will enhance its expertise with the support of ESCAP to address regulatory challenges, enter international markets and provide essential training services to farmers. A key element of the strategic plan is the integration of technology solutions, such as drone crop monitoring services. Periodic training sessions, with the support of ESCAP, will be organized to promote effective communication with farmers, guiding them to adopt advanced agricultural practices.

With the support of ESCAP, BharatRohan aims

Move aimed at supporting pioneering of smallholder dairy farming transformation.

 Sid’s Farm, a premium dairy brand based in Telangana, announced its selection as a participant in the prestigious Inclusive Business Program by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). This milestone was reached with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Ecociate, Endeva (Coach), and Sid’s Farm (Coachee), further cementing their commitment to promoting inclusive and sustainable business practices.

Under the Inclusive Business Program, Sid’s Farm will embark on an ambitious project titled “Improving Smallholder Dairy Farmers’ Milk Productivity by 1.2x Annually.” This project aims to generate meaningful social impact for smallholder farmers and individuals at the base of the economic pyramid, all while ensuring economic viability.

According to Santosh Gupta, Director, Sustainable Agriculture at Ecociate, “We are excited about the potential this coaching program holds for an inclusive business journey and are keen to start working with Sid’s Farm. Their commitment to inclusive business marks a significant step forward in our collaboration. Together we can bring about lasting changes in the realm of sustainable agricultural practices in India.”

Commenting on the inclusion, Dr Kishore Indukuri, Founder, Sid’s Farm said “We are honoured to have received this opportunity. We have been working tirelessly for years now towards the creation of ethical and sustainable dairy farming practices within our ever-growing network of farmers, and it is truly humbling when you are among the chosen few for a prestigious and impactful ESCAP programme as recognition of your efforts.”

The program will target 500 small-scale producers, with a special focus on empowering women in agriculture, with 300 female smallholder dairy farmers. By June 2024, a comprehensive comparison will be made between the progress reports submitted by Sid’s Farm in October 2023 and the projected results. Sid’s Farm aims to achieve a remarkable 20% increase in milk productivity among these farmers, directly or indirectly benefitting a network of 2,200 individuals.

ESCAP’s decision to select Sid’s Farm for its coaching services is a testament to the company’s dedication to fostering positive social and economic change at the grassroots level. In-depth discussions took place during a physical session involving Sid’s Farm’s team members, leading to this exciting partnership.

Furthermore, as a participant in the ESCAP Inclusive Business Program, Sid’s Farm is honoured to be invited to join the prestigious investment dialogue in India and participate in various other activities that align with the program’s objectives. These activities are being facilitated by ESCAP with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Sid’s Farm is committed to making a significant difference in the lives of smallholder dairy farmers and the communities at the base of the economic pyramid. This partnership with ESCAP, Ecociate, and Endeva is a significant step towards a brighter and more sustainable future for all stakeholders involved.

Move aimed at supporting pioneering of smallholder

FSII ropes in Ajai Rana, CEO, Savannah Seeds as Chairman of the Board of Directors and Shirish Barwale, Director, Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company as Vice Chairman.

Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII), the prominent industry association of R&D based seed companies in India, is delighted to announce the successful leadership transition with Ajai Rana, CEO, Savannah Seeds Private Limited, assuming the role of the Chairman of the Board of Directors. FSII held its Annual General Meeting on 25 Sep 2023, which marked the occasion of the new leadership team formally taking over the mantle.

 Rajvir Rathi, Head – Public Affairs, Science & Sustainability IBSL and Lead – Traits Licensing Business, Bayer CropScience Limited and Shirish Barwale, Director, Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Private Limited, assumed the roles of Vice Chairmen. Dr Venkatram Vasantavada, MD & CEO, SeedWorks International Private Limited, took charge as the Finance Director. 

The new leadership team expressed their profound gratitude for the dedicated efforts of the founding and former Board members who, since its inception, have been instrumental in shaping FSII into a respected industry association at the forefront of India’s seed sector.

FSII’s rich legacy, built upon the vision and relentless dedication of these early pioneers, has led to its establishment as a pioneering industry association for the Indian seed sector. Over the years, FSII has achieved remarkable growth, recognition, and respect within the industry, primarily due to the tireless commitment of those who have steered its course.

Under the guidance of the newly appointed leadership, FSII is now poised to take its mission to the next level. With a renewed focus on becoming a ‘knowledge-driven’ federation of research-based seed companies in India, FSII aims to contribute significantly to the growth and development of the Indian seed sector. The organization envisions a future where innovative research, sustainable practices, and knowledge-sharing will drive the industry to new heights.

“On behalf of the new leadership team, we acknowledge the great efforts of our founding and former leadership who have brought FSII to what it is today as the voice of Indian seed sector. FSII is ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities of the future, leading the way towards a knowledge-driven and prosperous Indian seed sector. Our commitment is unwavering, and we are determined to build upon the strong foundation laid by our predecessors. As we embark on this exciting journey of leadership continuity and renewed focus, we invite all the industry stakeholders, partners, and collaborators to join hands with us in shaping the future of the Indian seed sector. Together, we can collectively contribute to the growth, sustainability, and prosperity of this most important industry.” said Ajai Rana on the occasion.

FSII’s leadership transition represents a vital step on the continuum of progress, ensuring that the organization remains relevant, dynamic, and influential in the years to come. The new team is dedicated to preserving the values and vision of FSII while simultaneously adapting to the evolving needs of the industry.

Focusing on strategic stakeholder engagement and targeted policy advocacy, FSII is all set to bolster its collaboration with Central and State governments, various Ministries, departments, and statutory bodies to ensure that policy and regulatory frameworks are holistic and conducive to the growth of the seed industry and aligned with nation’s Amrit Kaal aspirations.

This leadership transition not only ensures that FSII remains agile and expands its sphere of influence in the ever-evolving Indian seed industry but also places a strong emphasis on fostering enhanced collaboration and communication with key stakeholders.

FSII will actively seek collaboration and partnerships with industry players, research institutions, academia, scientific fraternity, and other stakeholders to drive innovation and knowledge exchange within the sector. FSII committed to disseminating industry insights and promoting best practices among its members and stakeholders.

FSII ropes in Ajai Rana, CEO, Savannah

Conclave to develop global guidelines for climate-resilient marine fisheries management 

Leading marine scientists, policymakers and high-ranking government officials from 16 regional fisheries bodies in the Indo-Pacific region covering 80 countries will gather in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu to discuss climate change in marine fisheries. The Three-day International Conclave on Mainstreaming Climate Change into International Fisheries Governance will be inaugurated by the Union Minister of Fisheries Parshottam Rupala on Tuesday at Welccomehotel, Kences Palm Beach, Mahabalipuram. 

Organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries, Govt. of India, and the Bay of Bengal Programme Inter-Governmental Organisation (BOBP-IGO), the conclave seeks to develop guidelines for climate-resilient fisheries management and formulate strategies for the integration of climate change into international fisheries governance.

Dr L Murugan, Union Minister of State will deliver a special address and Dr Abhilaksh Likhi, Union Secretary, Department of Fisheries will deliver the keynote address. India’s developmental, research and policy initiatives for climate-resilient marine fisheries will be presented during the inauguration of the conclave.  
The conclave will also feature a workshop exclusively to discuss India’s preparedness for adapting to climate change in marine fisheries. This workshop will encompass discussions on the current status of climate change impacts on marine fisheries in India, steps taken to address these impacts, gaps and limitations in knowledge and techniques, and actions needed in the short and long term. In addition, it will also feature presentations on cutting-edge research advancements in building climate resilience in the fisheries sector, preparedness of coastal communities, and knowledge sharing and capacity development for climate-proofing marine fisheries in the BOB region. 

“The Indo-Pacific Region comprises nearly half of the global oceanic area and accounts for about 70 per cent of global marine fisheries production. Fisheries in this region are small-scale in nature. This international conclave will help fishery experts in this region to develop strategies to address the challenges posed by climate change and build more resilient marine fisheries”, said Dr P Krishnan, Director, BOBP-IGO. 

 “The Indo-Pacific region is highly vulnerable to climate change, leading to adverse impacts on marine fisheries. These effects range from the increased frequency of extreme weather events to the threats of flooding, erosion, and sea-level rise. By fostering and executing strategies to adapt to climate change, this region can effectively safeguard the sustainable management of marine fisheries and the livelihoods of the millions of individuals who depend on them, Dr Krishnan said. 

Conclave to develop global guidelines for climate-resilient