Why a problem of plenty is hurting India’s farmers

Vegetable market stand, India. Image: Mohamed Shareef via Wikimedia Commons

By Soutik Biswas. Reblogged from BBC News.

Farmers are on the boil again in India. In western Maharashtra state, they have been on strike for a week in some seven districts now, spilling milk on the streets, shutting down markets, protesting on the roads and attacking vegetable trucks. In neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, curfew has been imposed after five farmers were killed in clashes with police on Tuesday. Last month, farmers in southern Telangana and Andhra Pradesh staged protests and burnt their red chilli crop.

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E-plant clinics rolled out in Jammu, India

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Last year Plantwise launched in Jammu & Kashmir state, India, with the establishment of 15 plant clinics across 3 districts in the Jammu region. This year sees the launch of an exciting new development, with the roll-out of e-plant clinics to revolutionize the extension system and support the quick transfer of information and advice to farmers via text messages on their mobile phones. This process began with a series of training workshops last month, which were officially inaugurated by Jenab Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura, Minister of Agriculture, Government of Jammu & Kashmir.

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A WhatsApp-like app for the tech-savvy farmer

By Nilesh Christopher. Reblogged from The Economic Times of India.

A WhatsApp like app for the tech-savvy farmer

Before the start of the next crop planting season, third generation farmer Krishna Balegayi – who has been farming for 25 years – is sure to take the help of an Android app to better his yield.

Bangalore-based startup Nubesol technologies has created a WhatsApp-like messaging app through which farmers can chat with eminent agricultural scientists, and discuss the factors contributing to the poor yield.

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Plantwise: connecting smallholders to knowledge through ICT interventions

Plant doctor showing a specimen on his screen through a USB microscope in Balkheda plant clinic. Photo: MSSRF
Plant doctor showing a specimen through a USB microscope in Balkheda plant clinic. Photo courtesy: MSSRF

The emergence of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the last decade has opened new avenues in knowledge management that could play important roles in meeting the prevailing challenges related to sharing, exchanging and disseminating knowledge and technologies. The types of ICT-enabled services are capable of improving the capacity and livelihoods of poor smallholders are growing quickly.

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Factsheet of the month: January 2016 – Blast in Paddy

Rice blast factsheetScientists from the University of Delaware, USA, have recently uncovered critical information about the effect that deadly rice blast fungus has on rice plants, which could lead to more effective effective control measures in the fight against this disease. The team found that Magnaporthe grisea, the fungus responsible for rice blast, causes an increase in the production of abscisic acid in the plant on infection. Abscisic acid is a stress hormone usually released during times of drought to prevent the plant from losing water through holes in its leaves. However, it has been found that this hormone also causes a reduction in the disease fighting mechanisms of the plant.

The first factsheet of the month for 2016 ‘Blast in Paddy‘ contains information on the current methods of control used to manage rice blast in rice, or paddy as it is sometimes known. This Pest Management Decision guide was written by Mr G. Sudhakar from the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), India.

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Update: Plant Health News (15 Jul 15)

John Pennycuick Farmers’ Trust has improved the way that Theni bananas are traded © Σπύρος Βάθης
John Pennycuick Farmers’ Trust has improved the way that Theni bananas are traded © Σπύρος Βάθης

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including Theni banana farmers in Tamil Nadu adopting more efficient production techniques,  why GM crops have been slow to take hold in Africa and the bio slurry pellet method of rice cultivation that could save farmers time and money.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (01 Apr 15)

TSWV is one of the viruses detected on chillies in Mexico © Gerald Holmes, Cal Poly via Bugwood
TSWV is one of the viruses detected on chillies in Mexico © Gerald Holmes, Cal Poly via Bugwood

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include the first report of Alternaria leaf blight disease on oil palm in Thailand, caused by Alternaria longipes, the detection of a virus affecting chilli pepper in Chihuahua, Mexico and the association of Papaya leaf curl virus with the leaf curl disease of grain amaranth in India. 

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