Author Archives: G V Ramanjeneyulu

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Organic cultivation: learning from the Enabavi example

Category : News

enebavi

download another article in english: GREEN Village enabavi

Is it possible to get a good yield without using chemical fertilizers? Will a shift to organic affect our food security? Can we manage insect pests without using pesticides? Will organic cultivation still be profitable for farmers?

These are some of the often asked questions by farmers when problems of modern agriculture are being discussed.

Enabavi, a small village in Warangal district, Andhra Pradesh promises to answer all these.

Situated off the Hyderabad-Warangal highway near Jangaon town, Enabavi is today an inspiration for many other villages and farmers, thanks to the efforts of the local organization called CROPS (Centre for Rural Operations Programmes Society) supported by the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA).

Visitors

This small village attracts visitors ranging from farmers to policy makers who want to understand the concept of successful sustainable agriculture. In the last three years more than 10,000 people have visited this village.

“Commercial crops like cotton are the main crops grown in the district. From 1997 onwards, large numbers of farmers’ suicides have been reported from this district. In the middle of this distress, Enabavi showed the resolve of a strong community which decided to take control of its agriculture in its own hands. “With just 51 households belonging mostly to the backward castes, the village started shifting to non-chemical farming about a decade ago. In 2005-06, the entire 282 acres was converted to organic farming. There is strong social regulation within the community towards organic cultivation to ensure that there are no ‘erring farmers” says Dr. G. V. Ramanjaneyulu, Executive Director, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Secunderabad.

The elders in the village take the youth along with them. They have also started investing in teaching their school-going children the knowledge and skills of non-chemical farming.

Variety of crops

The farmers grow paddy, pulses, millets, cotton, chilli, tobacco and vegetables. They process their paddy and sell directly to consumers and also through a marketing channel called Sahaja Aharam in Hyderabad.

Their average spending on chemical fertilizers and pesticides used to be around Rs.3,500 per crop per acre while it was around Rs. 500 per acre for seeds. The traders would dictate the price for the produce in addition to charging interest for the inputs supplied. Now, all of this has changed. The farmers do not spend a single rupee anymore for buying all the inputs.

Past experience

“In the 1970s this village like many others across the country, also went through the same process of using more and more chemicals to increase the productivity. By 1995 problems started showing up. Investments kept increasing but the returns were not good.

“In late 90’s pests like red hairy caterpillar caused devastating effects in this region. The initiatives on managing the pest using non chemical approaches evolved into non pesticidal management which is now widely practised in Andhra Pradesh and other states.

The confidence in using non chemical approaches, helped farmers to move away from chemical fertilizers towards sustainable solutions,” says Dr. Ramanjaneyulu.

Some farmers started looking for options like using tank silt, poultry manure, vermi-compost and farm yard manure. They set up their own compost manufacturing units in their fields and started following various ecological practices.

They also started to depend on their own seed for many crops, except for cotton. Now farmers also produce seeds for others. They have set up self help groups for men and women separately and started thrift activities too.

As the farmers moved into more and more sustainable models of production they realized the importance of natural and common resources for sustaining their own livelihood.

Social rule

As a result the tank in the village was desilted and is presently being managed by the community. A cooperative called Enabavi Organic Farmers Cooperative was formed for supporting the several activities and to improve their collective bargaining power in the markets.

“Today, Enabavi has many valuable lessons to teach other farmers, not just on how to take up sustainable farming. They also have lessons to share on social regulation, learning from each other, the benefits of conviction born out of experience and most importantly, the way out of agricultural distress by taking control over one’s own farming,” adds Dr. Ramanjaneyulu.

To visit and learn more on Enabavi interested readers can contact Dr. G. V. Ramanjaneyulu, Executive Director, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, 12-13-445, Street no-1, TarnakaSecunderabad-500 017, ph. 09000699702, email: ramoo.csa@gmail.com, facebook: ramoo.agripage, website: www.krishi.tv


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Conference on ‘Mainstreaming Agro-Ecological Approaches in Farming’

Organized by Centre for Sustainable Agriculture and Indian Society for Agro-Ecology

1st and 2nd March, 2015, Chandigarh

Agro-ecological approaches are increasing being recognised as the way forward for the food, nutritional security and livelihood security of the small and marginal farmers across the world.  In this approach, ecological practices to increase productivity, improve soil fertility and address climate change go hand in hand with the empowerment of small-scale family farmers, both men and women.  While there are thousands of models across India and lakhs of farmers adopting such practices, mainstream agricultural research and extension systems are yet sceptic about agro-ecological approaches.  This scepticism is hindering the investments in research and further scaling up of the existing models.  This is context, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture and Indian Society of Agro-Ecology (ISAE) are organising a two day conference on ‘Mainstreaming Agro-Ecology’ on 1st and 2nd of March, 2015 at Chandigarh.

The main objectives of the conference are

  • To provide a forum for taking stock of the current state of science and practices of Agro-ecology, as well as for initiatives across the country
  • To understand the contributions of agro-ecological approaches towards economic, social and environmental sustainability of small and marginal farmers

To develop a policy framework for consideration of state and national governments

This is the first call for abstracts of papers on “Mainstreaming Agro-Ecological Approaches to Farming”, with regard to the following areas:

  • Cropping Systems,
  • Soil Health,
  • Water Management,
  • Pest/Disease Management,
  • Crop Improvement and Seed Breeding,
  • Integrated Farming Systems,
  • Profitability through Agro-Ecological Approaches and
  • Socio-Economic Empowerment through Agro-Ecology.

Selected papers would be invited for oral and poster presentations during a conference on “Mainstreaming Agro-Ecological Approaches to Farming” in an upcoming National Convention on Organic Farming in Chandigarh. All the final papers will be published in the first issue of the of the ‘Journal of Agro-Ecology’

This will be the occasion for agroecological initiatives from across the country to publically display their work to a large audience of scientists, civil society members, members of the private sector and policy makers.

Timeline:

Submission of Abstracts: 15th December, 2014

Submission of Final papers of the shortlisted abstracts: 15th January, 2015.

Submit your abstracts to agroecology@csa-india.org

Centre for Sustainable Agriculture

12-13-445, Street no-1

Tarnaka, Secunderabad-500 017

Ph. 040-27017735

For any clarifications call on ramoo on 09000699702

 


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Seed Production and Marketing (2014)

Training program on ‘Contemporary Approaches to Seed Production and Marketing’ 8-12th December, 2014

CENTRE FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE (CSA) and Naisarghik Sheti Beej Producer Company Limited is pleased to announced a Training Programme on Contemporary Approaches in Seed Production and Marketing to be held at Wardha, Maharastra from 8th to 12th December, 2014.

Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) is a professional resource organization engaged in establishing models of sustainable agriculture. CSA is operational in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Maharashtra and also engages with other NGOs & CBOs for up scaling Sustainable models of Agriculture production. The main areas of CSA work are Developing and Creating farmers’ institutions, Policy Advocacy, Sustainable Production, Marketing of Organic Agro-produces and Seeds, Creating resource persons for Sustainable Production and Engage with media for knowledge dissemination.

NAISARGIK SHETI BEEJ PRODUCER COMPANY LIMITED (NSBPC Ltd) is a farmer owned Seed Producer Company. It has a seed processing plant located at Wardha district of Maharashtra. The Company is engaged in seed production, processing and marketing of organic seeds.

Seed is an essential input for crop production. Access of farmers to affordable quality seed of superior varieties is key in increasing agricultural production and productivity. Supporting the development of a vibrant and diverse seed sector can significantly contribute to increasing food security and economic development in India. If you strive to broaden experience and strengthen your competencies, this course is an interesting opportunity.

The overall objective of the training programme is to enhance participants’ capabilities to translate the integrated seed concept towards strategies for making seed programme coherent with farmers’ practices. Participants will learn to facilitate interactions between formal and informal seed systems, and to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the seed sector.

Module 1: Concepts and Practices of Informal and Formal Seed Systems

  • Importance of seed in sustainable agriculture.
  • Importance of informal seed system.
  • Establishing community seed banks
  • Seed production practices in self-pollinated and cross pollinated crops
  • Hybrid cotton seed production
  • Regulatory requirements for formal seed system.
  • Open Source Seed System (OSSS)
  • Participatory approaches of seed management
  • Documentation on Value for Cultivation and Use (VCU).
  • Different methods of seed treatment

Module 2: Seed business study tour

  • Visit to seed Producer Company and seed processing Unit
  • Interaction with seed farmers and marketing cader
  • Visit to hybrid cotton seed production plots
  • Method demonstration on roughing, emasculation and crossing techniques

Module 3: Action plan

Developing an action plan on seed production; Specific to the crops and geographical area of the participants. This session will helps to participants integrate all course and topics and link it back to their own work.

Seats/No of Participants: 30

Medium: The entire course would be in English.

Participant: The course is designed for development professionals working to promote ecological farming/ organic farming/sustainable agriculture. Persons that need technical exposure in the organizations working in agriculture field can apply.

Course fee:  Rs. 10,000 per participants (Food, Accommodation, resource material and Field visit to seed production plots and seed processing units)


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A Decade of Bt Cotton in India (2012)

Workshop Report on ‘A Decade of Bt Cotton in India a Report’

Conference organized at India International Centre, New Delhi on by Centre for Environment Education, Centre for Sustainable
Agriculture & Council for Social Development June 11th-12th 2012

Executive Summery

A review process of ten years of Bt cotton in India was initiated by Centre for Environment Education (Ahmedabad), Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (Hyderabad) and Council for Social Development (New Delhi), through a national conference organized in Delhi on June 11th and 12th 2012.

  • The main objectives of the conference were:
    to bring the various nuances to the debate related to Bt cotton performance and other experiences from the ground in India to one table (not just the cotton yields debate) through the participation of numerous stakeholders who have drawn out a picture of Bt cotton in the past from a particular perspective or vantage point; within this, to look at the picture emerging across different states if possible and to look at the main claims around Bt cotton vis-à-vis performance;
  • to initiate a review process in the country that could lead up to a formal official review;
  • to glean out some main lessons/issues to be considered for the future by policy makers and regulators by re-looking at the policy and regulatory issues involved.

The conference had more than 150 participants from all over India, consisting of several regulators from Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) and Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM), agriculture and molecular biology experts from different parts of the country, industry representatives, farmers’ organizations, organic farming groups, other civil society groups, academics and representatives of media. The Conference alsosaw Central Government representatives including Prof Abhijit Sen, Member in charge of Agriculture, Planning
Commission; Sri Anupam Barik, Additional Commissioner, Crops, Ministry of Agriculture and Mr M F Farooqui, Chairman, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee chairing various sessions. The experiences, studies and available data while questioning the absolute success of Bt cotton across the country brought forth the fact it has failed in the rainfed regions, which cover 65% of the total cotton cultivation in the country, due to various reasons. The conference organizers opined that this is a first step towards a comprehensive review process that needs to be taken up.

The review saw a number of presentations of micro-studies as well as macro-data on a variety of subjects including farm economics (yield, production, farmer incomes) with Bt cotton in different comparative frameworks, pesticide usage, regulatory regime, policy frameworks related to GMOs, riskiness and farmer suicides associated with Bt cotton, on public sector Bt cotton, on emerging scientific evidence with Bt cotton, on social, political and other implications etc., with further analysis and discussions on the same. At the end of the penultimate session on the second and final day of the conference, rapporteurs presented summary reports of each of the five sessions.

The main issues that emerged from this conference are:

  • The conference noted that adoption of Bt cotton in India is quite high. It also noted that distress amongst a large majority of cotton farmers is also high (especially in rainfed growing conditions).
  • The conference acknowledged the fact that such adoption should also be understood in the context of the failure of an earlier, related technology of chemical pesticides.
  • The conference found a mixed picture as the reality with Bt cotton with the agreement that it is not the best solution for rainfed regions. It was also noted that results from irrigated farming with Bt cotton have shown varying trends across regions and across years.
  • The conference also noted that different official sources of data are inconsistent with each other, and unreliable. While different micro-studies are questionable on their methodologies or design adopted, macro-data is sometimes contradictory between different sources.
  • It was however acknowledged that cotton area, production and yield have increased in the country in the past decade. How much of this is attributable to Bt technology and whether there is a causal correlation at all requires an in-depth investigation given that:
    There has been a large scale shift to hybrid cotton cultivation in the country;

    • That (irrigated) cotton area is on the increase;
    • That there have been favorable climatic conditions, especially in states like Gujarat, as analysed by the state level officials/scientists;
    • That input use on Bt cotton has been higher, in terms of chemical fertilizers etc.
    • That pest incidence has been generally lower due to favorable weather conditions for cotton cultivation, as acknowledged by official monitoring reports also and therefore, puts a question mark on Bt technology’s contribution to yield increases.
    • This causal correlation analysis has to be taken up also because in the years that India reported the highest year on year increases in cotton yields, AICCIP (All India Coordinated Cotton Improvement Project) results were showing that bollworm incidence was low to moderate. When Bt cotton can result in higher productivity only under pest pressure by protecting the crop from pest damage, how can such yield increases then be related to Bt technology?
    • Moreover, the recent stagnation and decline in cotton yields has to be understood further.
    • There was also a near-complete agreement on the increase in cost of cultivation after the adoption of Bt cotton. Comparative analysis with other alternatives like NPM and organic farming practices highlighted the definite advantage of these practices in cost of cultivation
      in comparison to intensive agricultural practices with Bt cotton hybrids.
    • On pesticide consumption data, some micro-studies seem to indicate pesticide use reduction initially, with use on sucking pests and other pests increasing, with per acre pesticide usage increasing and a dangerous cocktail of pesticides on the rise, while others indicate a steady increase. However, official data on pesticide consumption in India does not reflect any decline, except in Andhra Pradesh, where large-scale adoption of NPM is being followed.
    • The conference brought out the fact that riskiness analysis has to be incorporated into decision-making in technology assessment, more importantly in the case of transgenics like Bt cotton.
    • Concerns around the existing regulatory architecture in India, including the total absence of policy directives against even crops for which we are the Centre of Origin and diversity, in which we have trade security interests and where intense social implications lie (like herbicide tolerant crops) came to the fore.
    • The discussion on the regulatory mechanisms identified the need for further safety assessments for Bt cotton especially in the light of high volumes of oil from Bt cotton seeds reaching the edible oil supply and the usage of oil cakes as cattle feed.
    • It was also clearly pointed out that any decision-making on transgenics should incorporate need assessment and an assessment of alternatives, before considering a transgenic option at all.
    • The need for a liability regime to be put into place in addition to a labeling regime was
      emphasized.
    • 93% of cotton seed being ‘controlled’ by one American MNC was noted. Seed sovereignty being threatened, with the public sector in India becoming redundant and irrelevant was a concern shared by many. It was noted that Bt cotton seed companies were not being made accountable, with the seed industry often taking governments to court – in this situation, the hope for farmers’ rights being upheld appears meagre.
    • There was concern around public funds being wasted in several ways, including on transgenic research that gets bogged down in IPR issues and “contamination” issues, in addition to lack of ability to take the R&D products to farmers; further, governments are
      paying compensation packages to farmers when the crop fails, with public funds.
    • The conference noted that public sector research is being sidelined with private sector takeover of seed. This is also limiting seed choices for farmers.
    • On the other hand, increased chemical fertilizer usage in Bt cotton was acknowledged, especially in terms of data available from Gujarat state – this not only has further public financing implications, but also serious environmental concerns where we are not treating our soil fertility as our main capital.
    • The conference also repeatedly noted that safer, cheaper and sustainable ecological alternatives exist, which are acknowledged by the NARS system and also practiced on a large scale by lakhs of farmers in the country. The conference put forward a
      recommendation that the government should create a level playing field between such alternatives and intensive agricultural technologies, for rational, informed choices to be made.
    • The conference identified that various parameters to assess Bt cotton have not been taken on board so far.
    • Aggressive marketing of Bt cotton seed was noted as a matter of concern and it was opined that this should be curbed, given that seed is an Essential Commodity.

The concluding session had Mr Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister for Rural Development, who opined that the story of Indian cotton needs to be studied thoroughly, to understand the “structural transformation” in the cotton economy in India in the past two decades. He pointed out that Bt cotton adoption by farmers is a fact to be noted, even as the contribution of hybrid seed and irrigation to cotton yield increases is to be acknowledged. Jairam Ramesh also pointed out that there is more scientific evidence that has emerged in the recent past which needs to be taken seriously. He pointed out that biotechnology in agriculture should not be restricted to one tool like Bt/Genetic Engineering and should explore and invest in a spectrum of tools like Marker Assisted Breeding etc. He appreciated the more active role being played by state governments in the recent past. There are a large number of scientific problems that have to be addressed. He felt that appropriate lessons have to be gleaned for research, seed production, extension, regulatory regime and so on, by the country taking up a comprehensive review of Bt cotton at this point of time. Most importantly, he pointed out that he does not see any reason why organic and NPM alternatives cannot be promoted by the government as much as support for transgenic research.


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Alternatives to Endosulfan (2011)

Tags :

Category : Publications

NPM alternatives to Endosulfan recommendations


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Non Pesticidal Management: learning from experiences (2009)

Category : Publications

Book Chapter

NPM learning from experiences

Non Pesticidal Management: learning from experiences (2009)

G.V. Ramanjaneyulu,M.S. Chari, T.A.V.S. Raghunath, Zakir Hussain and Kavitha Kuruganti

in Integrated Pest Management:: Innovation-Development Process, edited by Rajendra Peshin and Ashok Dhawan


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Pesticides, Residues and Regulation in India: a case of vegetables in Hyderabad (2007)

Download Report 2007 Pesticides Residues and Regulation in India- a case of vegetables in Hyderabad

The deep crisis affecting the farming community in India largely escapes the imagination of the urban population. It might be because food production is almost completely delinked here from food consumption. Food is seen as a commodity which can be bought over the counter, with quality assured by the tag of the supermarket or a popular brand. The ecological footprint that such food production and supply chains leave is largely ignored or not understood. The distress experienced by food producing communities is invisible. Consumers also tend to ignore the implications on themselves flowing from (lack of) food safety.,

As citizens and as consumers of food, we never relate ourselves to the farming community and always carry a feeling that the technology, policies and regulatory systems related agriculture are the concern of the farmers.

This report is the result of a pilot study on ‘Pesticides, Residues and Regulation in India’. It is an attempt to break the apathy and ignorance of consumers through the analysis of how pesticides and pesticide residues in food are regulated in India and the potential implications on urban consumers.

With a lot of effort from civil society groups and concerned activists, there is now a shift towards production that is not dependent on chemicals. Concern over the health implications of toxic pesticides has also prompted some people to shift towards organically grown foods.

On the other hand, governments, agricultural research and extension system and the chemical industry continue to believe in the ‘inevitability of pesticides’ and continue to talk only about safer pesticides, safe use of pesticides, better regulatory systems etc. The issue of pesticide residues receives some attention only when the export consignments are rejected or studies on soft drinks or bottled water are released. The larger issues of food safety for consumers and sustainable resource management for producers are largely ignored. Working backwards, we tried to look at how pesticide residues in food are regulated in India, how pesticides themselves are regulated, recommended, the institutions involved & their functioning etc. The study used both primary and secondary data for its analysis.

Our research shows several objectionable gaps and lapses in the regulatory systems, several contradictions even at the conceptual level and gross negligence with regard to assessing and promoting safer and better alternatives.

This pilot study is part of the Sustainable Hyderabad ‘Megacity Project’. ( http://www.sustainable-hyderabad.in).

Supported extended by farmers around Hyderabad city and other experts is gratefully acknowledged.


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The Seed Sector in India (2005)

Category : Publications

A study on Seed Sector in India
Report by Kavitha Kuruganti

Supported by International Institute for Environment and Development

Download Report


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The Story of Bt Cotton in Andhra Pradesh (2005)

Tags :

Category : Publications

Download the Report The Story of Bt Cotton in India and in Andhra Pradesh

The Bt Cotton was introduced in 2002 with much hype about its performance in addressing the problems faced by the farmers. Three years later, field experiences show that there were erratic processes and results.

The report is based on the field experiences of bt cotton farmers.

Aftermath: The report was presented to GEAC on 4th February, 2005. GEAC based on the data and feedback from the state government has withdrawn the permission given for commercial cultivation of the three Bt cotton hybrids MECH 12 Bt, MECH 162 Bt, MECH 184 Bt.

 


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Agriculture Minister visit to Punukula (2004)

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Category : Publications

Mr. RaghuMinister for Agriculture, Government of AP visited punukula on 23rd November, 2004 to discuss personally understand how punukula made a shift to Non Pesticidal Management and farmers got benefited.

Download the Report 121123 Agriculture Minister visit to Punukula


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