Agriculture


Several officials who sit on India’s biotech regulator, which is preparing to take a decision on genetically modified mustard, are also associated with global organisations that lobby for GM crops, HT has learnt.

Such an arrangement represents potential conflicts of interest, according to critics, who argue that there must be an arm’s length distance.

Maharashtra's nod for GM crop field trials: Problem is the falling farm incomes; and the solution being offered is the controversial GM crop technology.

It is not a coincidence. The State-level expert committee headed by nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar, which gave clearance for field testing five genetically modified (GM) crops in Maharashtra, did so while releasing a report on ‘Global Status of Biotech Crops’ by the international GM industry lobby group, ISAAA.

S. GURUMURTHY


The National Food Security Bill, a high risk venture of UPA government, is more a product of soft politics than hard economics. The Bill promises to supply, at subsidised prices, 7 kg of foodgrains to each Indian, every month, at 1/8th of the economic cost of grains in the first year, ending up at 1/9th of the economic cost in the third year.



More than one million acres of Canadian farmland have glyphosate-resistant weeds growing on them, including 43,000 in Manitoba, according to an online survey of 2,028 farmers conducted by Stratus Agri-Marketing Inc. based in Guelph, Ont.

The shockingly high Canadian numbers met with scepticism from some experts who suggest farmers might be mistaking hard-to-kill weeds with glyphosate resistance. But others say the farmers are probably right.


The government has said that it will sell 6.5 million tonnes of wheat to bulk consumers like flour millers and biscuit makers in a bid to check rising prices of wheat products and to offload surplus stocks.


It has also approved allocation of additional 5 lakh tonnes each of wheat and rice to NAFED, NCCF and Kendriya Bhandar for sale to retail consumers.


Both the decision were approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).




Monsoon rains will not be enough to save the country from its first drought in three years, the weather office said on Thursday as it forecast that the El Nino weather pattern should reduce rains again in the second half of the June to September season.

India, one of the world's largest food producers and consumers with a population of 1.2 billion, last suffered a drought in 2009, which forced it to import sugar, pushing global prices higher.

This time around, global grain prices are soaring as the United States wilts in its own drought - the worst in the country for half a century.

The Maharashtra state agriculture department has decided to take action against five companies for not keeping their word of supplying the required seeds and fertilisers. It will be filing a case against them in court too.

Quality assurance officials from the department formed 15 squads and conducted a drive of sales of seeds, fertilisers and pesticides in last one month and collected 507 samples and got them examined in laboratory. Of these, 15 samples from five companies were found to be from non-certified companies. Also, ten companies were given show cause notices.