Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
The roots and berries of the plant are used in herbal medicine. It grows as a stout shrub that reaches a height of 170cm. It is commercially cultivated in Madhya Pradesh.
The main constituents of ashwagandha are alkaloids and steroidal lactones.
Ashwagandha in Sanskrit means "horse's smell", probably originating from the odor of its root which resembles that of sweaty horse.
The Ashwagandha plant has also become a target of patent seeking overseas firms as can be seen in this TOI report, please click on link:
Each plant was for Rs. 500 only but i had spent my money on buying books hence i couldnt buy even a single one. :(
It so happens that people will spend money like crazy for buying beads but there arent many takers for conservation and propagation of the plant itself!
Unfortunately even i didnt take the name of the exhibitor who had on sale rare plants as well as our regular garden varieties.
Some Information on rudraksh plant:
Rudraksha is the name of the dark berries of Elaeocarpus ganitrus, used to make prayer beads. The word is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the name Rudra and ākṣa meaning eye. Latin name 'ganitrus' possibly taken from ganitri, the name for this species in Sundanese and Malay.
The Rudraksha is a large evergreen broad-leaved tree that grows in the area from the Gangetic plain to the foothills of the Himalayas. Rudraksha trees are also found in middle areas of Nepal. Rudraksha seeds are covered by an outer shell of blue color when fully ripe, and for this reason are also known as blueberry beads. The blue colour is derived not from pigment but is structural.
The berries show variation in the number of grooves on their surface, and are classified on the basis of the number of divisions that they have. A common type has five divisions, and these are considered to be symbolic of the five faces of Shiva.
The best way to find the authenticity of a rudraksha is to get it X-rayed and count the number of compartments inside. If they are equal to the number of lines outside the rudraksha is real.Rudraksh is also used by people as a rosary while chanting mantras.
A report by I.I.S.C. on the dwindling numbers of rudraksha tress and rampant felling and collection of seeds leading to loss of rudraksha trees across India. File is in *pdf format, you will need acrobat for viewing.
Pictures of Rudraksha:
Rotating tines or blades turn the soil around.
To keep the machine from moving forward too fast, an adjustable tine is fixed just behind the blades so that through friction with deeper un-tilled soil, it acts as a brake, slowing the machine and allowing it to pulverize the soils. The slower a rototiller moves forward, the more soil tilth can be obtained.
Rototilling is much faster than manual tilling, but notoriously difficult to handle and exhausting work, especially in the heavier and higher horse power models. If the rototiller's blades catch on unseen sub-surface objects, such as tree roots and buried garbage, it can cause the rototiller to abruptly and violently move in any direction.
While i was exploring the grounds, i also saw the greatly innovative "cycle operated water-lifting pump".
A little boy was operating it effortlessly!
The pump has been invented by Vikram Rathore, a small tribal farmer from Narsapur village, Utnoor Mandal, Adilabad in Andhra Pradesh.
For this iinovation he has also won an award from the National Innovation Foundation.
"This is a centrifugal water pump which is run by rotating the pedal of a cycle. The system comprises a bicycle, rim, beltpulley, impeller and inlet and delivery pipes. A bare rim replaces the rear wheel of the bicycle. The rim is connected to another pulley with a smaller diameter. The supporting shaft of the smaller pulley carries another rim for second stage speed increment. The shaft also carries a flywheel to increase momentum of the system. The final supporting shaft is connected with an impeller that rotates at high speed and pumps water. The power (energy) generated through this process of pedaling is used to lift the water and push the water from a pipe into the farm for cultivation. This innovation is useful for pumping water from rivers, ponds, wells and similar water sources thus enabling poor farmers for pumping water for irrigation and cultivation."
As described on N.I.F. site. Kindly visit their website:
The species has neotropical distribution; mostly in wet tropical mountain forest of Central America and South America, but some in semi-arid environments. Most species occur in Panama, Colombia, Brazil, the Guiana Shield and Ecuador. According to the work of noted aroid botanist Dr. Tom Croat of the Missouri Botanical Garden, this genus is not found in Asia. Some species have been introduced into Asian rain forests, but are not endemic.
Anthurium grows in many forms, mostly evergreen, bushy or climbing epiphytes with roots that can hang from the canopy all the way to the floor of the rain forest. There are also many terrestrial forms which are found as understory plants, as well as hemiepiphytic forms. A hemiepiphyte is a plant capable of beginning life as a seed and sending roots to the soil, or beginning as a terrestrial plant that climbs a tree and then sends roots back to the soil. They occur also as lithophytes. Some are only found in association with arboreal ant colonies or growing on rocks in midstream (such as Anthurium amnicola).
Monday, December 8, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
More Info about Hibiscus
Monday, June 16, 2008
India's largest Agri show
held from 12-16 Dec 07, at Pune
I visited the fair on the last day that is on Sunday the 16th of December 2007. The entry fee was a nominal Rs. 20/- Since i hadnt taken my camera along i couldnt take any pictures. The fair grounds were not in Pune proper but bus services had been provided to ferry the farmers and interested persons to the place. The fair was indeed big. Some farmers and fertiliser/equipment sellers who did not get a stall or perhaps couldnt afford were selling or advertising their stuff outside the fair perimeter.
One thing to please note at agri fairs is that be systematic in your approach. since there are many stalls it can lead to confusion. From books, agricultural equipment, tractors, irrigation systems to high tech software and climate control systems, and solar panels to plant varieties were on sale and or display.
Tissue cultured varieties of sugarcane, bananas, ginger, turmeric. Hybrid seeds, floriculture.
Tissue culture nursery samples.
PVC pipes for pumps. Drippers. Filters. Sprinklers. Sprayers. Pump sets. Dripline. Button drip. Fertilizer pump.
Tractors. Walking Power Tiller used for ploughing, sowing, spraying, pumping, harvesting and towing. Seeding Trays. Pro Tray. Cocopit. Fogging machine.Seperator. rice mills. Seed cleaner-grader. Thresher.
plant growers, nutrients. organic nutrients made from neem. organic pesticides.
Herbal Medicines. Jams.
Solar water heaters, solar energy power generation systems (SEPOGS). Solar pressure cookers. solar LEDs. solar home lighting systems. solar LEDs for fothpath lamps. solar LED Torchs. Solar mobile charger. solar garden light. solar LED bulbs. solar E-bike with charger panel
a) Greenhouse Products:
Wall ropes for Greenhouse plants. Green house films, ground Covers. Net Connectors & Trellising Products. Thermo reflective screens and shednets. Growing Containers Substrate. Air Circulators, Coolnet, Spinnet for climate control. Dripnet P.C. , PCJ Dripper, Aquanet for Irrigation.Dosing & Control systems. N.M.C. Controller.
Silk Worm propogation units. Agro Packaging products
Farming and I.T.:
Reuters Market Lite
Market watch, weather and information regarding farming (news & crop adise) via sms straight to the farmer's mobile phone. India's first and only such service.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Well the short answer is there are no shortcuts to profit, atleast not in agriculture. You can only push so much. If you plan on planting some crop it will take its time to grow. That's the way nature is.
Anyways if you would like to know some profitable areas they could be these: Floriculture, horticulture. Flowers in green houses especially roses and other exotic varieties are much in demand both here and in India, but you will need infrastructure, quality and certification especially for exports.
Exotic and foreign vegetables like broccoli, capsicum, asparagus etc are in high demand abroad, in India's top hotels and they have also been now introduced in Indian markets now.
Apart from that food processing is a very good sector.
(Note this magazine is available in other languages too. details will be added shortly)
Name: Godwa Usacha
Name: International Horti Expo 2008
[Exhibition, Conference, Buyer-Seller Meet]
date: 31 Jan - 2 Feb 2008
venue: Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India
organiser: Media Today Group
official magazine: AgriBusiness & Food Industry
Salient features: ->processing & packing expo
->food retailing expo
->medi herbal expo
->India organic expo
->India GAP(Good Agriculture Practices) expo
->cold chain & LOGISTICS expo
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Krishi 2007 (International Agricultural Trade Fair & conference)
date: 29 Nov - 3rd Dec 07
date: 12-16 Dec 07
organiser: Kisan forum private ltd.
Krishi Bharti 2008
date: 5-7 Jan 2008
organiser: Bhartiya Krishak Samaj, Maharashtra
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
If we take the 2004 CII reported figure, the 10 year average growth rate for agriculture is only 2%. Contrast this with high growth rates in industry and services sector and we can see the chasm. Although more people depend either directly or indirectly on agriculture or agro-related work in India, this is one neglected sector. There are many reasons for this.
Being primarily rain-fed, most farmlands in India are left unseeded for months. Barring monsoon, for 8 months of the year viz. Oct. to May; a large proportion of farmers and cultivators dont make optimum use of their land. In some areas overuse of irrigation facilities leads to depletion of the water-table.
In foreign countries e.g. the U.S. or Europe there is mechanised farming. From planting of seedlings to pest control to harvesting and post-harvesting practices, everything can be managed efficiently by use of machines. In India however as in many developing parts of Asia, Africa and South America; the same ageold farming techniques are still in use. These lead to a lot of wastage and a host of problems. Preparation of the ground by tilling is done using bulls and seedlings are planted unsystematically. This leads to overuse of fertilizers and pesticides. The inert matter in the fertilizers and chemicals leads to leaching. Consequently the productive lands have over a period of years become barren and unproductive. A big deterrent to mechanisation of farming in India is the nature of land holdings which are fragmented. On average there are more small land owners here. This is a very important and much overlooked factor. Any farming can be reasonably profitable if the land area holding is 1 hector. But since holdings are less than even an acre, the farmers employ only subsistence farming methods. These are enough to feed their family the year round. A very important crop in India i.e. rice is planted in this manner. In Raigad district of Maharashtra, this author has seen rice plantations in small or medium-sized holdings which feed the farmer but cannot entail much profit commercially.
Poor productivity due to adverse climate conditions, seed failure, pestilence is common. Production is affected because there isn't enough optimization of crops. Since farmers are reluctant to change their old practices, they do not make use of modern planting methods. There is a tendency to think that more crops/trees you plant, more your profit margins will increase. In the author's own native place near Alibaug, there are coconut, betelnut (areca nut) and jackfruit plantations. Since spices grow well under these climatic conditions; pepper, nutmeg, mace production is also undertaken in these plantations. But the trees are planted so randomly, it leads to growth of fungi, rhinocerous beetles and such other pests which decrease production. But since the mentality is more trees equals more profits, they hardly understand how much loss is occuring. Quality takes a big hit, with fruitfall, fruits of small size. A lot of money is also wasted on spraying of bordeaux mixture for the arecanuts. Termite infestation is rampant and widespread. Small land holdings coupled with unplanned and non-mechanised farming methods leads to all this.
N.B. Image may not be used without permission
N.B. Image used for representation only. All rights with original owner.
One more observation the author has made is people are afraid of technology. No one there (native place of author) uses modern equipment. Still axes are used to chop fallen trees. No one has even heard of chainsaws. Till the old coconut palms fall over naturally, they arent hacked, even though they have reached "pencil-point". Instead they are watered even though their overall nut production is abysimal. Fertilizer means only cowdung. No one uses micronutrients. Soil testing is unheardof. Inspite of arecanut being carcinogenic, it is thought of as more profitable than coconut. Coir can be made into mattresses or ropes as in Southern Indian states of Kerala or Karnataka, instead people use it for fuel. Coconut has many uses, but lack of knowledge has lead to the same old money making practices. Packaged coconut water is much sought after, but here there are no industries for the same. Disk-harrowing, weed management and tilling of land in the plantations can be done by making use of power tillers but due to lack of awareness or funds, they arent used. Instead manpower is used which is both time consuming and inexact. Credit being expensive, the modern tools are beyond the reach of many farmers in India.
Poor infrastructure here is a big problem. Commodity prices are spread mainly by word of mouth. Information kiosks would be of great use but they arent set up in every district of every state. There isnt connectivity by road or rail to every village of India. Consequently farm produce cannot be taken to the biggest markets. The modern Supply chain is virtually absent in some regions. Presence of intermediaries known locally as dalals is a big deterent. From farmer/producer to consumers is one big chain of dalals who eat into the farmer's profit margins.
FARMER/PRODUCER -----> RETAILER -----> CONSUMER
This is the shorter and better route but in India it is more like this:
FARMER/PRODUCER -----> SMALL DALAL -----> LARGER DALAL -----> RETAILER -----> SMALL RETAILER/VEGETABLE-FRUIT VENDORS -----> CONSUMERS.
This model is both time and resource consuming and needless to say also expensive for the consumers. Besides hoarding of grains and commodities in godowns by larger dalals leads to artificial inflation in prices especially around festival seasons. Onions, sugar are some perishable goods which give a lot of trouble and play havoc with consumer's budgets. The market structure is distorted in India and lack of organisation leads to increase in transportation and storage costs. Controlled prices by govt. agencies is much resented by dalals since it caps their vested interests. Some experts and advocates of free market economy are against it too. But it cannot be gotten rid of just yet. In the West, the markets may be free but they are also better organised. In our unorganised farm sector, lack of central control would lead to instant chaos and spiraling food prices.
One more chink in the armour is lack or absence of cold storage facilities. Food, grains and other agricultural products by their very definition are perishable. They have a limited shelf life. To increase it and maintaining their quality till they reach the consumers, proper storage is very important. Most products like potatoes or onions or even tomatoes are still packed in gunny bags in which the items get crushed. Plastic crates aren't used by all. Grains stored in large godowns in gunny bags rot or get moth and rat infested. Unless the methods of storage and means of transportation get a drastic makeover, the losses during transit will continue.
Many people also cry foul over lack of research. But this isn't entirely true. There are enough research facilities with qualified people across India for every kind of farm produce like vegetables, fruits, animal products or even flowers. Its the dissemination of information where we take a beating. The author had visited the Dr. Balasaheb Kokan Agricultural Research Centre (regional) in Karjat recently. It primarily deals in rice research. The author spoke to Prof. Dr. Ramesh Kunkerkar who had loads of information to share about rice cultivation but since the author has just stepped into this field, it was overwhelming. But what the author did observe was people actually didn't come to get information. Apart from us there wasn't a single outsider. Only the staff, researchers and officer were present in the complex. The author may be wrong but upon questioning farmers in her own native place, not many were aware of the presence of the centre. Soil testing, water management, hybrid seeds, better tilling, sowing and practices for rice were not followed. Needless to say the state of many farmers across India is the same.
Post harvest handling and processing of food leads to a lot of value addition. But many industries for processing food are absent in India. As stated earlier coconut processing is virtually absent in the Konkan region. Commercial gains cannot be enhanced for lack of this. Instead raw goods are sold here. Why only coconut but many other products like fruit jams, pickles, chips, soups, noodles, sauces etc. can be made using the many fruits/vegetables available. Maharashtra is called the "Fruit Basket of India". But there are no investments in processing of fruits. Right from strawberries, oranges to coconut, jackfruits ; all can be made into various products. Retailing of these processed products are in much demand by consumers both locally and internationally. Instead of importing these products, they can be locally made which will be cheaper and fresher. Ethnic Indian food is in much demand internationally both by NRIs and foreigners. India can become a big agricultural product exporter. But they demand international standards. This is where we again fail. Our product isn't upto the mark, standard sized, standard coloured, better marketed or packaged. Hence there is a higher chance of rejection because of stringent norms abroad.
All the above demand investment in the agricultural sector both by the state and privately. Our laws unfortunately prevent or scuttle investment. And the govt. isn't too keen or lack of funds leads to under investment in this sector. Industry and services get many perks. So does farming in the annual budget but it is underutilised or misdirected or wasted. Specific areas aren't targeted for growth. India cannot just depend on industry or services since we are still agrarian. Besides this could lead to many problems like farmer suicides and credit crunches for farmers. (an ongoing problem already). It may come to the stage where we may need to again depend on foreign countries for our food supply. The farmers themselves can help a lot if there isn't tax evasion by the unorganised sector. Agricultural tax reform is necessary.
Agriculture can be made profitable by proper planning, systematic and targeted investments. If input costs can be brought down or controlled better by the farmers, it will lead to better profit margins. In order to make the small land holdings commercially viable; farm extension, technology transfer, mechanisation and finance are all necessary. Scientific methods of plantation, pest control, better water & fertilization management, multi-cropping system to gain both immediate and long term commercial goals is the need of the hour. There must be a fixed, targeted and sustained agricultural agenda by the government. Establishment of Special Agricultural Zones (SAZs) along the lines of SEZs will also help. Contract farming must be made risk-free and encouraged. Small land owners can come together and practice "collective farming of single crop" (many lands-one crop) in order to find markets and gain better rates for their produce. This will enable them to form credit societies for themselves to buy machinery like tillers, tractors, threshers etc. This will help the farmers themselves to create marketing platforms without the need for middlemen. Educated people must step in reform, reorganise the farming sector with new ideas. MBAs can work in agro marketing, Risk Managers can help better plan investments and keep the profit-loss ratio favourable for the farmers so that farmer suicide so rampant now-a-days can be avoided. Wasteland management and re-energising unproductive land by means of organic farming techniques will ensure betterment of farm sector. The above analysis shows there are many obstacles which are holding us back. But all of this can be changed by will and determination. Surely making agriculture profitable isn't a distant dream.
Monday, October 22, 2007
i will try to showcase the place with some pictures. and updates from time to time.
anyone having any information or interest in gardening or agriculture is welcome to post their messages.