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White Turmeric (Curcuma aromatica Salisb)

Dear Sir,

 

We Would like to introduce a multi faced herbal known as Original Kasturi Manjal and the botanic name is Curcuma aromatica Salisb which is  mentioned as ‘Vanaharidra’ in Ayurveda, belongs to the ‘ginger family’ Zingiberaceae.

 

 It is a perennial herb with characteristic aromatic rhizomes used in many traditional systems of medicines in India, China and other Southeast Asian countries. The rhizome of the plant is rich in alkaloids, flavonoids, curcuminoids, tannins and terpenoids which are reported to be the reasons for its various pharmacological properties.

 

The extraction of compounds in different solvents shows that the plant contains curdione, neocurdione, germacrone as its major components. Extensive literature survey showed that the plant has anti-cancerous, anti-obesity, anti-acne, anti-tussive, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic and wound healing properties.

 

The rhizome extract of the plant is highly effective against many human pathogens as well as microorganisms causing food spoilage and food borne diseases. The plant thus proves to be a promising candidate for the development and designing of modern drugs for several diseases. The present study was aimed to review the phytochemical and pharmacological properties of C. aromatica Salisb.

 

 

We are in a position to regular supply of White turmeric.

 

Jose THOMAS,

9447923438,

abcmjt@gmail.com

Agro Biotech International Exports Private Limited

An ISO 9001 – 2008 QMS, ISO 14001 – 2004 EMS Certified Company

Real Hub for Export and Import of Products and Services

  1. U51909AL2011PTC

NH 47, Perambra, Trichur Dt., Kerala,  India 680 689

+(91) 480 2720973 atiepvt@gmail.com www.agrobiotechexports.com 

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During the past several years, interest in Controlled Environment Ag (CEA) has virtually exploded. Current growers are expanding at a rapid pace and new entrants to the field abound. From greenhouse production to indoor vertical farming (IVF), we hear an unending list of stories of "new and innovative growing systems and techniques," all promising a countless array of benefits. Unfortunately, this isn't new.

Or maybe better yet, fortunately, this isn't new.

As we delve deeper into the industry, we see certain patterns emerge: Many growing operations - particularly newer ones - struggle. The failure rate can be high. Even when these businesses survive, many of them do not thrive. The all too common seduction by technological advancements tend to blind one to the realities of a CEA business. This is farming. Period. On a daily basis, we can observe throughout social media the claims of how technologies make farming easier - more productive - or more "hands off." While this might sound appealing, it takes one farther and farther away from a simple absolute in this business: Your goal is to produce a specific quantity of crop - abiding by specific quality standards - at a price point that provides a positive economic returnThat's it - and the foundation to achieve this is rooted in sound horticultural practices.

Please pay attention to these words: QUANTITY, QUALITY, AND POSITIVE ECONOMIC RETURNS. That is all a properly run, successful CEA business is supposed to provide. When you can achieve these three goals, anything else you want your business to produce: "green jobs," local food to the community, lower carbon footprint, less "food miles," etc, can be achieved. (But not without reaching the "big 3" first!) Whether you can adjust your temperature from your iPhone, stack multiple growing systems on top of one another, or watch your plants grow on your "lettuce-cam" while sipping a latte at Starbucks is completely irrelevant. Horticultural production techniques can be exacting and complex.....and the failure to adhere to those can be devastating. This is all too common, especially as we become more reliant on certain technologies. All too often, we see systems and technologies that are touted as "solutions" to certain problems (real or otherwise), yet violate the very basics of proper growing parameters.

That said, there ARE tremendous tools that technology has provided to the grower. These tools come in the form of better growing systems, nutritional and environmental controls, and data collection. These hardware and software tools have given the grower unprecedented levels of control over the growing process, as well as understanding and management of countless points of information. This can help the grower produce better crops, lower costs, streamline their business practices, and manage regulatory issues such as labor management and food safety.

But, a tool is a tool. A skilled farmer can take a tractor and use it properly it to produce better crops with less inputs, while an inexperienced operator might crash through the barn, killing the livestock. Which grower do you want to be? (hopefully you don't want to be the farmer who eventually gains knowledge and experience by repeatedly killing the cows, running over the landscaping plantings and crashing through the fence!)

The successful management of the complex biological systems we see in CEA requires a significant level of experience. The acquisition of such experience can be very time consuming and mistakes can be very costly. So how does one leapfrog this steep CEA learning curve? (and it IS steep!) Failure can be a tremendous teacher........but a painful one as well. Do you have the time, money, and energy to go through this process alone? You don't have to! AmHydro has been directly involved in commercial hydroponic production for over 33 years.

The AmHydro Advantage program is a consulting program open to anyone, and is supported by a full staff of commercial growers. We offer a full line of consulting services from:

  • Custom growing system design and manufacture
  • Biological-pest control programs
  • Crop production guidance - including best practices, varietal selection, and crop scheduling.
  • Professional grower training-we train and source growers for leading hydroponic farms and offer custom training programs for managers/general workforce. We also host quarterly 2-day training seminars at various locations.
  • Full scale project management and implementation. From start to finish, AmHydro can manage the design, construction, build-out, and operation of your project.
  • Consulting for any type of growing system: NFT, raft, aeroponic, slab, gutter, container, etc from any manufacturer.

AmHydro is one of the few companies in the industry who are actual commercial growers themselves. We have seen nearly every growing issues that any grower will ever face. This experience has helped us to develop successful growing operations in 65 countries around the world. Over 200 commercial farms in the US alone utilize AmHydro systems and expertise. This experience is what has paved the way to over 2 million square feet of production space, producing between 16 million and 20 million pounds of fresh, sustainable food each and every year. We also proudly partner with the most experienced and successful companies in the industry, bringing you the best greenhouse, lighting, environmental control, and construction options available. We have all your bases covered.

Let's face it, experience matters, and you don't have to wait to acquire it yourself. You don't even need to use an AmHydro growing system (although it certainly helps!) All you need is a desire to improve your production and build your company to it's fullest potential. The AmHydro Advantage program is a step in the right direction. Based on your needs, we can work with you to develop a custom plan to improve your crops, fix production problems, train your workforce, build, or expand your business. Site visits, online, phone, or Skype consulting is available. Give us a call or send us an email. You'll be glad that you did. Please visit our website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn pages to see photos of our countless successful growers across the globe. We hope that YOU will be next!

www.AmHydro.com

info@AmHydro.com

1-800-458-6543

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Apple Cultivation Triggers Ecological Disaster in the Himalayas

Vir Singh
Professor of Environmental Science
GB Pant University of Agriculture & Technology
Pantnagar – 263145 (Uttarakhand) India
email: drvirsingh@rediffmail.com

When Satya Nand Stokes, an American missionary turned Hindu, imported Red Delicious variety of apple from the United States of America and introduced it in Indian Himalayas to give commercial impetus to apple production in India, no one might have imagined that apple industry would one day spell doom over Himalayan ecology. The exotic apple has not come alone, but has brought with it a set of technological tools and practices not compatible with the traditional food production systems operating in the Himalayas. Every ecosystem has its own unique characteristics— a unique physical environment, a unique community of plants, animals and microorganisms, a unique pattern of energy production and cyclic flow of nutrients. An ecosystem’s unique functioning is determined by its basic characteristics, especially its vegetation type and its composition. Introduction of an exotic species at a large scale alters ecosystem composition and phenomenally affects ecosystem functions. The exotic apple does do the same.

In the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand Himalayas, apple cultivation has covered an area of about 27000 ha. This area once was covered by oak (Quercus spp.) forests, which are the ecological climax forests in the middle and high Himalayas. Apples are grown successfully between an altitude range of 1600-2700 m above average sea level. This zone is also the oak zone.  Thus, apple cultivation requires deforestation in the very beginning, to give place for the apple plants to grow. Banj (Quercus leucotrichophora), tilonj (Quercus floribunda) and kharsu (Quercus semicarpifolia) are the important species of oak in this zone.  Rhododendron, kafal (Myrica esculenta) are the other associated species of this zone. The oak forests along with numerous other species have to be felled before planning an apple orchard in the mountains. Problems of water scarcity, soil erosion and environmental deterioration in the Himalayas are rooted in the destruction of natural oak forests, which are the climax forests. The last successional stage of a forest community is termed the ‘climax’ and it is a final, mature, stable, self-maintaining and self-reproducing stage of vegetational succession on any given site. Destruction of such forest communities thus amounts to invite an environmental holocaust in an area.

In order to attain proper growth, good yields and maintain fruit quality, apple plants need different nutrients in varying quantities. Nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium fertilizers are extensively used in the apple orchards. According to a report, in Kumaon region, most of the amount of chemical fertilizers is going to apple orchards, rather than to food grain crops. Apple orchards serve as a host for a number of pests. In order to protect the plant a large number of pesticides – fungicides, insecticides, nematicides, weedicides, and rodenticides – are applied in an orchard. Indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in the apple gardens leaves behind a trail of deadly pollution. These chemicals do not remain confined to an apple orchard, but become a major reason of air, water and soil pollution.  Many of the pesticides used in apple orchards are imported ones and are banned in developed countries. Mixing of dreaded chemicals with the food chain is easier in mountain areas than in the plains because of the fact that in undulated areas water carrying life-annihilating pollutant runs faster downstream.

People fondly consuming apples do not know the fact that this fruit is water-guzzling. The mountain areas in which apples are planted often receive high precipitation in the form of rains and snows. Water deficiency reduces fruit size and quality, as well as production. Apple trees have very high susceptibility to drought conditions. Slightest fluctuations in the rainy season and in soil moisture content adversely affect the overall performance of the plant. Apple orchards flourish where there were oak forests earlier. Oak forests create lot of humus and it is this humus that keeps the water in the soil conserved for longer duration. Inadequate rains and short season of or no snowfall lead to shortage of moisture in the soil and then apples need irrigation.

Apple’s water use efficiency is extremely low, which causes a serious phenomenon of excessive water wastage. Very high evapotranspiration rate is the cause of apple’s low water use efficiency. The total annual water requirement of one ha of apple orchard in Kumaon Himalayas, on an average, is 39,08,000 litres. How much water is needed for each kg apple production? The figure is staggering—1153 litres, according to a book, first of its kind, entitled Ecological Impact of Apple Cultivation in the Himalaya by Dr. Vir Singh.

Rapid disruption of the hydrological cycle is another consequence of large-scale apple plantation. Natural oak forests in the Himalayan mountains have always been appreciated for their role in maintaining hydrological cycle and water balance. On the other hand, the different morphological and physiological characteristics of exotic apple trees not adapted to the effective utilization of available precipitation, impair the hydrological cycle and deplete water resources, that too in the area which is already facing an acute shortage of water.

If human labour, fertilizer and pesticide doses, and manure applied in an apple orchard are converted into energy and fruit yielded by apple trees are also converted into energy, we would find that an apple production system is energy-inefficient. The energy output- input ratio must be higher enough if a system were sustainable. The narrow ration is an indicator of unsustainability. Energy budget of apple cultivation reveals that fruit biomass conversion efficiency of the apple trees is extremely low. As many as five units of energy are expended to obtain one unit of energy in net fruit yield. From the energy budget point of viewpoint, it could be inferred that apple production is not sustainable.

The current effects of apple cultivation on Himalayan ecosystems may not be as serious as they would be in a few decades from now. This is reflected in the soil erosion, water resource depletion, hydrological cycle disruption and biodiversity annihilation which follow the systematic replacement of climax forests by apple orchards. Rapidly going on apple cultivation is gradually accentuating ecological degradation in the Himalayas.

 

 

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Sacred Cow as an Economic Power for India

Sacred Cow as an Economic Power for India

 

Vir Singh
Professor
Department of Environmental Science
GB Pant University of Agriculture & Technology
Pantnagar – 263145, Uttarakhand, India
e-mail: sinvir@gmail.com

Sacred cow, these days a buzzword in India, is a universal notion, a metaphor oft-quoted the world over. Role of the cow has been phenomenal ever since the dawn of agriculture some 10000 years ago. The cow, since then, has been providing the power necessary for feeding India, rather most of the world.

A poster hanging in the office of Navdanya in Dehradun portraying cattle reads that if all the cattle of India stand in a queue, the queue would reach the moon. With as many as 200 million cattle heads, India stands at number one in the world sharing as high as 33.39% of the world’s cattle population. Brazil with 22.64% and China with 10.03% world’s cattle population are at second and third rank, respectively. A happy feeling every proud Indian cultivates in mind is that we are the largest producer of milk in the world. Total milk production in the year 2016-17 is estimated at 155 million tonnes, which is likely to rise to 210 million tonnes in 2021-22. It is thanks to India’s robust cattle population that we have been recoding an annual increment of 4% in milk production for the last 10 years. The white revolution, thus, has been sustainable unlike the green revolution which has been recording unsustainability indicated by stagnancy and diminishing returns. Per capita milk production in India has also risen from merely 178 g in 1991-92 to as high as 337 g in 2015-16. Thus, contribution of the livestock sector, especially of cattle, to India’s food security is enormous, giving us a feeling of pride.

Contribution of cattle is counted only in terms of their milk production. As draught animals, nevertheless, they play still a more phenomenal role. I did my first doctoral degree with research focus on draught animal power with subsequent postdoctoral work also focused on the draught animal power in Indian agriculture. In the first agricultural university of India (the Pantnagar University), I was the first ever Ph.D. student to have appreciated role of cattle as draught animals. Again, I was the first research fellow at the Kathmandu based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) who ventured to carry out research work on draught animals. Ventured, because working on or even thinking about the draught animals is regarded to be a symbol of backwardness. “Professors do not want to work on draught animals, or they will not get promotion,” said Prof. N.S. Ramaswamy, the former Director of Indian Institute of Management based in Bangalore, who has done seminal work on draught animals and is one of the pioneers of research work in this field.

Cattle are used in almost all agricultural operations making them the largest (but rather informal) power sector in India. When I was working on draught animal power in Indian agriculture in 1980s and earlier 1990s, the figures of cattle contribution to agriculture were dazzling: 66% from draught animals, 23% from human muscles, and only 11% from machines like tractors and combine harvesters. These figures might be varying today. In fact, no organization in the country keeps draught animal power related data in records. In the Green Revolution belt of the country we generally encounter tractors tilling land and carrying agriculture produce from fields to home and market place. But, most of India still depends overwhelmingly on cattle for field operations ranging from ploughing to levelling, puddling, inter-culture, threshing, etc. Most of the agriculture produce in rural India is hauled by animals, especially bullocks. Bullock carts still serve as life-line of transport in most of the rural India.

Not only is India standing robust in cattle population and milk production, but also in the diversity of cattle breeds. There are fewer less than 30 well-described breeds in India. Number of non-descript breeds is still larger. Each of the breeds has specific traits such as of milk yield, draught power, feed conversion efficiency, sturdiness, adaptability, negotiation with terrain, etc. Some Indian breeds, such as Sahiwal, Gir, Red Sindhi, Tharparkar and Rathi are amongst the milk breeds. Hariana, Amritmahal, Kankrej, Ongole, Red Kandhari, Malvi, Nimari, Negori, Kangayam, Hallikar, Dangi, Khillari, Baraguru, Kenkatha, Siri, Bachaur, Ponwar, Kherigarh, Mewati, etc. are draught breeds. Hariana cattle breed of the Haryana state is regarded one of the best draught breeds in the world. The Vechur breed found in Kerala is the smallest cattle breed in the world. You can milk it making it stand on a table, and yet it produces very hardy and valuable draught bullocks.

Agriculture in India in some of the areas, especially in the Himalayan mountains and in other mountain ranges, is unimaginable without cattle. Almost all mountain communities all over the world are livestock-dependent. Draught power input in cultivated lands and food productivity are directly correlated. Thus, we can understand the value of draught animals in food production and consequent food security of the nation. Draught animals the cow is the mother of also play phenomenal role in maintaining agro-ecological integrity of our farming systems, especially in mountain areas, by managing agro-biodiversity, agricultural diversification, nutrient cycling, and soil fertility. Further, dependence on draught animals precludes use of petroleum thereby preventing carbon emissions that would have added to climate woes. Dependence on bullock power for agriculture, on the whole, is of carbon-negative proportions. Dependence on tractors and other farm machinery, due to exclusive dependence of fossil fuels, on the other hand, adds to climate woes.

India’s food independence and food security are largely attributable to overwhelming majority of small and marginal farmers (accounting for more than 83% of total land holdings) dependent on draught animals, not to a handful of large farmers dependent on farm machinery. Contributing to greenhouse gases to the extent of 32% (14% each from agriculture, and deforestation to give way to agriculture, and 4% from crop residues), the world’s agriculture, in fact, is also a climate culprit. But it is the green revolution type of agriculture – largely operated by big farmers relying heavily on fossil fuel-based mechanisation and excessive nitrogenous fertilizers – which is to blame. Small and marginal farmers largely manage crop-livestock mixed farming in linkages with forests and apply no or little chemical fertilizers. Smallholders’ agriculture is, thus, less likely to add stress to climate.

Now something about beef. There is much lamenting by the so-called secularists over the issue of banning cow slaughter. They are not concerned about the facts and figures, about national emotions, and not even about the crux of the problem. They would just link the issue of cow slaughter ban with the ‘right of Muslims’. Meat industry is one of the most brutal climate villains leaving trail of huge amounts of carbon in the atmosphere. Since the inception of Industrial Age when the world began to burn fossil fuels, we have warmed up the globe to the extent of 0.8 degrees Celsius. A World Bank Report says that the world is locked into 1.5 degrees Celsius warming due to the past and the predicted carbon emissions. The Paris climate negotiations of December 2016 fix the target of 2 degrees Celsius. The figure of 2 is small but it has to have phenomenally negative impact on life and on living planet. Food habits, in the same way, appear to be personal matters (not to be questionable!), but largest phenomenal human impact on climate is only owing to food habits. A meat diet, especially composed of beef, has to have the worst effect on the environment. Graphical representation of the data in a CNN report suggest that the largest carbon footprint due to a variety of foods is on account of beef, which is about 60 times larger than that of the diet composed by beans, peas and soybean (vegetarian diet).

The ongoing evitable cow controversy has merely political ramifications. Analysing from the socioeconomic and environmental angles we arrive at the conclusion the cow must be regarded as a pivotal source of India’s socio-economic and ecological development. A cow-powered India will truly be a happy and sustainable India. 

 

 

 

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With so much migration happening from villages to cities who is actually practicing agriculture? City Railway stations are filled with people arriving from villages, both young and old in search of better employment and a better life for their families. For landlords and rich city land owners it is becoming difficult to find farm labor. People who stay back in villages either get into the vicious circle of bad habits or fall prey to drought only to end their lives miserably. 

Is Govt doing enough to help the farmers? Is Govt aid really reaching to the right farmers or is getting siphoned by officials through some unethical practices? Do our farmers need any help or they can self sustain and become progressive farmers while the competition is getting smaller by the day for farming? There are several questions lingering around what's the fate of agriculture in India. 

Better farming practices and better resource allocation needs to be at every farmer's disposal. The temptation to move to urban lands will always be there but the beauty of staying in a village and making it big should also be taught. Who's responsibility is it to keep our farmers in their homes happy and healthy? Are we doing our bit to make sure we have a happy farmer in every village? 

Will agriculture be our main occupation in the next decade or will it be gone to cities? Will urban agriculture replace mainstream agriculture? We don't know that yet...

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