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IIITM-K develops app for coffee growers

Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management-Kerala (IIITM-K) has launched an application named Kaapi Soil Health Management and Monitoring (Kshemam) app to provide soil nutrient information and fertiliser recommendation for coffee plantation owners. The app will help in proper identification of optimum levels of fertiliser use. Farmers by entering information like geographic coordinates or their administrative divisions can check the soil property, nutrient status and fertiliser recommendations for their land. In addition, the spatial variation of individual nutrients can also be thematically visualised with the help of this app. By using this app, the farmers can generate fertiliser recommendation, nutrient advisory and soil health card in English, Kannada, Tamil or Malayalam.

National Bureau of Soil and Land Use Planning at the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) has already done GPS enabled soil sampling and nutrient analysis in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu to provide correct information to the coffee growers. In India, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are the leading producers of coffee.

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Agriculture Ministry unveils model APMC Act

In order to give more freedom to farmers to sell their produce, the agriculture ministry has unveiled “The State/UT Agricultural Produce and Livestocks Marketing (promotion and facilitation) Act, 2017” which has defined each state/UT as a single unified market area. The draft law is proposed to overhaul the existing laws.

So far 26 states and Union Territories, including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, have fully or partly modified their APMC laws. Other than Bihar, all other states/UTs have agreed to adopt the model Act.

Salient Highlights

The model act proposes to curb the role of APMC mandis. The existing APMC mandis are allowed to enforce regulation only in their market yard and thus encouraging private sector players to set up mandis. Traders would be able to transact in all markets within a state by paying a single fee.

The model law on agricultural marketing would introduce features like single market within a state, private wholesale markets, direct sale by farmers to bulk buyers, and promotion of electronic trading etc.

As agricultural marketing is a state subject and is governed by their respective Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Acts, the states are free to adopt portions or the entire model act. The state governments as per the draft law are required to appoint an independent entity ‘director of agricultural marketing’ who would function as a sole authority to grant the licence for the establishment of a new market yard in the state concerned.

The new Act proposes to put a cap on mandi taxes at 1% for foodgrain and 2% for fruits and vegetables as well as commission agent’s levy at 2% of the total transaction cost.

Need

Due to the monopoly of APMCs, farmers do not have a choice to sell their farm produce to multiple buyers. The model act will provide several marketing channels to sell agricultural produce. The model act aims to liberalize trade in farm produce and aid better price realization for farmers.

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Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Tripura chosen for Krishi Karman Awards, 2015-16

The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has selected Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Tripura for the Krishi Karman awards for their record performance in the production of food grains during 2015-16. Apart from these states, Meghalaya would get commendation prize for total food grain production and would be given a cash award of Rs 1 crore.

Tamil Nadu has been chosen in large category (production more than 10 million tonnes), Himachal Pradesh in medium category (1 to 10 million tonnes) and Tripura in small category (less than 1 million tonnes).

Tamil Nadu had produced 130 lakh tonnes of foodgrains in 2015-16, which is the highest in the last five years. In terms of yield in foodgrains, the state managed to get a yield of 3.38 tonnes per hectare as against the all-India average of 2.028 tonnes per hectare, which is 67% more than the national average. The state had adopted an “innovative, eco-friendly integrated pest management” to achieve this feat. In addition, government interventions like post-harvest management, disbursal of subsidies and integrated soil health management were also taken into account by the agricultural ministry.

Tamil Nadu will receive a sum of Rs 5 crore for the award. Tamil Nadu had already bagged the award thrice in 2011-12 for highest food grains production, in 2013-14 for highest pulses production and in 2014-15 for highest coarse cereals production.

Tripura has been selected for the Krishi Karman Award 2015-16 for a commendable increase in food grain production in small category states. The state produced 825,000 tonnes of food grain in 2016. The state would also receive a cash award of Rs five crore. Tripura gets this national award for the second time. The state targets to produce 935,000 tonnes of food grain in 2017.

Krishi Karman Awards

Krishi Karman awards were instituted in 2010-11 by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare to reward the best performing States in the production of foodgrains and individual crops of Rice, Wheat, Pulses and Coarse Cereals.

Totally, eight awards are given, including three for the States with highest foodgrains production in three identified categories-large, medium and small, and five awards are given for highest production under each of the crops Rice, Wheat, Pulses, Coarse Cereals and Oilseeds.

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