Integrated Assessment of Scale Impacts of Watershed Intervention

Integrated Assessment of Scale Impacts of Watershed Intervention (1st Edition)
Assessing Hydrogeological and Bio-physical influences on Livelihoods
Author(s): Dr. V. Ratna Reddy and Geoff Syme, Elsevier | Expected Release: October 2014
 
Integrated Assessment of Scale Impacts of Watershed Intervention: Assessing Hydrogeological and Bio-Physical Influences on Livelihoods
Key Features
  • Integrates hydrogeology, bio-physical, and socioeconomic aspects of watersheds in a hydrological context
  • Provides a comprehensive understanding of the impacts  of watershed interventions
  • Assesses the role of watershed interventions in enhancing household resilience
  • Provides hydrological and socio-economic methodologies for  design of sustainble watershed  interventions including scale and institutional arrangements for implementing and sustaining watershed interventions
Description
 
Integrated Assessment of Scale Impacts of Watershed Interventions is the outcome of a multi-disciplinary research team of social scientists, hydrologists (groundwater and surface water), modellers; and bio-physical scientists who have worked together over five years to develop an integrated model of the sustainability of biophysical, economic and social impacts of watersheds. Impacts of watershed interventions are assessed at upstream, mid-stream and downstream locations of two hydrological units that are characterised with differential bio-physical attributes. The editors propose that watershed interventions, when integrated with hydro-geology and bio-physical aspects, have greater influence on the resilience of the socio-ecological system. This book takes these aspects in to consideration and in the process provides insights in to watershed design and implementation.
 

 

Survey of Indian Agriculture 2012: The Hindu

 

 
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The Hindu – Survey of Indian Agriculture (2012)

Though prices of many agri commodities have increased the plight of the small and marginal farmers remains the same. The Govt. has recommended a minimum support price (MSP) for almost all produces that a farmer grows, except for sugarcane. Farmers growing other crops are not able to get a remunerative price. The reason being MSP is not being strictly implemented, it often remains on paper.The Indian agricultural sector is dominated by several middlemen. And today the entry of many private players in marketing agri produces also throws more marketing avenues open. Are the farmers getting a fair deal?

 
Contents:
  • Is rural India really shining or is it just a poster image by Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, Chairman MSSRF, The future of agriculture and food security will depend upon the attention we pay to soil conservation and enhancement, water harvesting and careful use, conservation of agro-biodiversityand anticipatory action for meeting the challenges of global warming resulting in unfavourable shifts in temperature, precipitation and sea level rise (page no. 7)

  • Are subsidies responsible for destroying agriculture? by K. Ramasamy, Vice Chancellor, TNAU, Coimbatore, The biggest problem in agricultural subsidy is that it has failed to distinguish between the needy and non-needy (page no. 10)

  • Need to learn from past experiences by M.J. Prabhu, Agriculture Correspondent, The Hindu, The lessons learned from the past when there were problems to face the drought must serve as guiding factor for preparedness to help the farmers to overcome the vagaries of weather (page no. 14)

  • Feasibility of farming for a small farmer today by V. Joseph Satish, Research Associate, Knowledge in Civil Society (KICS), Secunderabad, There has been a revival of traditional farming and organic food crops like millets and pulses (page no. 16)

  • Why are small farmers so vulnerable in the country? by Satyapal Malik, former Union Minister, Prabhari Kissan Marcha, BJP, New Delhi, When the farmers goes to sell, there is hardly any agency to buy his crop, he has to leave it at the middle man’s shop (page No. 20)

  • Why is production not matching international levels? by V. Rajagopal, former Director CPCRI, Kasaragod, The yield levels of some crops are lower than international level, still India ranks high in other crops. Agriculture is a complex enterprise with several ‘gaps’ which need attention, he feels (page no. 24)

  • Some reasons for why farming is not viable today by K. Kumaraswamy, Sol and Crop Management Scientist, Coimbatore, Small farmers are unable to transform the farming as a commercial venture due to resource constraints (page no. 26)

  • Official statement and ground reality don’t seem to match by A.P. Fernandez, former Director, MYRADA and currently Chairperson NABARD Financial Services, Loans for construction of warehouses for agri commodities should be considered as priority sector lending eligible for subsidized interest rate at part with the crop loan (page no. 29)

  • Many practical difficulties plague a farmer today by Suresh Pal and Alka Singh, Division of Agricultural Economics, IARI, New Delhi, A large majority of small farmers would be living below the poverty line if they depend only on agriculture as their source of livelihood (page no. 35)

  • Successful economic in aquaculture growing by M. Krishnan, Ananthan P.S and S. Pavithra, Head and Scientists, SocialSciences Division, CIFE, Mumbai, Policy driven, professionally companies that make huge investments ensure that the culture remains pristine like it was on day one day (page no. 38)

  • Loss: gain ratio for a small farmer by V.C. Mathur and G.K. Jha, Professor and Senior Scientist, Division of Agricultural Economics, IARI, New Delhi, Modern production technology underlines the use of chemical fertilizers and plant protection chemicals to realize the yield potential of modern varieties (page no. 42)

  • Continuing to grow without choice or chance by Uthara, organic farmer, water management expert and grassroot knowledge worker on sustainable farming, Kerala, The price of being a farmer gradually faded and the title slowly started gaining the burden of shameful humiliation of many dimensions (page no. 46)

  • Involve farmers as partners to achieve growth by S. Prabhu Kumar, Zonal VIII, Bangalore, About 630 KVKs a popular name among the farming community is functioning under ICAR (page no. 49)

  • Why does even a 10 acre farmer languish in poverty? by P. Ramasundaram and Lakshmi Prasanna, Principal and Senior Scientists, NCAEPR, DPS, Marg, Pusa, New Delhi, The lives of smallholding families can be improved by higher per acre productivity, and horizontal and vertical diversification (page no. 52)

  • Our farmers can learn from Chinese model by T. Ravisankar, Senior Scientist (Agri. Economics), CIBA, Chennai, The consumer preference for chilled fish is slowly improved but frozen fish is rarely accepted even in city fish markets in India (page no. 54)

  • Does dry land agriculture mean the end for a farmer? by C.A. Ramarao and B. Venkateswarlu, Principal Scientist (Agri. Economics) and Director, respectively at CRIDA, Hyderabad, It should be adequately recognized that the critical problems at rainfed agriculture are different from those of irrigated agriculture (page no. 57)

  • Three measures to reduce gap in farm income by Ramesh Chand, Director, National Centre for agricultural Economics and Policy Research, New Delhi, The shift of cultivators from agriculture to non agriculture has been lower than growth rate in their population (page no. 60)

  • Government alone cannot address all the challenges by Suresh Chandra Babu, Senior Fellow, IFPRI and Prasanna Rajasekaran, Scholar on public poilcy, One way to put Indian agriculture back on track is to increase public investment on agriculture research and extension (page no. 63)

  • Government claim of being pro-farmer is just an eye wash by N. Mahalingam, Chairman, Sakth Group of Companies, Chennai, The government has to introduce agriculture in higher secondary school at plus two and at degree level in regional language in rural areas (page no. 66)

  • Who is to be held responsible for the suffering of farmers? by G. Nammalwar, Nammalvar Ecological Foundation, Surumanpatti, Karuru, Tamil nadu, An understanding of the roots of agrarian crisis may help the planners to reconsider what do they mean by “second green revolution” (page no. 69)

  • Is privatizing marketing a feasible solution? by L. Narayana Reddy, Doddaballapur taluk, Bangalore Rural district, big supermarket or a mall has displaced hundreds of small traders from their age old profession and put them and their dependents into a sad state of leading their lives (page no. 72)

  • FDI is not reform but an investment policy by Ajay Vir Jakhar, Chairman, Bharat Krishak, Samaj, New Delhi, For years, farmers have been suffering at the hands of those who have a monopoly on purchasing and selling of agriculture produce, (page no. 75)

  • Commissions and kickbacks are ruining productivity by S. Durairaj, enterpreneur, Green energy generation and poultry manure production, Tamil nadu, UNDP has selected this as one of the 11 projects in the world. Further, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the UNFCCC has registered this as a green project (page no. 78)

  • What do farmers want from the government? by Thooran Nambi, Coordinator Tamil nadu Farmers Association, Tirupur, Commodity based mono-cropping for exploiting the basic natural resources has to be stopped and to maintain bio-diversity, multi cropping system is to be worked out (page no. 81)

  • Do away with middlemen for food security by Suman Sahai, Convenor, Gene Campaign, Sainik farms, Khanpur, New Delhi, Middlemen are able to exploit the farmers largely because of the failure of the formal credit system which is practically non existent (page no. 83)

  • Can a finance bill exclusively for agriculture help? by L.N. Manjunath, Executive Director, SKDRDP, Dharmasthala, Karnataka, An exclusive farm budget instead of being treated as yet another election year budget, should micro manage the available resources in the country (page no. 86)

  • Need to change policies to suit present day requirements by Yashawantha Dongre, Registrar, Vijayanagara, Sri Krishnadevaraya University, Bellary, Even if the agricultural sector grows at the present rate for the next decade, reduction of population pressure would enhance its productivity levels many fold (page No. 88)

  • Confidence building measures to bail out agriculture by Vijoo Krishnan, Joint Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha, New Delhi, Farmers’ cooperatives and SHGs must be given institutional credit at low interest rates (page no. 90)

  • Suffering farmers and an oblivious government by A.K. Ghosh, Director, CED, Jadavpur University, Can any farmer easily access seeds from National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NPBGR) holding more than 70,000 varieties run by tax-payers’s money? Or do they even know it exists? (page no. 92)

  • How far is the Govts. claim on being food secure true? by Alok Sinha, IAS (Retd), Former Chairman and Managing Director, Food Corporation of India, Food security can be introduced through an executive order. Later it can be given the cover of a Parliamentary mandate, and no party would then oppose such an egalitarian and sensible policy (page no. 95)

  • Removing imperfections to facilitate better marketing by N. Ajjan, Director, Centre for Agricultural and Rural Development Studies, TNAU, Coimbatore, To protect the rights of the farmers as well as sponsors of contract farming, a dispute settlement mechanism should be set up (page no. 97)

  • Is present credit facility squeezing life out of farmers? by C.V. Sairam, Principal Scientist, Agricultural Economics, ICAR, New Delhi, During extreme conditions such as drought, flood, cyclones, etc., farmers expect better and timely empathetic measures from the financial institutions and hence the existing norms in this regard may be fine-tuned (page no. 100)

  • Result of flawed policy paradigm by D.S. Bhupal, Senior fellow, Agricultural Economics Research Centre, University of Delhi, Delhi, Wrong choice of flood irrigation method and cropping pattern are leading to huge water wastage (page no. 102)

  • Need for more stringent measures to save groundwater by K. Palanisami, Principal Researcher, IWMI, Hyderabad, Among the top 10 groundwater-abstracting countries as of 2010, India ranks first (page no. 106)

  • Whether farmers are benefiting from Bt cotton by Kavitha Kuruganthi, ASHA, Bangalore, How is it that Bt cotton in other countries had not resulted in the kind of cotton yield increases that India has seen for a few years in the last decade? (page no. 108)

  • A decade of successful Bt cotton cultivation in Gujarat by V. Kumar, Research Scientist (Cotton), Main Cotton Research Station, Navsari Agricultural Unviersity, Athwa Farm, Surat, Due to Bt cotton, farmers harvest more yield, better assured of returns, incur less expenses on pesticides, efficient use of water, nutrients and other inputs (page no. 110)

  • Direct marketing can ease woes to an extent by M.J. Prabhu, Agriculture Correspondent, The Hindu, Chennai,The self-sufficiency that the country claims to have achieved is not real – as one-third of our present population do not have the purchasing power for three meals a day (page no. 112)

Are Neonicotinoid insecticides Killing Bees?

A Review of Research into the Effects of Neonicotinoid Insecticides on Bees, with Recommendations for Action

By Jennifer Hopwood, Mace Vaughan, Matthew Shepherd, David Biddinger, Eric Mader, Scott Hoffman Black, Celeste Mazzacano


A possible link between neonicotinoids and honey bee die-offs has led to controversy across the United States and Europe. Beekeepers and environmentalists have expressed growing concern about the impact of neonicotinoids, concern based on the fact that neonicotinoids are absorbed into plant tissue and can be present in pollen and nectar, making them toxic to pollinators.

This report details potential negative impacts of neonicotinoids insecticides to honey bees and other important pollinators. It also makes recommendations on how we can better protect bees.

Click here to view a full PDF of the report.

Some of the major findings of the report include:

  • Several of these insecticides are highly toxic to honey bees and bumblebees.
  • Neonicotinoid residues are found in pollen and nectar consumed by pollinators such as bees and butterflies. The residues can reach lethal concentrations in some situations.
  • Neonicotinoids can persist in soil for months or years after a single application. Measurable amounts of residues were found in woody plants up to six years after application.
  • Untreated plants may absorb chemical residues left over in the soil from the previous year.
  • Products approved for homeowners to use in gardens, lawns, and on ornamental trees have manufacturer-recommended application rates up to 120 times higher than rates approved for agricultural crops.
  • There is no direct link demonstrated between neonicotinoids and the honey bee syndrome known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). However, recent research suggests that neonicotinoids may make honey bees more susceptible to parasites and pathogens, including the intestinal parasite Nosema, which has been implicated as one causative factor in CCD.
  • Many neonicotinoid pesticides that are sold to homeowners for use on lawns and gardens do not have any mention of the risks of these products to bees, and the label guidance for products used in agriculture is not always clear or consistent.

The report recommends that regulators reassess the bee safety of all neonicotinoid pesticide products, reexamine or suspend all conditional registrations until we understand how to manage risks, and require clear labels so that consumers know that these products kill bees and other pollinators.

The report also recommends that the US Environmental Protection Agency adopt a more cautious approach to approving all new pesticides, using a comprehensive assessment process that adequately addresses the risks to honey bees, bumble bees, and solitary bees in all life stages.

The Per Capita Myopia:The Politics Of Climate Change And The Global Crisis- Mortgaging Our Future

The Per Capita Myopia


Praful Bidwai
Green prophet Praful Bidwai Photo: Shailendra Pandey

Praful Bidwai brings lucid scholarship and a fresh perspective to issues of climate change, says Nagraj Adve

THERE ARE two dominant trends in literature among those who agree that global warming is ongoing and serious: those who think, wrongly, that technological solutions will work in isolation (George Monbiot’s Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning; Mark Lynas’ The God Species); and those who root the climate crisis in the workings of the capitalist system (John Bellamy Foster’s Ecology Against Capitalism; Joel Kovel’s The Enemy of Nature; Jonathan Neale’s Stop Global Warming: Change the World). Praful Bidwai falls in neither.

He does underline energy efficiency in a whole range of applications, and devotes a chapter to the recent flowering of renewable energy in many countries, but he is no technophile. Combating climate change is for him “in the last analysis… about transforming the existing relations of power”. He also mounts a multifaceted critique of India’s changing climate stance, its linkages with our foreign policy and big power ambitions, our energy policies, and offers informed, detailed alternatives. By doing so, he has initiated a third approach, in the Indian context. On the other hand, while he does discuss capitalism’s recent neoliberal avatar and its connections with climate change, and transborder production and globalisation, the book ignores capitalism’s essential logic, which is one of growth, accumulation, profits and the drive to avail of the cheapest input costs, particularly labour and raw material. In the former lies the book’s strengths; in the latter, its main, significant weakness.

The book offers a four-pronged critique of dominant approaches to climate issues: one, of “limited” per capita notions of equity favoured by the Indian government; the alternatives it discusses include, importantly, equity within nations, something that some non-governmental actors also miss out. Two, of reliance on the market. Three, the crafting of India’s climate policy and negotiations as completely elitist and non-participatory, a criticism that also holds for the formulation of climate action plans currently underway in many states. And four, a critique of many of the eight missions of the National Action Plan on Climate Change.

He proffers, in its stead, energy planning models that are decentralised, flexible and ecologically sound. Practical alternatives are presented — more public transport, water-saving measures such as the system of rice intensification, the varied uses of biomass — and, at another level, the potential offered by the remarkable rise of new renewable energy over the past 10 years, particularly wind and solar photovoltaic. He also discusses six categories of alt ernative proposals regarding climate negotiations, of which the most interesting, he suggests rightly, is the Greenhouse Development Rights framework for it imposes obligations on the rich regardless of their nationality. But how some of the visions he discusses will see light of day — particularly in the absence of adequate popular pressure in the four largest emitting countries, China, the US, Russia and India — is moot, a dilemma he’s alive to. Given the urgency of global warming, what is feasible and how quickly we can turn things around — considering the inherent logic of capitalism and its intensification worldwide — is one that he chooses to ignore.

Notwithstanding that, this is a superb book. Bidwai brings lucidity, breadth of knowledge and scholarship to a wide range of issues, some of which include positions mirrored by activist organisations in India: the myth that nuclear power is a panacea for climate change; the many dangers of market mechanisms such as the Clean Development Mechanism; that much of what the Indian government claims as adaptation is merely a repackaging of existing programmes; the hazardous advocacy of large dams and river-linking within the National Water Mission; the need for a more decentralised generation and use of energy, particularly in villages that have no electricity, etc. This book is essential reading for a wide audience even beyond those engaged with climate change. For it to reach them, a cheaper paperback edition would be handy.

Adve is a Delhi-based activist


The Politics Of Climate Change And The Global Crisis: Mortgaging Our Future
The Politics Of Climate Change And The Global Crisis: Mortgaging Our Future
Praful Bidwai 
Orient BlackSwan 
392 pp; Rs 750

Big plans for mechanisation of farming in 2012-17: Pawar

New Delhi, Oct 19 (PTI)
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/199116/big-plans-mechanisation-farming-2012.html

Faced with labour shortage after the rural employment guarantee scheme, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today announced that the government plans to launch a mega programme in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) for mechanisation of the farming sector.

He expressed the confidence that the country’s foodgrains production in the 2011-12 crop year would surpass the previous year’s record of 241.56 million tonnes and said four per cent targeted growth in the farm sector will be achieved.

Addressing the Economic Editors’ Conference, Pawar said, “With successful implementation of MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) and other anti- poverty programmes of the government, there is now pressure on availability of farm labour.

“While we are attempting to innovatively utilise MGNREGA for augmenting activities that directly add to farm productivity, for compensating scarcity of labour, I am proposing a large programme for agricultural mechanisation during the 12th Plan,” he said.

Pawar said there is “nothing wrong” if rural population was getting better wages under the MGNREGA, but underlined that the farm sector would have to find some alternative to deal with the labour problem.

“Whenever I go to any state and discuss with Chief Ministers, one general complaint I keep hearing about is non- availability of labour, particularly, at the time of sowing and harvesting. “So, in that period, we have to see there is availability of labour and if it is not there…We have to find some alternative mechanism,” he said.

Citing the example of farming of sugarcane wherein a large number of labourers are required at the time of harvesting, Pawar said many states had requested for introduction of sugarcane harvester.

On production outlook for 2011-12 crop year (July-June), Pawar said the monsoon had been very encouraging this year and the country is estimated to have produced a record production in the kharif season.

“We hope to see a substantial expansion in crop area and to achieving record production in the coming Rabi season, too. We are confident that we will be able to surpass our own production record set last year,” he said. Pawar noted that the government’s strategies to rejuvenate the agriculture sector “have been working well and will now be able to achieve targeted four per cent growth”.

He said the agriculture sector posted a 6.6 per cent growth rate during the last fiscal and an average 3.2 per cent in the current plan so far. The minister, however, said that the country needs to produce more to meet the rising domestic demand and this could be achieved through raising the yield from existing area.