High Court stops Nuziveedu Seeds from selling Bt cotton under Monsanto brand

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/high-court-stops-nuziveedu-seeds-from-selling-bt-cotton-under-monsanto-brand/articleshow/51060790.cms

NEW DELHI: Delhi High Court today restrained Indian firm Nuziveedu Seeds from selling Bt cotton seeds using the trade-mark of US-based agro major Monsanto’s Indian arm Mahyco Monsanto Biotech Ltd (MMBL).

Justice Vipin Sanghi also asked the Hyderabad-based seed company to pay the royalty to MMBL, a joint venture between US-based Monsanto and Mahyco, after selling the old stock manufactured prior to November 2015.

The bench restrained Nuziveedu Seeds from selling seeds manufa ..

Haryana, Punjab may cut Bt cotton sowing

Haryana, Punjab may cut Bt cotton sowing
The move comes after a joint action panel recommended use of traditional varieties as they were immune to pest attacks
Komal Amit Gera  |  Chandigarh February 18, 2016 Last Updated at 22:35 IST
Image via Shutterstock

Image via Shutterstock
Farmer suicides in Punjab and Haryana in the aftermath of extensive damage to the crop in 2015-16 due to pest attack has led to a swing in official opinion against genetically modified (Bt) seeds.

A Joint Action Committee was appointed by the two state governments on the causes and to suggest remedies for white fly infestation. Its report says the native variety (arboreum) is immune to cotton leaf curl viral disease and comparatively tolerant to white fly and other sucking insect pests. Hence, its cultivation should be promoted in Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan.

Punjab and Haryana provide 15 per cent of the nation’s cotton output.

Highly placed sources in the Haryana government say an effort is on to assess the availability of traditional variety seeds with the universities, the Central Institute of Cotton Research and private seed producers. “We expect to replace 15-20 per cent of the area under seed with the traditional one this year (rabi 2016-17) and in the next few years to take it to 50 per cent. Co-existence of Bt and non-Bt crop would curtail the chance of spread of epidemics like white fly, as the two crops are resistant to different kinds of diseases. Monoculture in agriculture is one of the cause of widespread diseases in plants. Presently, 95 per cent of the cotton grown in Punjab and Haryana is the Bt variety and this triggered the quick spread of disease.”

The peak season of cotton picking is over, though it lasts till the end of March. Cotton arrivals in Punjab have fallen 60 per cent this year from the corresponding period in the year before. The dent is lesser in Haryana and is estimated to be about 35 per cent less but some farmers had lost the entire crop. Punjab is yet to take a decision on the remedy. The state had to pay Rs 800 crore in compensation to the affected farmers.

Haryana, Punjab may cut Bt cotton sowing

Said a source in Punjab’s agriculture department: “We would like to cultivate desi (native) cotton in at least 10 per cent of the total area and are trying to educate farmers. We don’t have the seed stock to support this much area but will try to organise seed from neighbouring states.”

There is a big problem of spurious seeds and pesticides in Punjab and that is also considered an important reason for outbreak of the disease at an epidemic scale. One result is that only about 60 of Punjab’s 400-odd cotton ginning factories are operational. The state government has plans to take charge of the distribution of seeds through own agencies. Growing two rows of sorghum or bajra millet or maize as a barrier crop around cotton fields is also being recommended to help contain the spread of white fly.

The Union ministry of agriculture, in its second estimate for crop year 2015-16, pegged cotton production at 30.9 million bales (a able is 170 kg), scaling it down from 33.51 mn bales in the first advance estimate.

The states of Punjab and Haryana lost a large part of the crop due to pest attack (white fly) and arrivals in Punjab this year have been at least 60% lesser than the last year.

Area ( in lakh hectares) Production (in lakh bales of
170 kg each
Yield (kg/hectare)
Year Punjab Haryana Punjab Haryana Punjab Haryana
2012-13 4.8 6.14 21 26 743.75 719.87
2013-14 4.46 5.36 21 23 800.45 761.19
2014-15 4.2 6.48 12 20.5 485.71 537.8
2015-16 (P) 4.5 5.76 6 14 320 480


(P) Average estimated projections
Source: State Agriculture Departments and Cotton Advisory board

Rhythms of the herd: Long term dynamics in seed choice by Indian farmers

Glenn Davis Stone,  Andrew Flachs,

Scholars in many disciplines have approached the question of how humans combine environmental learning (or empirical assessments) and social learning (or emulation) in choosing technologies. As both a consumer item and the subject of local indigenous knowledge, commercial crop seeds provide a valuable window into these processes. Previous research on seed choices by cotton farmers in Andhra Pradesh, India, uncovered short-term seed fads, or herding, indicating agricultural deskilling in which environmental

learning had broken down. Unknown was if the faddism (and the underlying deskilling) would continue or even be exacerbated by the spread of genetically modified seeds. Data covering 11 years of seed choices in the same sample villages are now available; we
combine analysis of this unusual data set with ethnographic observation. We find that herding has continued and intensified. We also find an unexpected emergent pattern of cyclical fads; these resemble classic models of successive innovation adoption where
periodicity is introduced from outside the system, but we argue that it periodicity is actually generated by an internal dynamic.

http://artsci.wustl.edu/~anthro/research/stone/Rhythms_of_the_Herd.pdf

EPW latest issue: Papers on Bt cotton

A response to Herring and Rao
Glenn Davis Stone Discussion, Economic and Political Weekly | August 17, 2013
Reconstructing Facts in Bt Cotton – Why Scepticism Fails
Ronald J Herring, Economic and Political Weekly | August 17, 2013
The case that the “triumph narrative” of Bt cotton in India comes mainly from economists, the biotech industry and their academic allies is a difficult one to sustain when dozens of studies show the positive effects of insect resistance in Bt cotton. Yields are driven by numerous factors, and there will be variance – field-to-field, season-to-season. Despite this, Bt cotton has been agro-economically successful because of the lower cost of production per unit and thus higher net returns – facts that are consistent with the near universal adoption of Bt technology by farmers.
Bt Cotton Yields and Performance – Data and Methodological Issues
N. Chandrasekhara Rao, Economic and Political Weekly | August 17, 2013
This article rebuts the argument that shortcomings in Bt cotton studies and divergence between yield gains and extent of adoption of Bt hybrids make it impossible to conclusively say anything about the impact of genetically modifi ed seeds. Further, it points out that there have been numerous studies that have controlled for selection and cultivation bias, and concluded that Bt cotton has had statistically significant positive yield effects.

 

 

More pests ‘resistant to GM crops’ across the World: study

(AFP) – 17 hours ago

PARIS — More pest species are becoming resistant to the most popular type of genetically-modified, insect-repellent crops, but not in areas where farmers follow expert advice, a study said on Monday.

The paper delves into a key aspect of so-called Bt corn and cotton — plants that carry a gene to make them exude a bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis, which is toxic to insects.

Publishing in the journal Nature Biotechnology, US and French researchers analysed the findings of 77 studies from eight countries on five continents that reported on data from field monitors.

Of 13 major pest species examined, five were resistant by 2011, compared with only one in 2005, they found. The benchmark was resistance among more than 50 percent of insects in a location.

Of the five species, three were cotton pests and two were corn pests.

Three of the five cases of resistance were in the United States, which accounts for roughly half of Bt crop plantings, while the others were in South Africa and India.

The authors said they picked up a case of early resistance, with less than 50 percent of insects, in yet another US cotton pest.

And there were “early warning” signs (one percent resistance or less) from four other cotton or corn pests in China, the United States and the Philippines.

The scientists found big differences in the speed at which Bt resistance developed.

In one case, it took just two years for the first signs to emerge; in others, the Bt crops remained as effective in 2011 as they were 15 years earlier.

What made the difference was whether farmers set aside sufficient “refuges” of land for non-BT crops, said the study’s authors.

The idea behind such refuges comes from evolutionary biology.

The genes that confer resistance are recessive, meaning that insects can survive on Bt plants only if they have two copies of a resistance gene — one from each parent.

Planting refuges near Bt crops reduces the chances of two resistant insects mating and conferring the double gene to their offspring.

“Computer models showed that refuges should be good for delaying resistance,” study co-author Yves Carriere, an entomologist at the University of Arizona at Tucson, said in a press release.

Practical evidence of this is shown in the case of a cotton-munching pest called the pink bollworm, said his colleague, Bruce Tabashnik.

Bt crops in the southwestern United States, where growers work closely with scientists to devise a refuge strategy, do not have a resistance problem.

In India, though, local pink bollworms became resistance within six years, simply because farmers did not follow the guidelines or get this support.

The researchers cautioned that resistance to Bt crops was simply a matter of time, as all pests eventually adapt to the threat they face. But refuges were the key to braking it.

“Either take more stringent measures to delay resistance such as requiring larger refuges or this pest will probably evolve resistance quickly,” said Tabashnik.

Farming groups have been furiously debating the value of refuges, and in recent years the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) relaxed its refuge-planting requirements.

More than a billion acres (420 million hectares) of land have been planted with Bt crops since the mid-1990s.

In 2011 alone, 66 million hectares (164 million acres) of land was planted with Bt crops.

That year Bt corn accounted for 67 percent of corn planted in the United States and Bt cotton for between 79-95 percent of cotton planted in the US, Australia, China, and India.

Transgenic crops are opposed in Europe and other parts of the world where green activists say they are a potential threat to human health and the environment.

Bt Cotton Questions and Answers: CICR

Author: K.R. Kranthi, Director, Central Institute for Cotton Research, Nagpur
Source: Indian Society for Cotton Improvement (ISCI), Mumbai
Published Year: 2012
The Indian Society for Cotton Improvement (ISCI) has recently released a comprehensive book on “Bt Cotton Questions & Answers” authored by Dr. K R Kranthi, Director of the ICAR’s Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR), Nagpur, India. The book has hundred questions on Bt cotton, time and again raised by farmers, scientist colleagues, parliamentarians, family and friends. Dr Kranthi succinctly answers questions that remain unanswered even after 10 years of Bt cotton journey in India since its commercialization in 2002. The book provides basic information and data to enhance understanding on several issues.
 
The book is available online at CICR website: http://www.cicr.org.in/pdf/Bt_Cotton_Q&A_Kranthi%202012.pdf 
 
For a hard copy of the book you may contact Dr. K R Kranthi at krkranthi@gmail.com.

Bt Cotton is Failing; Blame the Farmers

By Glenn Davis Stone

http://fieldquestions.com/2013/02/09/bt-cotton-is-failing-blame-the-farmers/

http://www.globalresearch.ca/harvest-of-hypocrisy-farmers-being-blamed-for-gmo-crop-failures/5322807

Of all the GMO controversies around the world, the saga of Bt cotton in India continues to be one of the most interesting and important. In the latest chapter, reported by the Business Standard, cotton yields have dropped to a 5-year low, setting off a fascinating round of finger pointing.

India approved Bt cotton in 2002 and within a few years yields were up dramatically. There are different sets of data out there, but let’s use the India Ministry of Textiles data since it’s this weeks news story. This chart shows the national trends in cotton yield (kg per hectare).

If you follow GMO debates you will have heard several years of kennel barking about how these figures show a “remarkable success.” But as I have pointed out (in my blogand in EPW), most of the rise in productivity had nothing to do with Bt cotton; in fact it happened before Bt cotton became popular.

Check it out: the biggest rises were from 2002/3 to 2004/5, when yields rose 56% from 302 to 470 kg. But by 2004/5, only 5.6% of India’s cotton farmers had adopted Bt. Do the math: if those 5.6% of planters were really responsible for a 56% rise in yields, then they must have been harvesting 3,288 kg/ha.

Feb-2013-graph

Data from the India Ministry of Textiles.

So Bt didn’t explain the big rise in yields, and since Bt has taken over, yields have been steadily worsening. What are we to make of this? Well, two things, according to the Business Standard and the Monsanto spokesperson who was their main informant. One has to do with what has gone wrong, the other with what we need to get out of this mess.

1. What Went Wrong? (the farmers screwed up?)

It seems the bollworms — the voracious pests that that Bt cotton is designed to kill — are developing resistance. But resistance, according to Monsanto, is “natural and expected.”

Whoa — that’s not what the farmers were told to expect. I was there when Bt cotton was being rolled out and they were told repeatedly and confidently that they wouldn’t have to spray any more. In fact we were all being told that “genetic farming is the easiest way to cultivate crops. All that farmers have to do is to plant the seeds and water them regularly. The genetically modified seeds are insect resistant, so there is no need to use huge amounts of pesticides.”

All the farmer has to do is plant and water the seeds… and then wait around for resistance, which is natural and expected. But wait there’s more: when it does appear, it’s the Indian farmers’ fault. Monsanto’s spokesman explains:

Among the factors that may have contributed to pink bollworm resistance to the Cry1Ac protein in Gujarat are limited refuge planting and early use of unapproved Bt cotton seed, planted prior to GEAC approval of Cry1Ac cotton, which may have had lower Bt protein expression levels, he added.

A “refuge” is a strip of non-Bt seeds farmers are asked to plant around their Bt fields, basically to raise bollworms that aren’t resistant to Bt, so they can hopefully breed with any resistant bollworms.[1] Very few Indian farmers actually do this, because it’s a lot of extra work for no return. Here’s an insight from 30 years of research on farming: if you’re pushing a technology that is only sustainable if farmers follow practices that require extra work for no return, you are pushing an unsustainable technology.

The other Monsanto suggestion is that the farmers are to blame for planting unapproved seeds. Sorry, that dog don’t hunt. Those unapproved seeds were Navbharat-151 and they have been muchwritten about; they were better than the approved seeds, and their Bt levels were apparently sky high. Gujarat, where they were planted, has had India’s biggest rises in yields.

But while we’re blaming Indian farmers, why stop there? Monsanto also explains that

farmers have been constantly educated to adopt measures such as need-based application of insecticide sprays during the crop season and adoption of cultural practices like keeping the field clean of cotton stubble and crop-leftovers, ploughing of land after harvest so that the resting stages of the insects in the soil could be destroyed.

I have yet to bump into the educators who are giving farmers constant remediation on spraying, plowing, and field clearing. But I do bump into a lot of biotechnology people who pontificate on the wisdom of the Indian farmer. The farmer has long been seen as backward, tradition-bound, and inept. “We need to teach proper tillage,” a Monsanto executive explained to me years ago. But farmers are obstinate, and in fact this was one of the arguments for GM seeds:

for years people have tried to change cultural practices of these farmers, and it just hasn’t worked. It has been a complete failure, because you have to modify infrastructure, you have to re-educate them as to how to modify their farming practices themselves. But with biotech, the technology is in a seed. All you have to do is give them the seed. (-biotechnologist Martina McGloughlin)

But as soon as Indian farmers adopted GM seeds, we were told that “we should leave the choice of selecting modern agricultural technologies to the wisdom of Indian farmers” and that “farmers are excellent businessmen who aren’t persuaded by anything or anybody that doesn’t make their job easier or more profitable.” [2]

So don’t question the wisdom of the farmer! He is a genius — at least when he is buying GM seeds. But otherwise, he has to be told how to plant, spray, plow, and clear fields!

2. Now What? (More innovation?)

So despite all the GM seeds, India’s cotton yields keep on dropping. (In some states, they are now lower than they were before Bt seeds became popular.) So what’s the way forward?

To me this is a very hard question, but not to the Business Standard, which simply reports the news that

continuous R&D and innovation to develop new value-added technologies is imperative to stay ahead of insect resistance. To support such innovation, Monsanto demanded government policies’ support to encourage investment in R&D which will result in Indian farmers having a wider choice of better and advanced technologies translating thereby, higher yield.

No kidding — innovation from Monsanto is going to keep us ahead of the insects and guarantee higher yields. But lets take a look at the facts, at least as reported by the industry-friendly ISAAA. Yields started dropping after 2007/8. But that was just after new genetic constructs started appearing: a new 2-gene technology in 2006/7, and by 2009, six different constructs were approved. And these rapidly proliferating technologies were appearing in dizzying numbers of seed products. After 2006/7, the number of Bt hybrid seeds being offered to farmers jumped from 62 to 131 to 274; by 2009/10 there were 522.

There you have it: Indian cotton farmers today are being pelted with a hailstorm of new gene technologies and seed products, their yields steadily dropping, and the way forward is clear to the Business Standard: invest in Monsanto innovation.

Glenn Davis Stone is Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies at Washington University in St. Louis.  Over the past 30 years he has studied and written about food, farming, and biotechnology.  He has conducted extensive research in West Africa, India, and the U.S., with additional fieldwork in So. Africa, Viet Nam, Thailand, and England, and laboratory work at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.  He is president of the Anthropology & Environment Societyof the American Anthropological Assn.

Notes

[1] Further explanation: A field full of Bt plants puts selective pressure on bollworm populations favoring worms with natural resistance to Bt. The resistant bollworms would thrive and spread the resistance trait, while the Bt-vulnerable bollworms die off. The plants in the refuge are non-Bt, so Bt-sensitive worms are supposed to thrive there; they are supposed to mate with the Bt-resistant worms and water down the resistance trait.

[2] Pinstrup-Andersen, P., and E. Schioler 2000 Seeds of Contention: World Hunger and the Global Controversy over GM Crops. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press; Fumento, M. 2003 BioEvolution: How Biotechnology is Changing Our World. San Francisco: Encounter Books.

Though Bt Brinjal banned, Bt Cotton still reaches Indian mouths

Though Bt Brinjal banned, Bt Cotton still reaches Indian mouths

 DNA | Feb 13, 2013, 05:47AM IST

 http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/GUJ-AHD-though-bt-brinjal-banned-bt-cotton-still-reaches-indian-mouths-4178649-NOR.html

Ahmedabad: The debate over genetically-modified (GM) crops has taken a nasty turn across the globe because a veteran anti-GM activist, Mark Lynas, has switched sides and is now campaigning in favour of the technology.
Indian consumers do not directly consume GM food as the government has not allowed such crops after Bt Brinjal debacle. But as Bt Cotton is present in the country, consumers are passively eating GM food through milk of an animal fed cottonseed meals and food cooked in cottonseed oil. Bt Cotton is not totally pesticide or insecticide-free. All mammals are indirectly vulnerable due to the pesticides used in cotton farming, say scientists.

The debate has gone public in the European Union as the European Commission’s Agriculture and Rural Development is conducting a survey. Noting that genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) are considered incompatible with organic farming, the survey asks participants whether they specifically buy organic products because they are “GMO-free”. It also asks whether consumers would put up with higher prices if it meant the accidental, low-level presence of GMOs in organic products was clearly labelled.

It should also be noted that though the direct use of Bt food is not allowed in the country, consumers are already exposed to their ill-effects indirectly because of the use of Bt cottonseed as edible oil. Of the total cottonseed production, 90% goes into expeller for production of cottonseed edible oil. What is left after the expeller process — the residue — goes as cottonseed meal which is a widely used as feed for animals.

“There is no doubt that use of pesticide has gone down after the use of transgenic variety but it is not completely free from pesticides. The number of sprays used to grow cotton has come down but it has not stopped attacks by sucking pests,” says Dr KR Kranthi of Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR).

Before the introduction of Bt Cotton, the fibre crop was susceptible to 162 varieties of pests and insects. In 1995, 54% of the total consumption of pesticide in the country was in cotton farming. The ratio had come down to 44% in 2001. After the introduction of two varieties of Bt Cotton seeds, the use of pesticide has further come down to 21%.

“Bt cotton does not need pesticides to protect the plant from bollworms pests. Bollworms were the key pests damaging 80% of the cotton losses in the country. Bt variety has an inbuilt mechanism to protect the plant from these pests. However, the problem of sucking pests is still there,” says agriculture scientist, Dr TL Dholaria.

According to various research studies, the total number of pesticide spray required for cotton has declined from 15 to 9 per crop season earlier.

“The number of spray needed has declined. It has also resulted in lowering the cost of farming. However, no one can claim that cotton farming has become completely pesticide free as farmers must continue to spray pesticide to control sucking pests,” said Dr Kranthi.

If one looks at the value chain of cotton farming, cotton seed is used for production of edible oil as well as cattle feed. Cottonseed is most widely used in cattle feed. These animals produce milk meant for human consumption. Consumption of cottonseed edible oil has also increased in the country.

“We all use milk and edible oil which may have some pesticides in it. As of now, we do not know the effects of this indirect consumption. However, we are also exposed to the consumption of hazardous chemicals used in manufacture of pesticides,” said Dr Dholaria.

“Insecticide costs as a proportion of total costs declined perceptibly in the post-Bt Cotton period, from 8.30% in 1996 to about 5.86% in 2008,” a study by Bhartiya Krishak Samaj and Council for Social Development concludes.

 

As Bt cotton acreage stagnates, seed firms eye food crops in big way

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/agri-biz/as-bt-cotton-acreage-stagnates-seed-firms-eye-food-crops-in-big-way/article4404547.ece

VISHWANATH KULKARNI

Seed diversification: Farmers are aggressively charting plans to scale up exposure to food crops hybrid, rice, corn and vegetables. (a file photo).
Business LineSeed diversification: Farmers are aggressively charting plans to scale up exposure to food crops hybrid, rice, corn and vegetables. (a file photo).

NEW DELHI, FEB 11:  

Stagnating acreage is prompting Bt cotton seed makers to diversify into food crops such as hybrid rice, corn and vegetables, where they see a big market potential.

Companies such as Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd and Rasi Seeds (Pvt) Ltd, which currently earn a major share of their revenues from Bt cotton seeds, are aggressively charting plans to scale up exposure to food crops.

“We are diversifying into hybrid rice, corn and vegetables in a big way,” said Arvind Kapur, Chief Executive Officer, Vegetables Seed Division, Rasi Seeds.

The Rs 500-crore firm, which currently has a small exposure to hybrid rice and corn, plans to scale up its breeding programme to introduce more hybrids. Rasi Seeds has partnered with Israeli firm, Evogene Ltd, to develop yield-enhancing and drought-tolerant rice varieties.

VEGETABLE HYBRIDS

Besides, Rasi has started breeding programmes in some 21 different vegetables to launch hybrids.

“We have enrolled 22 breeders to give a major push to our vegetables seeds business,” Kapur said. Similarly, the over Rs 1,000-crore Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd (NSL) is planning to scale up its presence in food crops such as corn, rice and vegetables.

Cotton currently accounts for around 80 per cent of NSL’s revenues. “In five years from now, we expect cotton seeds to contribute 60-65 per cent of our business,” said Ramesh Viswanathan, Chief Operating Officer, NSL.

Revenues from Bt cotton seeds have shrunk for NSL by about five per cent and the company attributed it to the decline in commodity prices.

VEGETABLE SEED

“Vegetables seed is the future growth engine,” said M. Prabhakar Rao, Chairman, NSL.

CORN SEED

The company has doubled its corn seed business from 5 to 10 per cent of its revenues in the past two years.

The hybrid rice currently accounts for six per cent of its revenues and vegetables about three per cent.

HYBRID RICE

Hybrid rice is also attracting the interest of both large multinationals such as Syngenta and smaller players such as the Bangalore-based Indo American Hybrid Seeds (India) Pvt Ltd. Currently, hybrid rice is planted in only about five per cent of the total rice acreage of 44 million ha, presenting a huge potential for the seed makers.

Indo American, which has a couple of hybrid rice varieties, is looking to introduce some three to four more, said Arthur Santosh Attavar, Managing Director. The company also expects to launch a Bt cotton variety in the kharif 2013 season.

Syngenta India is also evaluating about three to four more rice hybrids, said the company’s Vice-President Rajesh Jain.

The company currently has about four hybrid varieties in the Indian market, introduced some five years earlier.

The recent acquisition of Devgen could further boost Syngenta’s portfolio in the Indian market.

vishwanath.kulkarni@thehindu.co.in

AP to probe sucking pest attack on Bt cotton

OUR BUREAU

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 HYDERABAD, OCT. 14:

 

The Andhra Pradesh Government will probe the reported attack of sucking pests on Bt cotton in some parts of the State.

The Agriculture Minister Kanna Lakshminarayana has directed the officials to initiate a probe by the scientists of Acharya N.G. Ranga Agriculture University (ANGRAU) on the reported damage of Bt cotton crop due to the nagging sucking pests.

Reviewing the arrangements for the upcoming rabi season here on Friday evening, he said about 2.75 lakh quintals of groundnut seed would be distributed for the season.

The Agriculture Minister will hold a meeting with the Major Irrigation Minister P. Sudarshan Reddy on October 26 on the issue of releasing water for the standing kharif crops in the K C Canal and Krishna Delta areas. The farmers in these areas are demanding immediate release of water to rescue the crop in the absence of rains.

The Government would hold a 13-day campaign through out the State to popularise the Centrally-sponsored schemes and mechanisation in agriculture.

At the review meeting, the Minister had expressed his unhappiness over the poor mechanisation and on the slow progress in implementation of certain Central schemes.

kurmanath.kanchi@thehindu.co.in