Land Reforms and Agriculture Current Affairs Compilation – 2022 | UPSC IAS Prelims 2022 Material | Part – 2

Dear Friends,

This post is 2nd part of our current affairs series for the UPSC IAS Prelims 2022. In this post, we have covered all of the Land Reforms and Agriculture Current Affairs from September, October 2021, and April 2022.

To Read Other Current Affairs Compilations for UPSC Prelims 2022– Click here

Nutri Gardens

News

The Union Minister for Women and Child Development has inaugurated NUTRI GARDEN to mark the beginning of Poshan Maah – 2021 at the All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA). 

About Nutri Gardens

Nutri kitchen garden/Nutri garden is a method of planting and harvesting nutrient-rich crops in residential houses or in their vicinity to meet the requirements of the family all year round.

In urban areas, Nutri kitchen gardening can be promoted in the form of rooftop gardening, terrace gardening, vertical gardening and container gardening.

In rural areas, Nutri kitchen gardens can be promoted in the backyard of the houses.

Benefits: It increases the availability of food and nutrient sources. It can act as a source of supplementary income. The crops harvested are Fresh and Safe (chemical-free).


Folk rice varieties

News

As per a recent study, 12 folk varieties of Indian rice can supplement the nutritional demand of important fatty acids in undernourished mothers.

These can further supplement the arachidonic acid (ARA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in neonates through breast-feeding. DHA and ARA are fatty acids found in breast milk, as well as in some foods, like fish and eggs.

The study looked at the nutritionally important fatty acids (FA) in 94 indigenous rice landraces / varieties of India, which are at the risk of disappearing. They are cultivated by a few marginal farmers.

Advantages of the folk rice varieties

Firstly, these rice varieties are cost-effective and reliable than marketed formula foods. They can add essential FAs in the staple diet and provide for FA requirement in the normal brain development in infants. Fatty acids help in meeting daily nutrition.

Secondly, seven rice varieties of North East India — Meghalaya lakang, Chingphourel, Manuikhamei, Kemenyakepeyu, Wainem, Thekrulha, and Koyajang — have the potential to resist leaf and neck blast disease in rice plants.

Thirdly, in India, many folk varieties like Athikaraya, Dudh-sar, Kayame, Neelam samba, Srihati, Maharaji and Bhejri are known in folk medicine to enhance milk production in lactating women. Other traditional varieties like Kelas, DudheBolta and Bhutmoori are rich in iron and can be included in diet of mothers to treat anaemia.

About the present status of folk rice varieties

India was home to 200,000 varieties of rice. They are currently at the risk of disappearing as they are being cultivated by a few marginal farmers.

High-yield hybrids have pushed out indigenous rice varieties and many of these varieties, called landraces are nearing extinction in India.  For example, Bindli and Kalanamak rice varieties in Uttar Pradesh.


Pearl Farming

News

TRIFED (Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India) has signed an agreement with the Jharkhand-based Purty Agrotech for the promotion of pearl farming in tribal areas.

About Pearls

Pearls are the only gemstones in the world that come from a living creature. Mollusks such as oysters and mussels produce pearls that people have adored since ancient times.

Process of Pearl Framing

In Pearl Farming, a round foreign body, sand or small stone, will be injected into the live mussel. In order to protect itself from the foreign body, the mussel secrets calcium carbonate and cover it fully layer by layer. This later transforms into a pearl.

Advantages of Pearl Farming

Alternate Source of Income for Farmers: The income of farmers in India is usually dependent on external factors like climate and this dependence often leads to their losses but on the other hand, Pearl farming is totally independent of these factors and gives one a high amount of profit.

Employment Generation: Pearl Farming also promises a tremendous employment generation for youngsters that play an important role in socio-economic development.

Eco-Friendly Technique: Pearl farming is an eco-friendly technique. Filter feeder oysters also purify the water. A single oyster clears over 15 gallons of water a day, retaining particles as small as 2 microns.


Judima – Rice wine

News

Judima has been awarded the geographical indication (GI) tag.

About Judima

Judima is a rice wine made from sticky rice (glutinous rice called Bora) which is steamed and mixed with traditional herbs called Thembra (Acacia pennata).

The wine is a speciality of the Dimasa tribe of the state (Assam) and has a distinct sweet taste and takes around one week to prepare, and it can be stored for years.

Significance of the recognition

Judima is the first beverage from the northeast to earn the GI Tag.

Moreover, the GI tag for Judima came 14 years after the ginger of the adjoining Karbi Anglong district received its geographical indication.


Nutri 35 different crop varieties with special traits

News

The Prime Minister has launched 35 different crop varieties with special traits.

About the Crop Varieties Launched

These Crop Varieties have been developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to address the twin challenges of climate change and malnutrition.

Some of the crop varieties launched include a drought-tolerant variety of chickpea, wilt and sterility mosaic resistant pigeon pea, early maturing variety of soybean, biofortified varieties of wheat, pearl millet, maize and chickpea, quinoa, buckwheat, winged bean and faba bean.

These special traits of crop varieties also include those that address the anti-nutritional factors found in some crops that adversely affect human and animal health.

Other varieties launched

ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) has developed the country’s first-ever non-GM (genetically modified) herbicide-tolerant rice varieties named Pusa Basmati 1979 and Pusa Basmati 1985.

These varieties contain a mutated acetolactate synthase (ALS) gene making it possible for farmers to spray Imazethapyr, a broad-spectrum herbicide, to control weeds.

Hence, this dispenses with the need to prepare nurseries where paddy seeds are first raised into young plants, before being uprooted and replanted 25-35 days later in the main field. This will also significantly save water and labour costs compared to conventional transplanting.


Naga Cucumber

News

Nagaland’s “sweet cucumber” was awarded a geographical identification (GI) tag as an agricultural product under provisions of The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.

About Naga Cucumber

Naga Cucumbers

Cucumber is one of the most important crops in the Northeast region. Nagaland ranks as the 5th in area and 3rd in production of cucumbers in the North East.

Naga Cucumber has been traditionally cultivated by Naga farmers in their Jhum fields as a mixed crop, mainly during the Kharif season (April –May).

Moreover, Cucumber is also one of the most awaited fruit for Konyak tribe every year. It is called “Maikoh” which literally means “give (Koh) to beloved (mai)”.

Speciality of Naga Cucumber

Naga cucumber is recognised for its sweetness and unique green colour.

Naga cucumbers are juicy, soft, and sweet. They are grown completely organically.

Naga cucumbers differ in taste, shape and sizes from those available in other parts of India.

They are low in calories but high in potassium and contain a high level of water and can serve as an alternative to consuming sports drinks.


New rice varieties developed

News

Scientists at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Manila have come up with new DSR rice varieties.

About the new rice varieties developed

Rice-growing is resource-intensive as it covers 11% of the Earth’s arable land and consumes one-third of irrigation water. Moreover, paddy farming is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Hence, DSR method of rice cultivation is being incentivized.

But, the Direct Seeded Method (DSR) despite being eco-friendly has not witnessed large scale adoption due to complaints of low yields and increased susceptibility to pests.

Hence, scientists at IRRI developed new varieties which not only give higher yields than the traditional puddling method but are also resistant to pests.

Key features of the new varieties being developed

The new varieties have the following features:

– The crop takes less time to mature, giving farmers ample time to do residue management. Hence, these varieties can address the problem of stubble management.

– Higher yield: These varieties not only germinate quickly in extreme dry conditions but also give a yield of around 4-5.5 tonnes per hectare. If the same variety is grown through puddling, the yield level goes up even further to almost seven tonnes per hectare, researchers claim.


Sunflower

News

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare is focused on promoting the area and production of Sunflower in the country.

About Sunflower

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) is an important oilseed crop in India, popularly known as “Surajmukhi.” It is known as a sunflower as it follows the sun by day, always turning towards its direct rays.

Sunflower is a major source of vegetable oil in the world. It is used for a variety of cooking purposes. Sunflower seed contains about 48 – 53% edible oil.

Largest  Producer of Sunflower in the World: Ukraine is the largest producer of sunflower. (Ukraine and Russia together account for about 60% of the global sunflower oil production and exports).

The Sunflower Production States in India: In India, Sunflower is grown mainly in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana.

India’s Sunflower Oil Imports Dependence

Sunflower oil accounts for 10-12%  of India’s total 220-230 lakh tonnes of annual domestic demand for cooking oils.

As much as 90% of India’s sunflower oil requirement comes from Ukraine (70%) and Russia (20%).

However, supply disruptions caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict would result in a supply shortfall of at least 4-6 lakh tonnes of crude sunflower oil for India next fiscal and impact the production of domestic edible oil processors.


PBW1Chapati

News

Researchers from Punjab Agricultural University have developed a new wheat variety named  ‘PBW1Chapati.

Reason for developing PBW1Chapati

Chapati is a flat-baked product prepared from wheat. It forms a cheap, primary source of protein and calories and is the staple diet in Northern Western India.

The desired quality characteristics for chapati are greater pliability, puffability, soft texture and light creamish brown color, and slight chewiness with baked wheat aroma.

Tall traditional wheat variety C 306 has been the golden standard for chapati quality. Later, PBW 175 variety was developed. However, both these have become susceptible to stripe and brown rusts.

The challenge now was to combine high yield potential and disease resistance and retain the actual chapati quality.

Taking up this challenge, Punjab Agricultural University has developed PBW1Chapati.

PBW1Chapati has a good chapati quality, sweet in taste, and soft in texture. The color of the chapati is also comparably white, and it remains soft even after hours of baking.


Vertical Farming

News

According to experts, all crops grown via vertical farming methods are usually over 95 percent water efficient.

Background and Concept of Vertical Farming

In 1915, Gilbert Ellis Bailey coined the term “vertical farming” and wrote a book titled “Vertical Farming”.

In the 1980s, Åke Olsson, a Swedish ecological farmer, invented a spiral-shaped rail system for growing plants and suggested vertical farming as a means for producing vegetables in cities.

The modern concept of vertical farming was proposed in 1999 by Professor Dickson Despommier.

About Vertical Farming

Instead of horizontally on the ground like traditional farming, vertical farming grows crops in vertical, stacked layers without putting too much impact on land and water resources which are scarce.

Vertical farming systems like aeroponics and hydroponics come under the broad umbrella ambit of ‘protected cultivation’ where one can control and regulate multiple variables like water, soil, temperature, humidity and so on.

Different types of Vertical Farming

Hydroponics: It involves growing plants in nutrient solutions that are free of soil. The plant roots are submerged in the nutrient solution which is frequently monitored and circulated to ensure that the correct chemical composition is maintained.

Aeroponics: In this, plants are grown in an environment where air with very little water or mist and without soil is used.

In this system, the plant roots are suspended in the air. So, the roots are nourished by misting the root zones with a nutrient solution on a continual basis by using a fine sprayer to ensure that the roots get sufficient oxygen.

Aquaponics: The term aquaponics is coined by combining two words: aquaculture, which refers to fish farming, and hydroponics—the technique of growing plants without soil, to create symbiotic relationships between the plants and the fish.

In this system, fish are grown in indoor ponds producing nutrient-rich waste that is used as a feed source for the plants in the vertical farm. The plants, in turn, filter and purify the wastewater, which is recycled to the fishponds.


Trend of Food Prices

News

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Food prices have increased by almost 75% since mid-2020.

About the trend of Food Prices worldwide

Food prices are increasing at an unprecedented rate worldwide.

For instance, the FAO World food price Index averaged 159.3 points in March 2022 breaking an earlier record of 137.6 points scaled 11 years ago in February 2011.

In India, rural consumer food prices have doubled in the year through March 2022.

Reason for High Food Prices: Two years of COVID-19 pandemic-induced disruption and the Russia-Ukraine war.

About the impact of High Food Prices

Impact on Food Relief Operations: The World Food Program(WFP) currently running one of its most expensive food relief operations has made a desperate appeal for further funding. This is because due to food inflation, FAO is paying $71 million (Rs 5.4 lakh crore) more per month now for the same operation level.

Impact on Poverty: The World Bank has warned that each percentage point increase in food prices would push an additional 10 million people into extreme poverty.

Impact on poor and developing countries: The impact of food inflation is impacting the world’s poor and developing countries the most. This is because most of these countries are also food importers. For instance, some 50 countries, mostly poor countries, depend on Ukraine and Russia for wheat, a staple grain.


Lemons

News

Over the last few weeks, the price of lemon has touched unprecedented highs, with a single lemon selling between Rs 10 and Rs 15 in most markets.

About Lemon(Nimbu)

In India, Nimbu comes under two broad categories: lemon and lime. The small, round and thin-skinned kaagzi is the most commonly grown variety in the country. On the other hand, Lime refers to the dark green fruits that are grown commercially in North India and the Northeast.

Suitable Climate: A warm, moderately dry and moist climate is the most suitable for the lemon.

The method used for planting: Plants are grown through grafting, with the Nagpur-headquartered ICAR Central Citrus Research Institute(CCRI) and various state agricultural institutes maintaining quality rootstocks.

– Note: Grafting is the act of placing a portion of one plant (bud or scion) into or on a stem, root, or branch of another (stock) in such a way that a union will be formed, and the partners will continue to grow.

Lemon Production in India: Annually, India produces over 37 lakh tonnes of lemon which is consumed domestically. The fruit is neither exported nor imported.

Lemon Growing State: Andhra Pradesh is the largest lemon-growing state, with 45,000 hectares under the fruit. Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha and Tamil Nadu are the other major lemon-growing states.

Lemon Fruit Cycle: Farmers supply the fruit round the year by inducing flowering through what is known as the ‘bahar treatment’.

– In bahar treatment, farmers withhold irrigation and spray chemicals, prune the orchards and then resume fertilizer treatment and irrigation which subsequently leads to flowering and thus to fruit formation.

– Lemon growers take three bahars in a year — known as Ambe, Mrig and Hasta and named based on the season when the flowering is induced. These bahars overlap, and thus farmers have fruit around the year to market.

Reason for high prices of Lemon

Exceptionally Heavy Rains: There was exceptionally heavy rain during the months of September and October. Lemon orchards are extremely sensitive to excess moisture and thus, due to the heavy rainfall, the bahar treatment failed and flowering did not happen.

Soaring Temperatures: Since the end of February, soaring temperatures have hit the crop, causing the younger fruits to drop off.

High Demand: In the summer months, lemons are already in high demand, owing to which there is already a rise in prices.

Hike in Petrol and Diesel prices: The hike in petrol, diesel and CNG prices has resulted in increased transportation costs which have been one of the main factors for price rise.


Sensor-Based Irrigation System

News

A sensor-based irrigation system using bank filtration technology and controlled via Web/Mobile app has been installed at Sal River near Navelim and Nauta lake at Cortalim, Goa.

About the Sensor-Based Irrigation System developed

Developed by: The Energy and Resources Institute(TERI) in collaboration with the National Institute of Technology(NIT), Goa has developed a Sensor-based irrigation system with the support of the Department of Science and Technology’s(DST) Water Technology Initiative.

Technology Used: This irrigation system uses River Bank Filtration(RBF) technology for providing contamination-free water to farmers.

– RBF operates by extracting water from wells located near rivers or lakes. As the river water infiltrates into and passes through the riverbed sediments, contaminants like bacteria and toxic metals are removed by overlapping biological, physical, and chemical processes.

Controlled via Mobile/Web App: The system is controlled by a mobile app in a manner that the moisture level provided by the sensors starts the water motor only when there is an actual need for water and turns it off when the moisture level reaches the maximum value.

– This process prevents water erosion and maintains the soil quality throughout the field. The system has also saved time, especially for the daily wage farmers, giving them freedom and flexibility to sell their harvest in the market.

About the Water Technology Initiative

Launched by: the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in 2007

Aim: To promote R&D activities aimed at providing safe drinking water at affordable cost and in adequate quantity using appropriate Science and Technology interventions evolved through indigenous efforts.


Wheat

News

Egypt has approved India as a wheat supplier. This comes amid a sharp dip in global wheat production, largely because of the Russia-Ukraine war.

About Wheat

Wheat is a Rabi Crop. It is the second most important cereal crop in India after rice. It is mostly consumed in the north and north-west parts of the country.

Suitable Climate: It is grown at a temperature of  10-15 °C (Sowing time) and 21-26 °C (Ripening & Harvesting) with bright sunlight. It requires a rainfall of 75 to 100 cm.

Major wheat growing states in India are Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Gujarat.

About Wheat Export and import

Russia and Ukraine accounted for nearly one-third of global wheat exports.

Egypt is the world’s biggest importer of wheat.

India in Wheat Exports: India is the second-largest producer of wheat, with a share of around 14.14% of the world’s total production in 2020.

The top countries importing Indian wheat in 2020-21 were Bangladesh, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka.

India accounts for less than 1% of the world’s wheat export. However, its share has increased from 0.14% in 2016 to 0.54% in 2020.

India has a target to export nearly 10 million tonnes of wheat in FY23 to bridge the supply gaps arising from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.


Parboiled Rice

News

Telangana Chief Minister has staged a dharna demanding a uniform paddy procurement policy. This protest came after the Center said it was stopping the purchase of excess Parboiled Rice of which Telangana is a major producer.

About Parboiled Rice
Paraboiled Rice
Source: Indian Express

The dictionary meaning of ‘parboil’ is ‘partly cooked by boiling’. Thus, the expression parboiled rice refers to rice that has been partially boiled at the paddy stage before milling.

Parboiling of rice is not a new practice and has been followed in India since ancient times.

However, there is no specific definition of parboiled rice by the Food Corporation of India or the Food Ministry.

Rice varieties suitable for parboiling

Generally, all varieties can be processed into parboiled rice, but it is ideal to use long slender varieties to prevent breakage during milling. However, aromatic varieties should not be parboiled because the process can make them lose their aroma.

About the demand for Parboiled Rice

The Food Ministry pegs the parboiled rice demand at 20 LMT per annum for distribution under the National Food Security Act, 2013.

However, the demand for parboiled rice from Telangana has come down in recent years as the production in parboiled rice-consuming states such as Jharkhand, Kerala and Tamil Nadu has increased.

Benefits and disadvantages of parboiled rice

Benefits of Parboiled Rice: 1) Parboiling makes rice tougher. This reduces the chances of the rice kernel breaking during milling, 2) Parboiling increases the nutrient value of the rice, 3) Parboiled rice has a higher resistance to insects and fungi and 4) Loss of B-vitamins is less in parboiled rice compared to that in raw rice.

Disadvantages of Parboiled Rice: a) The rice becomes darker and may smell unpleasant due to prolonged soaking, b) Parboiled rice takes more time to cook to the same degree of softness than raw rice and c) Setting up a parboiling rice milling unit requires a higher investment than a raw rice milling unit.


Exports of Non-Basmati Rice

News

As per Government data, India’s non-basmati rice exports witnessed a significant growth of 109% from USD 2925 million in FY 2013-14 to USD 6115 million in FY 2021-22.

The recent trend in the exports of Non-Basmati Rice
Non-Basmati Rice
Source: PIB

Any rice other than Basmati Rice is named as Non- Basmati rice.

India registered a growth of 27% in export of non-basmati rice in 2021-22.

In 2021-22, the export of non-basmati rice was the top forex earner among all agri-commodities.

West African country Benin is one of the major importers of non-basmati rice from India. Other destinations include Nepal, Bangladesh, China, Côte D’ Ivoire, UAE among others.

About Rice

In India, Rice is the staple food crop of a majority of the people.

It is a Kharif crop that requires high temperature (above 25°C) and high humidity with annual rainfall above 100 cm. In the areas of less rainfall, it grows with the help of irrigation.

India is the second-largest producer of rice in the world after China.

The major rice-producing states are West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Assam, and Haryana.


Historic high India’s Agriculture Exports

News

India’s exports of agricultural products  (including marine and plantation products) for the year 2021-22 have crossed $50 billion.

About India’s Agriculture Exports
Agri Exports
Source: Financial Express

Agriculture exports have grown by 19.92% during 2021-22 to touch $50.21 billion. This is the highest level ever achieved for agriculture exports.

This export growth has been achieved mostly because of a surge in shipments of rice, wheat, marine products, sugar, buffalo meat, and raw cotton. For instance,

-Wheat has recorded an unprecedented growth of more than 273%.

-In Rice, India has captured nearly 50% of the world rice market.

-The export of marine products is also the highest ever benefiting farmers in the coastal states.

-Spices exports have also touched USD 4 billion for the second year in a row.

-Moreover, despite facing tremendous supply-side issues, coffee exports have crossed USD 1 billion for the first time.

Reasons behind increasing Agriculture exports

The surge in Agri exports has been achieved because of sustained efforts of the Department of Commerce and its various export promotion agencies like APEDA, MPEDA, and various commodity boards.

For example, Farmer Connect Portal has been set up to provide a platform for farmers, FPOs/FPCs, and cooperatives to interact with exporters. This approach has resulted in agriculture exports taking place from hitherto unexplored areas.

Exports have also taken place from clusters like Varanasi (fresh vegetables, mangoes), Anantapur (banana), Nagpur (orange), Lucknow (mango), Theni (banana), Solapur (pomegranate), Krishna & Chittoor (mango).

Initiatives like the ‘Happy Banana’ train, an exclusive train with reefer containers to transport bananas from Anantapur to JNPT, Mumbai have also been taken to boost exports from unconventional areas.


Kamdhenu Deepawali campaign

News

Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying has launched a Kamdhenu Deepawali campaign to promote Cow Entrepreneurship and Cow-based Panchgavya products.

About the Kamdhenu Deepawali campaign

The campaign aims to make cows economically useful by proper economical use of Cow Dung and Cow Urine too along with its Milk, Curd, and Ghee.

The campaign was launched to manufacture and market more than 100 Crore Cow dung-based products, such as Deepak lamps and Laxmi-Ganesh Idols.

More than 300 items are getting made by Panchgavya by using cow-based products. This includes Deepawali items too like – Deepak, Lamps, Candles, Sambrani cup, Dhoopbatti, incense sticks, Hardboard, and Wall piece.

NoteRashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog has provided training along with many Volunteer organizations across India. This gave rise to a large number of Cow dung-based Start-Ups.

Benefits of the Kamdhenu Deepawali campaign

Cow Entrepreneurs across India will get benefitted from this campaign.

The Gomaya lamps made by Cow Entrepreneurs and Cow owners will save the environment by providing eco-friendly alternatives to chemical-based Chinese lights.

About Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog

It is an agency working under the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying of Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying. It was established to protect cows.

The agency organises animal husbandry on scientific & modern lines. It also takes steps to preserve & improve breeds, as well as prohibit the slaughter of cows & calves. The agency also functions as an integral part of Rashtriya Gokul Mission.

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