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Cocoa prices increase as demand rises; Chocolates may become expensive

The demand and the price of domestically-produced cocoa are on the rise in India. As a result, the prices of chocolates could increase during the upcoming festive season. For a few years, Indian farmers have been struggling to produce high-quality cocoa, which has the potential to become an export product. P J Chackochan, cocoa farmer and exporter based in Wayanad, Kerala, said, “It has increased by Rs 40 vis-a-vis last year. But even after the creation of new demand, farmers may not benefit, because of the monopoly of the companies which buy cocoa from them.” “The production of cocoa on Indian farms...

Last Updated: Tuesday, 7th October, 2014 06:31 PM Visits 474

India expected to emerge biggest rice exporter in 2015

India may become the largest exporter of rice next year amid higher demand anticipated from African and Middle East countries and competitive prices. "In calendar year 2015, India should emerge as the largest exporter of rice — both basmati and non-basmati. From 4 million tonnes of annual export of non-basmati rice, we should be able to export 7 million tonnes," said BV Krishna Rao, managing director of Pattabhi Agro Foods, the country's biggest exporter of non-basmati rice. Rao said basmati and non-basmati rice exports should be 10-11 million tonnes, a level last seen in 2012. Surplus rice stockpiles in the country...

Last Updated: Tuesday, 7th October, 2014 03:28 PM Visits 730

Odisha approves plan for hybrid rice, maize seed production

The Odisha government plans to scale up hybrid rice and maize seed production in state under Rashtriya Krishi Vikash Yojna (RKVY) to boost productivity in the state. Cultivation of hybrid seeds is being done in Odisha for last few years under various state plans in small areas. This year the plan would be implemented under Union government’s RKVY scheme for the first time. The scheme would provide a chance for seed companies to produce hybrid seed in Odisha and the state government would provide subsidies to farmers taking part in the scheme. “Incentives provided to the seed growers is Rs 20,000 per hectare (ha) for paddy and Rs 15,000 per ha for maize,” the...

Last Updated: Tuesday, 7th October, 2014 03:27 PM Visits 1111

Govt plans to ease curbs on organic food export

The Union government would like to move towards lifting a ban on export of organic agricultural products and their derivatives. On the sidelines of the 4th National Conference on Organic Farming organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India on Tuesday, A K Tripathy, joint secretary, department of commerce and industries, said, “(We) are trying that there is never a ban on organic processed food export, even if the primary produce of that commodity is subjected to some restrictions.” While export of primary organic agricultural produce is allowed, there are restrictions on a host of other commodities, such a pulses and edible oils. The ban has been imposed primarily because of...

Last Updated: Tuesday, 7th October, 2014 03:26 PM Visits 429

Taking the RNAi route to disable genes, control pest attack on crops

Biotechnological firms, led by US-based Monsanto and Switzerland-based Syngenta, have come up with a new crop technology called ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi) that will help control insects and pests in a range of crops by disabling their genes. The technology, which zeroes in on a genetic sequence unique to a species, will also help protect bees, which are pollinators for one-third of crops in the world. RNA, considered a sort of messenger in cells, is a genetic code in every living being for a specific function within a cell for survival. RNAi, a discovery that got Nobel prize for Andrew Fire and Craig Mello in 2006, works by interfering with the genetic...

Last Updated: Tuesday, 7th October, 2014 03:25 PM Visits 371

Record output, acreage pull cotton prices to lowest levels this year

Cotton prices have fallen to the lowest levels in the current cotton year (October 2013-September 2014), at Rs 33,000-34,000 a candy (356 kg). The fall in prices are being attributed to several factors such as zero forwards on exports, record-high acreage as well as cotton production, along with dull demand from mills. According to sources, going forward, Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) might have to buy the commodity from cotton growers at minimum support prices (MSP), which works out to Rs 35,000 a candy for long staple and Rs 32,500 a candy for medium staple. In this, the lowest prices of the Shankar-6 variety of medium staple cotton is in Gujarat at Rs...

Last Updated: Tuesday, 7th October, 2014 03:25 PM Visits 389

Metahelix introduces new maize hybrid seeds

Metahelix Life Sciences, a Tata Group enterprise, has launched new variety of maize hybrid seeds for improved productivity. After years of research, Metahelix has developed a technology to accommodate a larger number of plants in each acre. The new hybrid MM 2100 has plant structure with upright leaves that allows higher growth and the cob size does not get reduced due to less gap between plants. SP Rao, Chief Operating Officer of Metahelix Life Sciences Limited, said, “By cultivating at spacing of 9 inches between plants and 18 inches in rows, the hybrid can accommodate up to 40,000 plants per...

Last Updated: Sunday, 5th October, 2014 03:24 PM Visits 600

Exports of 8 in 13 key agri products enter negative zone

Exports of several agriculture products including rice, spices and tobacco have registered negative growth in August mainly due to decline in prices in the global commodity market. Tea, coffee, cereals, cashew and oil meals too recorded negative growth during the month. In all, 8 out of 13 main agriculture products that are closely monitored by the Commerce Ministry, were in the negative zone. "Prices of agri-produce in the global market is generally depressed due to over supply. But, on the other hand, prices here are much above the global prices making domestic market a better option than exports," said Ajay Sahai, DG &...

Last Updated: Sunday, 5th October, 2014 03:24 PM Visits 347