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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 492

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 475

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 760

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 446

A game changer in crop hybridisation, genetics

A fully computerized machine which can chip seeds of crops such as maize, soyabean, cotton, wheat is changing the game of genetics and hybridisation globally. The machine, called seed chipper and aided by robots, is helping to examine the genetical make-up of crops in a shorter period of time that it is resulting in seed and bio-technology companies to come up with new seed varieties at a faster clip. Modus operandi This is how the chipper works: seeds taken from plants are poured into a funnel in the machine, which are then passed through a computer to find out the exact location of...

Last Updated: Wednesday, 1st October, 2014 03:24 PM Visits 501

MoFPI receives 25 international queries on help desk credited to Badal

One of the initiatives credited to minister for food processing industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal was the creation of a help desk in the ministry to handle international queries. As soon as it was launched, it received 25 queries from international players interested in investing in the sector. It is expected to be a one-stop solution for investors. The minister was in Gujarat recently to address the food processing industry at the sixth international summit on food processing, agri-business and dairy, organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). The meet attended by researchers, technopreneurs, entrepreneurs, leading players, investors...

Last Updated: Wednesday, 1st October, 2014 04:06 PM Visits 495

Cargill to invest Rs 500 crore to open corn milling unit in Davanagere

Cargill India plans to increase its footprint by investing Rs 500 crore to set up a corn milling plant on a 44.5 acre-plot in Davanagere, Karnataka. The unit, which is currently under construction, would be commissioned by the end of the second quarter of 2015. The announcement was made by Siraj Chaudhary, chairman, Cargill India, at an event organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in Mumbai recently. The processing plant, which has an annual capacity of three lakh tonnes, would produce modified starch for the processed food and pharmaceutical industries, predominately based in central and southern...

Last Updated: Wednesday, 1st October, 2014 04:05 PM Visits 860

Karnataka moves to increase agricultural yield

Agriculture Minister Krishna Byregowda has said that the government will open 186 customised centres in the state to enhance yield and overcome the shortage of agriculture labourer. Through these centres, the government will rent out heavy machinery to farmers on a rental basis. He said this at the opening of the Krishi Mela at the University of Agricultural Science in Dharwad on Sunday. Each centre would get a financial aid of Rs 75 lakh to purchase farm equipment and rent them out to farmers. The state has earmarked Rs 70 crore for this project. Today, a shortage of agriculture labourers has affected...

Last Updated: Wednesday, 1st October, 2014 04:05 PM Visits 515