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India, Singapore agree to make knowledge, skill development key pillar of strategic partnership.

May 30, 2023

India and Singapore on Monday agreed to create opportunities for lifelong learning, building a future-ready workforce, and making knowledge and skill development a key pillar of strategic partnership, according to the Ministry of Education. Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan is on a three-day visit to Singapore to strengthen existing ties and to explore the possibility of widening the scope of bilateral engagement in education and skill development.
 
Pradhan met various key ministers of the Singapore Government and visited Spectra Secondary School on Monday.
 
'Pradhan had a constructive meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Singapore, Lawrence Wong on strengthening the existing cooperation between India and Singapore with a focus on deepening engagements in skill development,' the ministry said in a statement.
 
'During the meeting, it was agreed to work together, aiming to create opportunities for lifelong learning, building a future-ready workforce, and making knowledge and skill development a key pillar of strategic partnership,' it added.
 
Later in the day, Pradhan visited Spectra Secondary School and interacted with the students as well as teachers to know more about the teaching-learning environment and pedagogy, among others.
 
'Pradhan had an insightful discussion with Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong. The ministers had fruitful conversations on strengthening our skill development and vocational training linkages through all mechanisms for creating a seamless architecture for skilling and lifelong learning.
 
'Building on the outcomes of the G20 Future of Work workshop in Bhubaneswar, they also discussed ways in which India can leverage the expertise and knowledge of Singapore for addressing common challenges and transforming the Indian skills ecosystem,' the ministry said.
 
It also said the education minister had the opportunity to have a greater overview of the best practices and models being followed in Singapore for the training of the workforce.
 
'Both the ministers agreed to advance mutual priorities in skilling, create new opportunities for lifelong learning and collaborate together for the benefit of our countries as well as other emerging economies,' the ministry added.
    
Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com



Rice exports to certain European countries exempted from mandatory inspection certificate for 6 months.

May 30, 2023

India on Monday deferred the mandatory requirement of a certificate of inspection by export inspection agencies for shipping both basmati and non-basmati rice to certain European countries by six months. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said that it is amending a notification dated August 17, 2022, to the extent that export of rice (basmati and non-basmati) to EU member states and other European countries namely Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and UK 'only' will require certificate of inspection from Export Inspection Council/Export Inspection Agency.
 
'Export to remaining European countries will not require a certificate of inspection by the Export Inspection Council/Export Inspection Agency for export from the date of this notification for a period of six months,' the DGFT said.
 
It was earlier stated by the directorate to make the certificate must for export to these countries from January this year.
 
EIC is the official export certification body of India which ensures quality and safety of products exported from India.
    
Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com



Indian delegation participates in 47th session of Codex Committee on Food Labelling.

May 30, 2023

An Indian delegation, led by Dr Harinder Singh Oberoi, Advisor (Science & Standards, Codex), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), took part in the 47th session of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling held from May 15 to 19, 2023, in Gatineau (Ottawa), Québec, Canada.  
 
The delegation participated in various discussions at the global meet that saw the participation of delegates from 59 countries and 23 International Government and Non-Governmental Organisations, including representatives from WHO and FAO.
 
The issues that were discussed at the session included standards related to food labelling norms, use of new technologies in labelling, labelling of food allergens, labelling for e-commerce. Further, India has been made the co-chair in two E-working groups (EWGs) on labelling for E-commerce and the use of new technology in labelling.   
 
The Indian delegation also included Ajith Kumar, Assistant Commissioner, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying; Dr Aditya Jain, Senior Manager, National Dairy Development Board; and Dr Heena Yadav, Technical Officer, FSSAI; which brought diverse expertise on the table.  
 
During their visit, the team also met Sanjay Kumar Verma, High Commissioner of India to Canada, and a discussion took place on wide issues ranging from harmonisation with the Codex standards to import and export of food items, with an emphasis on the export of traditional food products, keeping in mind the sizeable and growing Indian population in Canada.
 
Verma stated that he is likely to meet the President of CFIA soon to discuss the mutual recognition of food certification system to improve the export of Indian food products to Canada.  
 
During the visit, Dr Oberoi also met Dr Harpreet Kochhar, President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and discussed about signing of MoU between FSSAI and CFIA. During his meeting with Dr Kochhar, Dr Oberoi also emphasised on the mutual recognition of few of the Food Testing Laboratories in India and Canada for facilitating trade of food products.
 
The Indian delegation also got an opportunity to have a detailed discussion with the officials of CFIA on the labelling of food allergens, use of technology in labelling, and visited the Food Emergency Response Centre and a Food Testing Laboratory in Ottawa, Canada. Previously, India has signed an MoU with Canada for the mutual recognition of food labs in both the countries.  
 
During the visit, Dr Oberoi also visited the Ontario Food Terminal at Toronto to get an insight into the inspection system for imported fresh fruits and vegetables.
    
Source: fnbnews.com



India's mango exports to USA double this year.

May 30, 2023

Mango exports to USA from India have witnessed unprecedented success in 2023. Experts remarked that the presence of a substantial Indian diaspora, numbering 4.7 million strong, has been the primary driving force behind the surge in demand for Indian mango varieties in the North American country.
 
Favourable weather conditions and an early start to the mango season in India have played a pivotal role in the abundance and quality of this year's crop.
 
With optimal growing conditions, Indian mango producers have experienced a bountiful harvest, providing an ample supply to meet the surging demand in USA. The current season is projected to double the volume achieved in 2022, marking a remarkable milestone for the Indian mango industry.
 
Kaushal Khakhar, CEO, Kay Bee Exports, highlighted the global demand for Indian mangoes, particularly in countries with a large Indian-origin population. He mentioned the United Kingdom as another example, where 70% of the total Indian population in Europe resides. Programmes have been established with major retailers in the UK to supply mangoes throughout the three-month season. Furthermore, he mentioned Japan as a country focused on the aesthetic appearance of fresh produce, where Indian mangoes have seen success for the past two seasons.
 
'With the demand for Indian mangoes on the rise, the volume of mangoes exported is expected to exceed 2,000 tonne this year, doubling the previous year's volume. The quality of fruits available is also excellent, thanks to high temperatures experienced since February. The season started a couple of weeks early in mid-March and is expected to last until the second half of June. To meet the growing demand in USA, a fourth irradiation facility has opened in Gujarat, adding to the existing facilities in Maharashtra and Karnataka. These strategically located facilities near mango-growing regions and international airports facilitate quick shipping of the fruits after treatment,' he added.
 
One of the defining characteristics of Indian mangoes is their exclusive air-freighted transportation, which meticulously preserves their aromatic essence and unparalleled freshness during transit.
    
Source: fnbnews.com



52% of cultivated land has access to irrigation for first time: Niti Aayog.

May 30, 2023

For the first time, more than half of India’s cultivated land now has access to assured irrigation led by an expansion in micro projects, which have higher water-use efficiency, official data for 2022-23 show.
 
In 2022-23, of the 141 million hectares of gross sown area in the country, nearly 73 million hectares, or 52%, had irrigation access, up from 41% in 2016, according to updated data from Niti Aayog, the state-run think-tank.
 
The increase in irrigation cover, especially in dryland agricultural zones of states, such as Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, will help mitigate the increasing impacts of drier summers and patchy monsoons that are partly linked to the climate crisis, analysts say.
 
Agriculture accounts for nearly 80% of the country’s annual available water use, or 700 billion cubic metres. The June-September monsoon, vital for the world’s fifth largest economy, still waters much of the kharif or summer-sown crops.
 
When the monsoon is poor, farm incomes take a hit. Its effects ripple into the broader economy because rural demand is key to the country’s economic growth. For instance, rural customers account for nearly half of all two-wheelers sales in a year.
 
Global warming has made the rain-bearing system more erratic, with too much rain in a short period or too little, according to Roxy Mathew Koll, a scientist with the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.
 
A micro-irrigation fund (MIF) with corpus of Rs.5000 crore was created with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) during 2018-19 to help states mobilise resources. Under the fund, central assistance worth Rs.12,696 crore has been released to states, of which Rs.11,845 crore was utilized till the last financial year.
 
The increase in irrigation cover since 2017-18 was driven by six programmes and projects, according to data seen by HT. These are the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) and the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), under which Rs.11,505 crore was released between 2017-18 and 2021-23; Har Khet Ko Paani-Surface Minor Irrigation ( Rs.4,000 crore); PMKSY-groundwater projects ( Rs.787 crore); special package for Maharashtra ( Rs.1,988 crore); Rajasthan and Srihind feeder ( Rs.300 crore) and Shahpur-Kandi project ( Rs.298 crore). In Madhya Pradesh, 21 prioritised irrigation projects have been identified under PMKSY-AIBP. Out these, 17 projects have been completed, increasing the state’s irrigation cover by 16%.
 
Of the total irrigation-infrastructure expansion, micro irrigation facilities through sprinklers and drip systems were installed in 8 million hectares. Out of the total irrigated area in the country, 40% is currently watered through canal networks, while 60% through groundwater, which in several states has plunged to severely depleted levels, the data show.
 
'There’s much more to do. The total potential for micro-irrigation in the country is estimated to be 60 million hectares. Conventional surface irrigation provides only 60% efficiency but drip irrigation has nearly 90% efficiency,' said SK Jayashankar, an expert with the Watershed India Trust.
 
The country can create irrigation potential in about 60% of its arable land and 40% of the cultivable area will remain dependent on rains because it is not possible to create irrigation networks in certain regions due to hydrological and geographical reasons, according to a document of the Jal Shakti ministry.
    
Source: hindustantimes.com



Cheers Made-in-UP bottled liquor exports witness 20% hike.

May 30, 2023

Extremely popular within the country, made-in-UP alcohol seems to be doing brisk business in the overseas market as well. The demand for bottled liquor that is exported out of the state to foreign destinations has grown significantly during the 2022-23 fiscal year.
 
The provisional figures released by the excise department (demand between April 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022) established at least 23% increased demand for UP-based liquor brands compared to the previous fiscal year.
 
While during the 2021-22 fiscal year, a total of 7.74 lakh cases of alcoholic beverages were sold abroad, during the nine-month period of the FY 2022-23, UP has already exported 9.48 lakh cases. The sale volume for the last quarter (January to March of 2023) is yet to be compiled and the final figures are expected to be much higher.
 
Only Mohan Meakin & Radico Khaitan create demand globally
 
Though UP is home to about more than two dozen different IMFL (India made foreign liquor) companies, only Mohan Meakin and Radico Khaitan have been able to create demand for their brands internationally. Officials said that the dark rum produced by Mohan Meakin in Ghaziabad continues to be the hot seller internationally. 'Of late, the demand for Indian single malt and craft gin has also picked up. The two premium products are produced in Rampur by Radico Khaitan,' said a senior officer from the department.
 
The two companies have been recording steady growth in the business for the past six years (barring the pandemic-induced slowdown) and are catering to 38 countries. 'I want to add that the two companies have operations in other states as well and could be exporting more brands,' the officer added. While the popular dark rum and premium products have demand in developed countries such as US, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Qatar, Oman among others, the least developed countries (as per United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), including Congo, Liberia, Zambia, Djibouti in Africa and Haiti in the Caribbean, also procure affordable and cheap IMFL brands from UP.
 
Meanwhile, excise commissioner Senthil C Pandian said that handholding sessions for other liquor manufacturers will be organised in the coming months to improve the business prospects. 'We are going to create awareness over the procedure that needs to be followed while exporting liquor products. We have observed that both premium, mid-range and affordable products are being sold internationally but the quality required in the various international markets needs to be maintained,' said Pandian.
    
Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com



Kari Ishad mango of Ankola in Uttar Karnataka gets GI tag.

May 30, 2023

The Kari Ishad mango prominently grown in Ankola taluk of Uttara Kannada has bagged the Geographical Indication (GI) tag from the Geographical Indications Registry under the Union Government. 
 
The GI certificate issued to Matha Totagars Farmer Producer Company Limited, Ankola is valid till March 1, 2032 from March 31, 2023. 
 
According to the Geographical Indications Journal of the government, the Kari Ishad is accepted as one of the finest quality mangoes due to its unique aroma, luscious taste, high amount of pulp, shape, and size. 
 
According to the Registry, the fruits are large and oblique to oval shape. Each panicle usually bears one fruit. A well grown tree produces/bears up to 2,000 fruits in a season. The fruit has a short shelf life of about five days.
 
In addition to Ankola, the mango is grown in Karwar and to a certain extent in Kumta of Uttara Kannada. The trees are prominently spread over Belse, Shetgeri, Belambara, Mogata, Vandige villages of Ankola. Vandige village produced the highest amount of about 600 tonnes of fruits a season. Belse village houses 1,500 plants. The fruit is famous because of its sweet taste and pulp. Hichkad Group Vividhoddeshagala Sahakari Sangha Niyamita, Ankola, which runs the Oriental Canneries and Industries produces about 12,000 tons of pulp every year. 
 
According to the Registry, the fruits are large and oblique to oval shape. Each panicle usually bears one fruit. A well grown tree produces/bears up to 2,000 fruits in a season. The fruit has a short shelf life of about five days. 
 
Its trading is limited to Ankola, Karwar and Hubballi markets. 
 
One of the Directors of Matha Totagars Farmer Producer Company Limited, Mahadev Indra Gouda, told The Hindu that a Kari Ishad mango mela (fair) will be held at Ankola on June 6, 2023. 
 
'Many trees lost fruits when heavy winds swept Ankola earlier this week. It resulted in huge loss of fruits,' he added. 
 
Mr. Gouda, who was the applicant for the GI certificate, said that the FPO has yet to adopt a business model for the better marketing of the product. 
 
He said that the exact extent of area under Kari Ishad is yet to be found out scientifically. 
 
Extraction and marketing of Ishad mango pulp has an interesting background, Shivananda Kalave, a Sirsi-based environmentalist, writer and green activist, told The Hindu. Oriental Canneries and Industries set up a unit in Ankola in 1908 to extract pulp from Ishad for making value-added products. The then Bombay Government supported it by supplying wood. The pulp, which was also being exported, was being marketed by the then Bombay-based Veerachand Panachand Company.  
 
An old marketing brochure printed at Basel Mission, Mangaluru, says that the pulp was used for making juice, syrup, salad and ice cream.  
 
According to the brochure, the pulp can be used for making 48 recipes. It was being used in the United States, Australia and Sri Lanka. According to the brochure, the Hichkad Group purchased the processing unit in 1970 for `95, Mr. Kalave said.  
 
The Ishad mango has two variants — Kari Ishad, which has thin skin, more pulp and is sweeter, and Bili Ishad, which has thick skin and has less pulp and sweetness.  
    
Source: thehindu.com



Tripura minister bats for GI tag for rice beer, tribal food, more.

May 30, 2023

Tripura Farmers’ Welfare Minister Ratan Lal Nath on Friday said that the state has no dearth of unique products that can qualify for all the parameters of Geographical Indication tag. 
 
Addressing an awareness oriented seminar on Geographical Indication, the Minister listed a few of the products that are exclusively produced in Tripura and deeply rooted to the state’s culture. 
 
Referring to the indigenous rice beer, which is largely produced by the tribal communities in Tripura, the Minister said, 'Indigenous rice beer–popularly called Langi – is brewed in the rural households of our tribal brothers and sisters, and is part of the state’s culture. This beer not only tastes far better than the bottled beer sold in the licensed foreign liquor shops, it is also brewed in a hygienic atmosphere.'
 
Apart from that, he said, the state has plenty of fruits, vegetables and dishes that are unique and could not be found elsewhere. 
 
'For example, jackfruit is an important fruit of our state. In summer, a huge quality of jackfruit is produced here mostly in stand alone trees. The taste of Tripura jackfruit is the best. ‘Gudak’ is another traditional dish that is inseparable from the state’s food culture. Despite being an indigenous dish primarily, ‘Gudak’ is a part of platter even in the plains,' the Minister told the gathering of farmers associated with pineapple cultivation. 
 
The event was organized by North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation (NERAMAC) under the assitance of Ministry of DONER, Government of India. Recently the Queen Variety of Pineapple secured place in 13 North East produced that were GI tagged.
 
A total of 200 farmers received GI tagging certification from NERAMAC. 
    
Source: eastmojo.com



Vocational training on dairy farming conducted by KVK langroya.

May 30, 2023

A vocational training on dairy farming was conducted at Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Langroya, District Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar from 12 to 26-5-2023. During this training, the trainees were given practical as well as theoretical knowledge about dairy farm management, feeding of dairy animals in scientific way, layout and planning of various types of dairy sheds, taking green fodder throughout the year, silage making, breeding planning and heat synchronization for efficient use of farm labour and resources & prevention, control and treatment of various diseases of dairy animals.
 
The training was imparted by the experts-Dr. Aparna, Asstt. Professor ( Livestock management), KVK Rupnagar and Dr Gurinder Singh, Farm Manager, KVK Langroya, Distt Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar. Dr. Harwinder Singh, Deputy Director, Dairy Development Department, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar also participated in the training and appraised the trainees about various financial and other assistances provided by the Dairy Development Department for upliftment of dairy profession in the district. Representatives of other allied departments also guided the farmers regarding finance and insurance schemes available for dairy farmers.
 
On the concluding day of the training, Dr. Maninder Singh Bons, Associate Director (Training), Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Langroya, District Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, shared important tips for success in dairy farming profession and thanked the trainees for their participation in the training with full enthusiasm.
    
Source: en.krishakjagat.org



Telangana set to advance kharif and rabi sowing of paddy.

May 30, 2023

The Telangana Government has asked the farmers to advance sowings in both kharif and rabi seasons by 3-4 weeks so that they do not face problems due to untimely rains or hailstorms during the harvest time.
 
It is probably the first State to consider advancing sowing of paddy on the heels of climate change affecting agricultural production.
 
Recently, the Telangana Cabinet recently set up a sub-committee headed by Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy to study the feasibility and come out with a set of recommendations on how to go about it. This, perhaps, is first such attempt by any State government in the country to attempt to advance the sowing seasons.
 
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao reiterated the suggestion to advance sowing at the District Collectors’ meeting held in Hyderabad on Thursday.
 
'The sowing process must be completed between May 25 to June 25. Similarly, the rabi sowings should be started by November 15 and competed in the following 2-3 weeks,' he said.
 
This, in turn, would help advance the harvesting seasons by a month. 'It would help the farmers protect themselves from untimely rains and hailstorms during the harvesting period, causing heavy losses,' the Chief Minister said.
 
State’s choice
Official sources in New Delhi said States are free to decide on sowing of crops as agriculture is a State subject. However, Punjab and Haryana have banned sowing of paddy before June 1 in order to ensure that farmers do not exhaust depleted groundwater resources.
 
Analysts, on the other hand, see this as a political move so that the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) party will not be in trouble in case rains or floods affect paddy crop when the North-East monsoon sets in during October.
 
Elections to the Telangana Assembly are scheduled during the year-end. Another political angle to it is that in case Telangana faces problems again in the procurement of rice by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), BRS can play it up during elections, analysts said. Last year, Telangana faced problems in rice procurement as the Centre said it would not buy parboiled rice from the State.
 
Irrigation the key
'It is good if the sowing is advanced before the monsoon arrives, provided the land has irrigation facilities for the germination of seeds. It has been observed that in many years, the later part of the season gets drier compared to the initial period. In the event of sowing in July, the crop does not get water in the later part of the season in the rainfed area,' said a senior rice breeder at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
 
Just advancing the sowing period will not help. It must be accompanied by better technology. 'For instance, CR 801 and CR 802 are paddy varieties that can survive without water for 22 days after germination and such climate-smart varieties have to be adopted,' the scientist said.
 
R Jagadeeshwar, former Director of Research at the Prof. Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University, early sowings in kharif were already in vogue in areas such as Nizamabad where farmers use borewell water for irrigation. 'Technologies are available. Direct sowing of seeds (instead of growing nurseries and planting them later) would be an ideal method to advance the sowings. A good number of farmers have been doing this in Khammam and Nalgonda districts,' he said.
 
Another scientist, on condition of anonymity, felt that it (advancing sowings) may not be suitable for all regions of the State. 'It is suited for areas under assured irrigation facilities,' he felt.
 
Two back-to-back bouts of heavy rains and hailstorms during February-April this year caused extensive damage to the crops in the State.
 
On his part, Rao asked district collectors and officials of the Agriculture Department to take measures to sensitise farmers on the need for advancing the sowing and harvesting seasons by a month. There was a misconception among farmers that the crop growth wouldn’t be healthy if sown during the winter.
 
He said farmers now can bank on abundant groundwater and 24-hour quality power and advance their sowings. The State has come up with irrigation projects such as Kondapochamma Sagar reservoir and Kaleswaram lift irrigation project.
 
Farmers’ concern
Farmers, however, are not quite convinced about the idea. 'Not all parts of the State have bankable groundwater. We don’t get monsoon rains till late June or mid-July,' S Malla Reddy, a leader of Telangana Rythu Sangham, told businessline.
 
'If you go for early sowings in the rabi season, the crop growth wouldn’t be at the optimum level. Farmers generally prefer to go for rabi sowings after January 15,' he said.
 
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister said there is a misconception among farmers that if paddy is harvested in November duringYasangi (Rabi) season, the fibre will not grow due to severe cold, it is not true. The Agriculture Department should sensitise farmers in this direction and make arrangements so that the crops grown due to untimely rains are not damaged and the grain does not get wet.
 
Grain quality
Another reason why the government is pushing for the advancement of sowings in the rabi season is the issue of rice breaking up during milling of paddy. Due to rising temperatures in late March and April, the grain gets brittle, adversely impacting the conversion rate (the quantity of paddy converted into rice after milling.)
 
With the grain getting brittle reducing the quantity of rice that they get, millers prefer to go for parboiled rice. However, the Centre has made it clear that it won’t be procuring parboiled rice since it doesn’t have enough takers in the country.
 
The issue, in fact, triggered a political row between the TRS Government and the BJP Government. The Centre said it would take only raw (white) rice, and not parboiled rice, in this procurement season.
 
The Telangana Government’s decision is seen as a move to make farmers harvest the produce in March itself so that the paddy-to-rice conversion rate is higher. This is the second time in three years that the Telangana Government is trying to intervene in the sowing process.
 
In May 2020, the Telangana government said it would decide what crops farmers in the State will grow as part of its efforts to make agriculture more profitable through scientific cultivation, based on market demands. But nothing was heard of it in 2021 after Telangana faced problems in helping farmers sell their produce.
    
Source: thehindubusinessline.com



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