The System of Rice Intensification is an alternative to the traditional way of flooded rice cultivation and is showing promise in addressing the problems of water scarcity, high energy usage and environmental degradation. The SRI method involves synergy of five important farm management techniques. Vibhu Nayar V. K. Ravichandran

National Fertilizers Limited (NFL), a Mini Ratna Schedule

Under the current scenario of farming with changing natural resource base, food habits, industrialisation, maize having adaptability across diverse soil and climatic conditions has emerged as an important crop for food and nutritional security and farm economy. Among all the cereals, the growth of maize production is highest (4.2%), which is much higher than the major crops (rice and wheat). April 2008

The climatic, edaphic and socio-economic diversity of the Indian crop production scene is dotted with many cropping patterns and systems. The cropping systems considered to be major contributors to the national food baskets are rice-wheat, rice-rice, pearl-millet-wheat, sorghum-wheat, maize-wheat and systems, where land was kept fallow either in Kharif or Rabi season occupy 19 mha area. April 2008

The Government of India have introduced a comprehensive scheme of crop insurance throughout the country from Kharif 1985 season covering major crops viz., cereals, oilseeds and pulses. The impact of crop insurance scheme is more pertinent in the state like Gujarat as it alone accounts for almost 43 per cent of total claims.

A group of ministers (GoM) headed by agriculture minister Sharad Pawar has formed a committee to look into issues involved in the formulation of a new policy to attract investments into the fertiliser sector. The new panel, comprising secretaries of expenditure, fertilisers and agriculture & cooperation, will be headed by Planning Commission member (agriculture) Abhijit Sen. It is expected to submit its recommendations to the GoM within the next two months. Government sources told FE, "The committee's formation has taken place at a time when the finance ministry has rejected the demand by the department of fertilisers (DoF) for an exemption on customs duty on imported goods, and an exemption on excise duty for greenfield/ brown field/ expansion/ revamp projects. The committee's formation is also important in view of the fact that the fertiliser sector has not attracted any major investment for about a decade, while other industrial sectors are flooded with funds, including FDI. Recent policies with excessive regulations and controls have stifled the industry.' Industry sources emphasised the need for a new investment policy, as it has been sandwitched between rising prices of inputs and relatively insignificant increases in minimum retail prices of fertilisers. The industry has observed that a rise in subsidy, which is estimated to be a record Rs 70,000 crore for 2008-09, is not due to inefficiency but short-term government policies. The industry has sought sops for hassle-free investments in the sector. According to sources, the industry must be allowed to recover its cost with reasonable margins. Sources said the new investment policy should be a part of the overall economic policy, particularly agriculture policy, and it should not be finalised in isolation. Sources said the new policy to attract investment was the need of the hour, as by the end of the 11th Plan, the gap between consumption and domestic production will widen to 16 million tones, excluding an import requirement of raw materials and intermediates.

Global fertiliser supply is expected to outstrip demand by 2011-12 and will support higher levels of food and bio-fuel production, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation has said in a report. The supply of fertiliser

Perhaps genetic engineering could help to increase the efficiency with which crops absorb nitrate from soil (5 January, p 28). However, the claim by Arcadia Biosciences that this will substantially cut agricultural emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide appears Utopian rather than Arcadian. (Letters)

This report provides an overview of information on the world fertilizer situation in 2007/08 and a forecast till 2011/12. The fertilizer situation is examined in relation to crop production and factors likely to affect the latter. High commodity prices experienced over recent years led to increased production and correspondingly greater fertilizer consumption as reflected in tight markets and higher fertilizer prices at the start of the outlook period. While demand for basic food crops, for high value crops such as fruit and vegetables, for animal products and for crops capable of being used to produce bio-fuels is likely to remain strong, it is expected that increased fertilizer consumption required to support higher levels of production will be adequately catered for by growing supply world wide during the outlook period.

The present study aimed to get an idea of the effect of fertilizer, pesticides, irrigation and HYV area and their role in increasing the foodgrain productivity in West Bengal. In this study various models are used to identify the relationship between yield and each modern input.

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