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The state Agriculture Department organised a curtain-raiser to promote The International Trade Fair on Organics & Millets – 2018, which will be held at Palace Grounds, from January 19 to 21. Agriculture Minister Krishna Byregowda unveiled the new website and logo for the trade fair and spoke about the importance of producing millets. “Karnataka was the first state to implement the Organic Policy – 2004 and is the largest producer of millets in the country. Our venture is the first of its kind in the country to create awareness about organics and millets. The central government has encouraged us and we need the support of our neighboring states. The price of these organic products is more because of the smaller marketConverting land from conventional agriculture to organic production could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the run-off of excess nitrogen from fertilisers, and cut pesticide use. It would also, according to a new report, be feasible to convert large amounts of currently conventionally farmed land without catastrophic harm to crop yields and without needing huge amounts of new land. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, found that by combining organic production with an increasingly vegetarian diet, ways of cutting food waste, and a return to traditional methods of fixing nitrogen in the soil instead of using fertiliser, the world’s projected 2050 population of more than 9 billion could be fed without vastly increasing the current amount of land under agricultural production. This is important, as converting other land such as forests, cerrado or peatlands to agricultural use would increase greenhouse gas emissions from the land. The authors found that an increase in organic farming would require big changes in farming systems, such as growing legumes to replenish nitrogen in the soil. However, other scientists were cautious over endorsing the report’s findings, pointing out that the size of the world’s agricultural systems and their variability, as well as assumptions about future nutritional needs, made generalisations about converting to organic farming difficult to make. Sir Colin Berry, emeritus professor of pathology at Queen Mary, University of London, said: “As for all models, assumptions have to be made and what weight you attach to which item can greatly change outcomes. The assumption that grassland areas will remain constant is a large one. The wastage issue is important but solutions, not addressed here, to post-harvest- pre-market losses will be difficult without fungicides for grains. Some populations could do with more protein to grow and develop normally, despite the models here requiring less animal protein.” Hom Thany, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), addressing participants in a workshop on crop insurance yesterday, said a crop insurance scheme is a necessary part of any sustainable agriculture industry. She said crop insurance protects farmers’ investments and ensures that even when harvests fail, farmers have sufficient financial resources to reinvest and cover basic household needs like food and healthcare. “Agribusinesses, credit suppliers, technology partners, and, especially, the government, need to work together to draft a policy that details all financial and logistical aspects,” Mrs Thany said. However, she said to make it happen in an effective, reliable and sustainable way, solid research needs to be conducted, particularly to learn from the experiences of neighboring countries on what works and what doesn’t. “I encourage all stakeholders and development partners to join me in this initiative to contribute to protecting farming as well as to secure farmers’ incomes and the livelihoods of our farmers. This is an important step to ensure the sustainable development of the agriculture sector in Cambodia,” Mrs Thany said. GIZ Cambodia’s country director, Thomas Waldraff, said farming is a key activity in the kingdom but a risky business. To have a successful crop insurance scheme covering all agriculture production, close cooperation between private and public sector was imperative, he added. “In order to reach out to farmers on crop insurance, the private sector needs government support to gain access to information and data. “It is crucial for the insurance sector to offer attractive crop insurance service to farmers,” Waldraff explained. Anja Erlbeck, regional project manager of GIZ’s Remote Sensing-based Information and Insurance for Crops in Emerging Economies (RIICE), said the insurance scheme will be implemented by GIZ with the help of farmers, insurance companies, development partners and government agencies. कृषि मंत्रालय भारत सरकार आयोग द्वारा निदेशक राष्ट्रीय जैविक खेती केंद्र, गाजियाबाद