a magazine on ecological agriculture
a one stop treasure of practical field experiences


Rainfed Agriculture in India – Perspectives & Challenges By Surjit Singh, Director, IDS, Jaipur & M S Rathore, Ex-Professor, IDS Jaipur. Published May 2010. Hardback. Price: Rs 775.00. Source: www.booksfordevelopment.org

India’s agriculture growth after independence has moved the country from the severe food crisis of the sixties to aggregate food surplus today and rainfed agriculture has played an important role in this. In India about two-third of total net sown area comes under rainfed lands. Rainfed crops account for 48 per cent area under food crops and 68 per cent under non-food crops. One of the major challenges facing rainfed agriculture in India today is its sustainable development through conserving and enhancing the inherent capacity of its land and other natural resources to sustain it. Any erosion of this capacity will threaten country’s food security and agriculture substantially. In order to constantly address this concern, along with increasing production of food grains and other agricultural products, it is necessary to enhance and conserve the stock of available land, water and other natural resources and develop improved technologies, which maintain and improve the productive capacity of natural resources. This book focuses on important aspects relating to rainfed agriculture such as crop husbandry, conserving land and water, livestock development, livelihood options in rural non-farm sector and policies, initiatives and institutional changes necessary for rejuvenating rainfed agriculture. The analysis and issues raised in the book would go a long way to put the much-neglected agriculture in rainfed areas in true perspective and provide space for better policy options.

State of India’s Livelihood Report 2009 By The Livelihood School, 2009. 190 Pages. PB. Price: INR 750.00.Source: www.booksfordevelopment.org

This report is a one of its kind report and is the only document that aggregates the experiences and challenges of the livelihoods sector, analyses case studies, and reports the progress of both government and privately run programs. It focuses on the 4 Ps – people, policy, promoters and possibilities. It is an annual publication with specific themes each year addressing contemporary issues impacting livelihoods. The report also focuses on livelihoods practitioners as core audience with usability to other stakeholders like policy makers, academics, others like CAB, BIRD etc. Keeping the core audience in mind, the report would be more focused on providing practical learnings, live examples and case-studies and analysis of different models and innovations that can be adapted to various livelihoods interventions. To tie the chapters together, a uniform 4-P (people, policy, promoters and possibilities) framework is used for each chapter.

EcoFeminism By Maria Mies & Vandana Shiva. Published in 2010. H.B. 336 pages. Price: Rs. 795. Source: www.booksfordevelopment.org

Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva, internationally respected feminist activists and writers, come together in this book on a controversial environmental agenda. Using interview material, they bring together women‘s perspectives from North and South on environmental deterioration and develop a new way of approaching this body of knowledge, which is at once practical and philosophical. Do women involved in environmental movements see a link between patriarchy and ecological degradation? What are the links between global militarism and the destruction of nature? In exploring such questions, the authors criticize prevailing theories and develop an intellectually rigorous ecofeminist perspective rooted in the needs of everyday life. They argue for the acceptance of limits, the rejection of the commoditization of needs, and a commitment to a new ethics.

Farmer First Revisited – Innovation for Agricultural Research and Development. Edited by Ian Scoones and John Thompson with a foreword by Robert Chambers. 369 pages, 234 x 156mm, Paperback, ISBN 9781853396823

Farmer first revisited

Agriculture is an urgent global priority and farmers find themselves in the front line of some of the world’s most pressing issues- climate change,  globalization and food security. Twenty years ago, the Farmer First workshop held at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK, launched a movement to encourage farmer participation in agricultural reasearch and development (R & D), responding to farmers’ needs in complex, diverse, risk-prone environments, and promoting sustainable livelihoods and agriculture. Since that time, methodological, institutional and policy experiments have unfolded around the world. Farmer First Revisited returns to the debates about farmer participation in agricultural R & D and looks to the future. With over 60 contributions from across the world, the book presents a range of experiences that highlight the importance of going beyond a focus on the farm to a wider innovation system, including market interactions as well as the wider institutional and policy environment. If, however, farmers are really to be put first, a politics of demand is required in order to shape the direction of these innovative systems. This is calls for a major rethinking of agricultural R & D, the boosting of the knowledge and capacities of farmers’ organizations to innovate, the strenghening of networks and alliances to support, document and share lessons on farmer-led innovation, and the transformation of agricultural higher education.

Seed Quality Enhancement – Principles and Practices by K Vanangamudi, S Kalaivani, Mallika Vanangamudi, G Sasthri, A Selvakumari, P Srimathi Published by Scientific Publishers (India). Website : www.scientificpub.com, 2010, 484pp, ISBN : 978-81-7233- 663-9, Price: Rs. 2250.

Quality seed is the key for successful agriculture. The farmers are always very much interested in the best seed management practices which are safe, environmentally sound and scientifically proven technologies. Since seed is a biological entity, deterioration beyond harvest is inevitable. The consequences of low quality seeds are poor germination, low and delayed emergence and weak growth leading to poor field stand and ultimately reflecting on reduced yield. Low productivity could be attributed broadly to use of poor quality seeds. At present to overcome this, several seed enhancement techniques are available for quality upgradation. It has two goals; one is related to seed designing and other to seed functioning.

Several physical, physiological and biochemical treatments are available at present to give value addition to seeds. Physiological seed treatments that improve seed performance are based primarily on seed hydration and dehydration. Among several non physiological seed treatments, coating or pelleting can also indirectly improve seed germination, stand establishment and crop productivity.

Keeping in view the importance of quality seed and its value addition, this book entitled “Seed quality enhancement: Principles and practices” has been prepared with expertise of seed scientists. The authors of various chapters have made a remarkable job of writing the chapters in a fitting manner.