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New books – Youth in farming

From Green to Evergreen Revolution Indian Agriculture: Performance and Challenges

by MS Swaminathan, 2010, Pages : 410; ISBN – 978-81-7188-797-2; Price: Rs. 1195.00 / USD 79.95

MSS-625_0125Indian agriculture is at cross-roads. At one end, is the problem of ecologically unsound public policies which have led to deep ecological distress. On the other, despite large number of nutrition safety net programmes introduced by Central and state governments, India still remains the home for the largest number of malnourished children and adults in the world. The need of the hour is to convert the green revolution into an ‘evergreen revolution’ by mainstreaming the principles of ecology in technology development and dissemination. India also urgently needs to focus on developing a sustainable and equitable food security system.

Authored by Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, a world scientist of rare distinction and a living legend, this book stresses on considering the problem of food production holistically. Evergreen revolution along with small farm management revolution are hence the most important ingredients for hunger-free India movement. Swaminathan’s consistent point has been, “rather than predicting the future, it is our job to shape it.”

“This wonderful collection of essays, both a tour d’ horizon and tour de force, describes in multifaceted ways the key components of an ecologically sound, evergreen revolution…. Swaminathan’s wisdom is not readily summarized, so my best advice is to read carefully, and savour and ponder these essays!” – From the Foreword by Jeffrey D. Sachs

Achieving Sustainability in Agriculture : Issues, Challenges and Opportunities

by V.C. Srivastava, Agrobios, 2010, xvi, 348 p, ISBN: 978-81-7754-414-5, Rs. 1,595.00

no89654Global population was only one billion in 1800 AD, doubled by 1930 and reached three billion mark by 1960. However, it took only 39 years to double itself again by 1999, when it reached to six billion mark. It is estimated that by 2100 it will again double itself to twelve billion mark. Most of the future increase in population will be in developing countries of Asia. Africa and Latin America, where more and more area under agricultural production systems have been developed at the cost of natural eco-systems, which gradually deplete the soils of organic matter, nutrients and water, making them unsuitable in the long run leading to the question on their sustainability. Sustainability is generally seen as human oriented, long-term and involving interaction with natural systems. A sustainable agricultural production system must, therefore, produce economically the needed food, fibre, feed and fuel without depleting the natural resources and without deterrent to environment. It must discourage regional imbalance and encourage gender equality.

Through a large amount of information has been generated on various aspects of sustainable agriculture, they are scattered in literature. Thus, a compilation of available information has been strongly felt keeping in view the requirement of students, teachers, research scientists, administrators and those interested in the subject. The book contains chapters on sustainable agriculture, farming systems, agro-forestry, organic farming and crop and environment. The chapters have been arranged systematically, simple to understand and comprehend in an integrated manner.

Agrarian Distress In India – Problems and Remedies

by Dr. B C Barah and Dr. Smita Sirohi, Published by Concept Publishing Company Pvt. Ltd. Website : www.conceptpub.com, 2011, 284pp, ISBN : 978- 81-8069-765-4 Price: Rs. 700.

This book is an outcome of scholarly contribution from the eminent academicians and policy researchers. The whole book is divided into five sections according to the major theme covered in the chapters.

This book critically examines and identifies the reasons for distress, its intensity, the opportunities to avert or minimize its adversities and derive policy strategies to harness opportunity to avert crisis in rural areas, divided into distinct sections. Although the technological solution has been indispensable to bail out the small farmer-oriented agriculture from distress, but the moot question is how to reach out to the ground level for effective inclusiveness. The spread of benefits of policies required to be designed for more inclusion, rather than skewed in favour of powerful sections.

The book provides enough material and will be of immense interest to researchers, scholars, policy makers and the farmers of the country to gain more insights into the burning problem of rural India.

Understanding climate change from below, addressing barriers from above: Practical experience and learning from a communitybased adaptation project in Bangladesh

by M Sajid Raihan, M Jahedul Huq, Nana Gerstrøm Alsted, Manja Hoppe Andreasen (2010), Action Aid Bangladesh, December 2010; ISBN: 978-984-33-2252-5; 102 pages.

In recent years, Bangladesh retained steady growth and attained commendable results. But these success stories become blurred with the recurring events of more severe and frequent natural calamities, which are believed to be a direct result of climate change. Considering these extreme events, Denmark responded immediately to the challenges of climate change and left no stones unturned to assist the Government and resilient people of Bangladesh in their combat against climate change. A project lending assistance to local communities to adapt to climate change implemented by ActionAid, Bangladesh is one of the immediate initiatives.

The pilot project started in 2008 and continued till December 2010 focusing on harmonization of traditional local knowledge and scientific knowledge to enable inhabitants of three districts located in three areas of Bangladesh venerable to cyclones and surges, floods and droughts for climate change adaptation. With the lessons learned from the first phase, the second phase is ongoing.

Adaptation is not all about immediate survival; it is a continuous process of seeking sustainability in the face of change. The sought outcome of the project was not only to address the immediate need of the beneficiaries but also build their self reliance to make adjustments in their life and livelihoods for future sustainability.

This publication ‘Understanding climate change from below – addressing barriers from above- Practical experience and learning from a community-based adaptation project in Bangladesh’’ emphasizes on the first hand lessons learned from the action research project titled ‘Assistance to Local Communities on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction’. The report analyzed the strength and weakness of community mobilization activities for climate change adaptation and also suggested a set of future actions both at policy and implementation level.