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Showing posts from July, 2013

All Good Earth and No Seed: Dilemma of an Organic Cotton Farmer

Sitaram, an organic cotton farmer struggles to develop non-GM cotton seed for his future generations. (Photo H. Sandhu)

On my recent visits to rural parts of India, I came across a group of organic farmers in Kasrawad town, Khargone District, Madhya Pradesh. These farmers switched from high input cotton growing to organic cotton about 15 years ago. I talked to some farmers and they claimed that the smiles on their faces are all due to organic way of producing cotton. They are free from debts owing to input costs of pesticides, GM (genetically modified) seed and fertilisers. Instead they are boasting of fixed deposits in their banks as compared to fellow conventional farmers who are still sticking to GM cotton and hoping for some relief and expecting end to the vicious cycle of debt and crop failure due to periodic droughts in the area.

Having said that these organic farmers are not rich or living a luxurious life however, they are living a decent life, largely free from debts and able …

Ecosystem Services in Managed Landscapes

Ecosystem Services in Agricultural and Urban Landscapes
Edited by Steve Wratten, Harpinder Sandhu, Ross Cullen and Robert Costanza

Ecosystem services are the benefits that humans derive from natural and modified ecosystems (for example, food, fuelwood, pollination of crops by insects, or water filtration by wetlands). The ecological wealth from ecosystems underpins economy and support life on earth. Agricultural and urban areas are the highly modified ecosystems. This book explores the role that ecosystem services play in these managed environments. The book also explores methods of evaluating ecosystem services, and discusses how these services can be maintained and enhanced in our farmlands and cities. This book will be useful to future proof these ecosystems to the global issues such as population increase, doubling of food demand by 2050 and loss of biodiversity worldwide.