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    September 19th, 2017adminAgriculture, Business & Economy
    Raju and Geetha at their stall in an exhibition. The stall displays various aspects of beekeeping. photo by author.

    Raju and Geetha at their stall in an exhibition. The stall displays various aspects of beekeeping. photo by author.

    Honey is both the nectar from flowers and a term used to express endearment for someone’s sweetheart. The twain have combined more seamlessly for G Raju, an ace beekeeper from Harati village in Kolar district. What began as a labour of love years ago has turned into a lifetime passion. Travelling across the State, he maintains over 700 beehive boxes in farms, gardens, orchards and backyards.

    Honeybees demand nothing from the beneficiaries except some space where their industriousness could blossom uninterrupted. And in turn, they help the farmers increase the yield through pollination.

    Raju became interested in bees around the turn of the century while working in an apiary in Punjab. Back in Karnataka in 2001, he rented a house in Bengaluru and placed some beehive boxes in the green surroundings. Bees began to hover around and he saw the potential for adding more boxes. A session of training in Bhagamandala in Kodagu led him to take beekeeping as the main source of livelihood. He decided to place beehive boxes in different regions and began persuading farmers to install boxes in their farms.

    Today, he maintains these boxes in places like Hiriyur, Kadur, Birur, Vijayapura, Nargund, Chitradurga and Bengaluru. He extracts 10 to 12 tonnes of honey annually and sells nearly 500 boxes per year. In a standard beehive box, the brood chamber has eight frames suspended from the roof. Generally, a beehive box seller would supply only four frames that would carry the parts of combs attached to them. This allows bees to build their combs in the remaining four empty frames.

    Raju says that a beehive box can ideally yield 30 kg of honey in a year in rural areas. The farmers can extract honey every 20 days while in urban locales, these boxes may yield honey just thrice a year. Yield is generally high between November and March, as this is the flowering season.
    Sunflower has come to be a major crop in farms right from Tumakuru to Vijayapura. In Birur, Kadur and Chikkamagaluru, where coffee estates abound, the bees mainly draw nectar from coffee flowers.

    In the beginning, Raju used to sell the honey to Coorg Honey and Wax Producers’ Cooperative Society at Virajpet. Later, he set up his own honey filtering unit in Bengaluru and secured Agmark certificate for the bottled honey. While he supplies honey to retailers in various towns and cities, he also sets up a stall in events like Lalbagh Flower Show and agricultural fairs.

    Acknowledging his achievement in the field, he was felicitated at GKVK recently. A tonne of honey fetches him nearly Rs two lakh. He says, he spends nearly 20 days of a month in the fields and farms across the State, creating awareness about beekeeping and providing farmers the initial training.

    His wife Geetha is a constant companion in his pursuit in disseminating information on beekeeping. Their knowledge and consummate skills in beekeeping make them almost a mobile encyclopedia on apiculture. G Raju can be contacted on 9494695937.

    source: / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> Spectrum / by M A Siraj / September 18th, 2017

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    When four youngsters took the stage at the India Innovation Summit on Thursday, the packed hall greeted them with thunderous applause. From a 17-year-old girl who sowed the seeds of her venture in 2015 to a 21-year-old village lad who has gone the extra mile to help distressed farmers, the innovators shared their journeys and success stories at the two-day meet organized by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

    This app tracks baby’s mental, physical growth

    “When I was in class six, school authorities told my parents to get me enroled in a special school. I was 11 when they realized that I was suffering from dyspraxia, a motor disorder caused by damage to the brain. By the time I stepped into class 10, I became an ace coder,” said Harsh Songra, founder of My Child, an app. Featured twice in the Forbes India 30 Under 30 list, he’s been a TedEx speaker too.

    Founded in 2015, the app helps parents track the child’s mental and physical development and unusual symptoms from birth to two years. “Today, we connect to over 200 mothers across 140 countries in a month to help them understand their children’s development stages and identify signs of a disorder, if any. The app uses artificial intelligence algorithms. I have also started a content page — We Included — which narrates the tales and travails of the disabled across the globe and sensitizes people,” said Harsha.

    Harsh Songra, 21, co-founder, My Child


    A platform which hones communication skills

    While chasing the IIT dream, Siddharth Pandiya realized that he was doing no value-addition by becoming another computer engineer. “I left the rat race and started something which I realized is so vital today, a debating platform. My parents always wanted me to develop communication skills,” said Siddharth, who is preparing to join University of California, Los Angeles.

    The teenager who just completed PUC from Greenwood High School is the founder of Debate for Change, a forum supported by Google. An avid debater since the age of eight, Siddharth’s aim is to make schoolchildren discuss varied topics with students across the world, hence enhancing their communication skills. “It’s a voice-based platform. One has to meet certain parameters, like the number of debates, to secure a world ranking,” he said, adding, “I’d rather be an aggregator of skills and find the right people to do the right job than a master of all trades. That’s my success mantra.”

    Siddharth Pandiya, 18, founder, Debate for Change


    This initiative hopes to change mindsets, save resources

    Two years ago, when an environmentalist spoke about the impact of wasting resources and degradation of the planet during environment day, classmates Garvita Gulhati and Pooja S chanced upon the idea of a social startup — Why Waste? “The speech got us thinking and we realized we needed to do something,” said Garvita, who was 15 years old then.

    “If we drink water from a bottle at a summit and leave it half empty, 14 million litres of water will be wasted in two days? Our initiative intends to change mindsets. I believe we are all tenants on Earth; if we can leave a house spick and span being tenants, why can’t we do that for the planet? We have to stop wasting resources, which are limited,” she said. As part of the initiative, Garvita organizes campaigns to conserve natural resources.

    Garvita Gulhati, 17, co-founder, Why Waste?


    A tech tool to aid farmers

    Hailing from a humble farmer family in a remote Mangaluru village, Ajay Gopi started an agriculture startup in 2015. “I have experienced the agony farmers in our country go through. When about 1,500 farmers committed suicide in Karnataka because of crop failure and debt, I decided to make a difference,” said the collegegoer.

    The startup, Teraniru, gives users access to the aquaponics technology, wherein plants grow in soil which sucks the same water in which fish breed. His prototype is functioning since December at the Kaggalipura rural market. “My aim is to do away with middlemen in the agriculture sector. We have to focus on people who contribute to the food chain, otherwise we will not survive,” said Ajay, who is now head of Project DEFY in Mangaluru and a fellow at Ashoka India.

    Ajay Gopi, 21, co-founder, Teraniru

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Bangalore News / TNN / July 14th, 2017

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    July 11th, 2017adminAgriculture, Business & Economy
    Bumper harvest: Avinash Kora of Koppal district has successfully grown drumstick as an intercrop. Photo by Author

    Bumper harvest: Avinash Kora of Koppal district has successfully grown drumstick as an intercrop. Photo by Author

    Avinash Kora, a young farmer from Narasapura village of Yelburga taluk in Koppal district, has successfully experimented with agroforestry. He has planted horticulture and forest species like lemon, guava, custard apple, jamun, red sandalwood, hebbevu and sandalwood in his six-acre farm. The plants are nine months old. Marigold is grown in an area of two acres. A farm pond (30X40 feet) is also constructed in this part of the land.

    There is a gap of eight feet between the rows of fruit plants. Six months ago, Avinash decided to grow drumstick in this area. He sowed the seeds directly on the farm. Almost all the seeds sprouted and grew into healthy plants. Drumstick is a perennial crop and once planted, it yields for five years. In Avinash’s farm, the crop was ready for harvest after four months. Since then, he has been harvesting drumstick once every three days. This is the first season of harvest and he has got a yield of 300 to 450 pieces per plant. Generally, drumstick is harvested twice a year and the harvest season spans over two months.

    With neat packing (10 kg packs) and proper transportation, the produce remains fresh for hours, and thus fetches good price. Proper packing and identifying the right sale point are the other aspects that have helped him reap rich rewards from drumstick cultivation. Initially, he sent the produce to the local market. But since he didn’t get a good price there, he contacted a vegetable exporter in Belagavi after a quick online search. Now he sells two to three tonnes of harvest every week, and money is transacted online.

    “Everything is going on smoothly. Quality produce coupled with proper grading, packing and transportation go a long way in helping farmers get the right price. Hence, it is time we farmers understand that post-harvest management is as important as choosing the right crops and practicing healthy cultivation methods. Also, we should be more enterprising and take the initiative to sell our produce to the consumers directly,” he says. While he has spent Rs 40,000 on cultivation, he has earned Rs 3 lakh through sales in this season.

    This is not the first time Avinash has experimented with minor crops. In the first four months of setting up the farm, he had grown marigold and toor dal as intercrops and earned good money.

    “Drumstick grows well in almost all types of soil. The agro-climatic conditions of this region are suitable for growing drumstick,” says Linganagouda Patil, assistant director of Horticulture Department in Koppal.

    Kishan Rao Kushtagi
    (Translated by AP)

    source: / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> Spectrum / by Kishan Rao Kushtagi / July 11th, 2017

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    2,649 bonsai trees from various cities are displayed at the ashram in Mysuru

    Three exhibits at Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Ashram in the city, including the largest collection and display of bonsai trees, entered the Guinness Book of World Records. The certificates of records were conferred and received by Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swami at a function on Friday held to mark his 75th birthday celebrations.

    The Guinness record for bonsai reads as ‘Largest Display of Bonsai Trees.’ It was created at the International Bonsai Conference and Exhibition held in December 2016 when international delegates took part, the release said. During the conference, 2,649 bonsai trees brought from Bonsai Clubs of Mumbai, Pune, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Bengaluru, Mysuru and other cities were exhibited which resulted in the creation of the record, the release added

    The second record was the Bhagavad Gita, at a height of seven ft and a width of five ft, besides a thickness of one ft. All the verses in the book are written in 18 languages, including nine Indian languages (Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali, Odiya, Gujarati, Gurumukhi, Malayalam and Tamil) and nine foreign languages (English, Greek, Russian-Cyrillic, Armenian, Georgian, Japanese-Katakana, Korean-Hangul, Arabic and Hebrew).A release stated that the Guinness Record reads as ‘Largest Hindu Smriti’ and the printing of the book took 636 hours in all. It was described as the largest book and has been printed using eco-friendly material. Fourteen people worked on it.

    The third record pertains to the single largest collection of birds in an aviary at Shuka Vana located in the ashram. There are over 2,000 birds drawn from 475 species. The objective of establishing this aviary was to take care of injured and abandoned birds for which a dedicated hospital has been established, complete with non-invasive investigating apparatus. Bird care is provided by trained volunteers and the practice has been ratified by the Animal Welfare Board as confirming to international standards, the release added.

    Visit from Phadnavis

    Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Phadnavis visited Sri Ganapathi Sacchidananda Ashram on Friday and participated in the 75th birthday celebrations of the seer.

    Mr. Phadnavis lauded the spiritual and social work of the seer and his contribution to eradicate discrimination in society. “The swami’s message of compassion is more relevant in the present time than ever,” he said and added that the seer’s knowledge and contribution to the field of music was immense. While other therapies work on the body, music soothes the soul, he said.

    Later, speaking to mediaspersons he lauded the works and initiatives of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who completes three years in office this year, and said that the world has realized the true power of India under him.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Special Correspondent / Mysuru – May 27th, 2017

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    Soliga tribal community at MM Hills have been trained to use the invasive Lantana species to make furniture.   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

    Soliga tribal community at MM Hills have been trained to use the invasive Lantana species to make furniture. | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

    Members of the Soliga tribal community on M.M. Hills use the plant to earn a livelihood by making furniture from them

    Behind the innocuous, little, bright flowers that pepper much of the country’s landscape, lies a sinister tale that threatens to tip the fragile balance of the eco-sensitive forests.

    The near-omnipresent Lantana Camara, originally from South America but introduced in the country during the British Raj, has invaded much of the country’s habitats. The “lantana problem” has forest officials stretched to contain the “invasion” that is blamed for increasing forest fires and choking out native grass and tree species which provide fodder for herbivores.

    For the unassuming Mahadeva, 34, however, the “toxic” weed is now a resource to fuel his livelihood. For seven days in a month, he and around 16 others from the Soliga tribal community set off into the forests of M.M. Hills Wildlife Sanctuary in south Karnataka in search of lantana. The plant is uprooted, and the sticks collected in neat bundles weighing more than 30 kg each. The bundles are then boiled and the bark peeled off. In the next few weeks, the sticks are fashioned, bent, nailed, tied and glued on to form furniture — stools, sofas, beds, bookshelves and more — before the process is repeated.

    “It not only resembles cane furniture, but matches it in durability and quality,” Mr. Mahadeva says.

    His tryst with lantana started a decade ago when the concept of lantana furniture first entered the undulating forests of M.M. Hills — a key part of the contiguous forests that now host among the densest tiger populations in the world. Envisioned by researchers at Asoka Trust for Research into Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bengaluru, over 50 villagers were trained since 2004 to use lantana and develop market linkages for the furniture.

    “At the time we started, the tribal community had lost their livelihood as the Forest Department had prohibited the extraction of bamboo. We taught them how to use lantana instead and helped form a society to market the products. Now, nearly 80% of their livelihood comes out of lantana itself,” says Harisha R.P. from ATREE who is coordinating the project.

    For 30-year-old Madu, who has been working with lantana for over a decade, furniture-making has seen him settle down in his village rather than move around in an uncertain search for daily wage labour. “As demand rises, fewer people are going out to find work. Before, we would be affected when drought hits the farmlands. Now, we have work throughout the year,” he says.

    The centres are set to expand, as workers are now struggling to complete an order to make 50 large elephant statues with lantana. “We are guaranteed ₹500 per day, and are even taking labourers for ₹300 a day. This sort of earning is unheard of in our tribal village,” says Narayana, who has taken charge of processing orders.

    Though away from retailers for now, the demand — placed through direct orders only — is soaring, and production is only constricted by the logistics of transporting furniture from forests. At the three centres in M.M. Hills, over 50 types of products are made that eventually make their way to offices and resorts in urban centres.

    Controlling lantana

    While there have been no scientific studies on the ecological benefit of this work, anecdotal evidence suggests that lantana spread may have been contained locally.

    There are now three centres at M.M. Hills itself, and Mr. Harisha estimates that more than three tonnes of lantana is extracted yearly. “Once uprooted, it takes lantana at least three years to come again. This window may give a chance for native species to thrive again,” he says.

    In many patches of M.M. Hills, this “window” is evident. Ravi, a worker at Anehola centre, says during the early years, lantana could be extracted almost at their doorstep. “Now, we have to go 3 km into the forests to find usable lantana,” he says.

    The expensive alternative would be to mechanically uproot the plant, which has become a threat second only to poachers in deciduous forests.

    During the summer, the weed becomes brittle, turning forests into tinderboxes where fires spread with alarming rapidity. The fast-growing, near-drought-resistant lantana dominates the landscape, gradually outcompeting native plants that are crucial cogs in the forest biodiversity. To top off the seeming villainy of the plant, lantana is toxic to grazers and is actively avoided by elephants. The Forest Department states that in Bandipur Tiger Reserve — which is home to over 100 tigers and thousands of elephants, sambars, gaurs and deer — lantana is found in 80% of its nearly expanse. The cost of uprooting lantana in just 5 has been estimated to be ₹1.8 crore — or, if one were to extrapolate for the entire reserve, more than ₹250 crore for what is still a temporary solution. It is easy to understand why ATREE pushes for this low-cost innovation that deals with two socio-ecological problems in forests: livelihood and containing lantana. So, why not profit through this proliferation?

    Spreading the innovation

    The success of the M.M. Hills experiment has seen the concept spread among other tribal hamlets. Over the years, ATREE as well as Soliga tribals are called to forests of south India to train others in making furniture. In 2009, The Shola Trust helped set up two lantana furniture centres in Mudumalai Forests — where lantana is found in more than 200 of forests. Lantana furniture is being made in the forests on the foothills of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand; while, a little more than a year ago, 70 persons from four tribal hamlets in forests of Siruvani Hills near Coimbatore were trained by Amrita University.

    “This is just in the training phase now, but there has been considerable success. Just through exhibitions, we have sold ₹1.7 lakh worth of furniture already. We just can’t keep up with the demand,” said Maya Mahajan, Associate Professor, Centre for Sustainable Future at Amrita University. The university plans to expand this to other hamlets in the region, hoping to capitalise on the increasing demand from tourists.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Mohit M Rao / M.M Hills (South Karnataka) – April 29th, 2017

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    April 30th, 2017adminAgriculture, Business & Economy


    Named Sresta Karnataka and Siri Karnataka, they aim to cater to the growing demand for millets

    In a first of its kind, Karnataka has launched its own organic and millets brands to cater to the growing demand for millets. Sresta Karnataka (for organic produce) and Siri Karnataka (for millets) were launched by the government along with various organic federations in the State during the National Organic and Millets Trade Fair 2017 here on Saturday.

    The brand names can be used only by those farmers who are certified or under the certification process for their products, Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda said during the launch. “While many farmers have already shifted to organic, they will be watched for three years so that there is no chemical residue found in their soil, and their products are organic as per regulation norms and global standards,” he said. Only after three years (IC 1, IC 2, IC 3) are they certified fully organic, as Karnataka has “the most stringent certification norms” compared to other States, he added.

    Siri Karnataka was selected keeping in mind the richness of millets to human health and wellness.

    The organic brand created for the regional federations is Sresta Karnataka. The brand-name was selected keeping in mind the importance of organic farming practices to nature, the environment, and ecology. Indicating that the move will facilitate organised marketing of these quality food items, the Minister said farmer groups will be trained on grading, packing, and quality aspects.

    “This is a big step towards taking products from farmers to consumers for direct linkages,” he said. Brands — Siri Karnataka and Sresta Karnataka— were launched by 14 farmer federations representatives along with industry leaders Varun Berry, MD, Britannia Industries, Sanjay Malpani, VP, Future Foods, Hemanth Mallik, CEO- Foods, ITC, Sheshukumar, Big Basket, and Varun Gupta,CEO, Pro Nature. Next gen food startups, big organised and progressive retailers can get in touch with the organic cell that is running this programme, who will facilitate the transaction.

    The fair is organised by the Department of Agriculture, Karnataka State Agricultural Produce Processing and Export Corporation Limited (KAPPEC), State agricultural universities, and the Jaivik Krishik Society.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bengaluru / by Special Correspondent / April 30th, 2017

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    Rural entrepreneur Keshava A. runs a factory in Puttur taluk of Dakshina Kannada that employs 50 people.

    Rural entrepreneur Keshava A. runs a factory in Puttur taluk of Dakshina Kannada that employs 50 people.

    Keshava, who is visually challenged, has sold one lakh ladders

    Keshava A., 41, is popular as ‘ladder man’ in rural areas of Dakshina Kannada district. Lightweight foldable aluminium ladders designed by him help even women and children climb the tall areca palms or harvest pepper from climbers on tall trees. Not many know that he is visually challenged.

    Mr. Keshava was the star attraction for scientists from different parts of the country at the ongoing Agricultural Science Congress here, where he has set up a stall.

    “I dropped out of college while doing PU as my vision was affected owing to glaucoma. Now, 90 per cent of my vision is affected and I cannot see anything clearly even if it is very near to me,” said Mr. Keshava.

    Pursuing his dream

    The vision problem, however, did not come in his way of pursuing his dream of helping farmers climb tall areca palms. “As a person from the farming family, I was witness to the problems of farmers because of lack of skilled labourers who can climb areca trees. Hence I designed a lightweight ladder which can not only stretch for 40 to 50 feet, but also have a firm grip on the ground,” he said. He has so far sold over one lakh ladders.

    About his vision problem, he said, “When I started my enterprise, I was able to see the objects if they were very close to me, but my vision deteriorated in the course of time. It is not an obstacle as I have continued to innovate and also improvised the ladder models.”

    He has a full-fledged factory in Puttur taluk of Dakshina Kannada which manufactures a range of farm equipment, including ladders, mango/coconut harvesters, sprayer extensions, and arecanut huskers. He has employed 50 people and registers a turnover of about ₹3 crore a year. “According to me, disability is actually a psychological issue and not a physical barrier,” said Mr. Keshava. He is now trying to motivate his 10-year-old son who too is affected by vision problem.

    The head of the Agricultural Engineering Department of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru, said, “He is the real hero as he has been successfully operating his enterprise despite being visually challenged.”

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by B S Satish Kumar / February 23rd, 2017

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    February 13th, 2017adminAgriculture, Business & Economy, World Opinion
    Bengaluru contributes about 60% of the red rose exports from India, according to industry sources.

    Bengaluru contributes about 60% of the red rose exports from India, according to industry sources.

    Exports of the red rose variety expected to touch five million ahead of Valentine’s Day

    Bengaluru’s ‘Taj Mahal’ will again be part of this Valentine’s Day flavour across the globe as nearly five million of this red rose variety, grown in fields in and around the city, is being shipped from here.

    While Bengaluru growers exported just over 4.5 million roses in the fortnight before the Valentine’s Day last year, the exports could touch about 5 million this year, general manager of International Flower Auction Board, Bengaluru, Vijay Kulkarni, told The Hindu.

    “We are expecting about 8% increase in exports this year,” he added.

    This year, the ‘Taj Mahal’ variety has been produced much more than the earlier popular variety ‘First Red’, sources said.

    Bengaluru and Pune are the largest exporters of red roses from India during Valentine’s Day, and Bengaluru contributes about 60% of the exports, industry sources said. Roses from here are being airlifted to Malayasia, Singapore, West Asian countries, Australia, New Zealand, and several European countries.

    While the average price for a rose stem hovers between ₹5 and ₹6 during normal days, it is expected to double over the next couple of days.

    Bridging the shortfall

    “Taj Mahal has larger bud and longer shelf life than other red rose varieties cultivated here. In fact, this year Taj Mahal will be accounting for about 95% of the exports while the First Red variety will account for a small portion,” said general secretary of the South India Floriculture Association Jayaprakash Rao. He said Kenya and Ethiopia are the largest suppliers of roses, and the Indian roses only bridge the shortfall, which explains a modest year-on-year growth in exports.

    The IFAB, which is the largest flower auction house in the country, handling about 1.5 lakh roses daily, has been handling nearly 5 lakh roses every day during this season that is expected to last till February 11.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bengaluru / by Special Correspondent / Bengaluru – February 11th, 2017

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    Ayyappa Masagi has turned almost 26,000 hectares of dryland into wetland, rejuvenated thousands of ponds, lakes and borewells, and successfully executed rainwater harvesting projects for nearly 170 industries in and around Bengaluru. A look by M.A. Siraj

    “India gets enough rains to fulfill its needs — domestic, agricultural, industrial, commercial — provided water conservation efforts are taken on a war footing. Even with the utmost efficiency, we can conserve only 40% of water the rains brings to us annually. Another 50% will inevitably run off into the water bodies to enable navigation, fishing, boating, religious rituals and all other activities conceivable with water.”

    The statement inspires hope, given the reports of water scarcity from diverse areas. This comes from Ayyappa Masagi, who has come to be known as ‘Water Gandhi’ in villages skirting the Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh border. Masagi, an engineer by training, has turned almost 26,000 hectares of dryland into wetland, rejuvenated thousands of ponds, lakes and borewells and successfully executed rainwater harvesting projects for nearly 170 industries in and around Bengaluru.

    For nearly 15 years, Masagi has been leading a crusade aimed at making India a ‘water-efficient nation’. According to him, if all the rainwater that pours over Bengaluru (i.e., 827 sq. km. BBMP area with 100 cm annual rainfall) could be collected for a year, it could be sufficient for meeting the needs of the city and its people for three years. “Suppose we raise a boundary wall over the entire municipal area and allow no water to run off or percolate, the water level would go up to one metre in the obtaining large well,” he visualises.

    An unassuming man, Masagi says India is currently categorised under ‘water stressed’ countries with several areas being perpetually drought-prone. But the country has enough potential to emerge as a water-rich nation. “Currently 2 to 3% of rainwater percolates into the ground nationally. If we can harvest around 35% of the annual precipitation and reuse or recycle grey water from homes, we need not look for grandiose river-linking projects or billion-dollar irrigation schemes,” he claims.

    Water sufficiency

    Charity begins at home. And Masagi who worked for Larsen & Toubro for 26 years (he took VRS to realise his dream of making people ‘water-literate’), applied his ideas on his own 23 x 33 ft. house in Sahakarnagar in Amrutahalli suburbs of the city. The three-storeyed building that currently accommodates five families, survives on just a 68-feet borewell since 1986 when the house was constructed. Besides the borewell and harvested rainwater, he recycles grey water.


    Masagi’s techniques involve collecting, pre-filtering and filtering rainwater underground to recharge the subsoil natural springs. He first supervises the land and constructs ponds and filtration wells in keeping with the gradient. The ponds are laid with stones, gravel and sand and if necessary polypropylene sheet underneath to stop percolation. In order to minimise waste, he advises drip irrigation through a maze of tubes that take the water to the roots of the plants. He dug 32 soak pits (10ft. x 10ft. x 10ft.) and constructed 11 infiltration wells in his four-acre farm in Holavanahalli (in Koratagere taluk) in Tumakuru district, 82 km north of Bengaluru. This arrangement allows him to conserve enough water to draw 80,000 litres of the precious liquid everyday throughout the year whereby nearly 7,000 trees are irrigated through drip network and sprinklers.

    Masagi has honed his skills through practice and has perfected numbers. According to him 4,000 litres of water if collected over an acre (i.e., around 44,000 sq. ft. area) will fill it ankle-deep (i.e., 4 inches deep). So all that water he draws in a day can fill up a nearly two-acre farm with ankle-deep water.

    Island of greenery

    Move over 80 km east to another farm in Subbrayapet village in Hindupur taluk across the border from Karnataka. Masagi’s water conservation techniques have turned an 85-acre farm in the perennially drought-prone area into an island of greenery amid vast stretches of dry farms. The annual precipitation in the area which is part of Rayalaseema, is just around 35 cm. But four ponds and 10,000 pits dug by Masagi harvest nearly 18 to 20 crore litres of water annually. Masagi and his group of friends bought this land in 2014 which is located 40 km from Hindupur town. They are now raising 25,000 saplings into trees, of which 60% fall into the category of forestry (i.e., mahogany, Arjuna terminalia, rosewood, jamun etc) while the remaining are orchard trees. Looking at the massive effort at greening the drought-prone land, the Andhra Pradesh Government has offered him two solar-operated pumps of 5 horsepower. Besides the trees, the farm is being used for animal husbandry with dozens of cattle heads and sheep being reared on it. The ten labourers who work on the farm use a gobar gas plant for their cooking needs.

    Own expertise

    Ayyappa Masagi’s family hails from Nagaral village in Gadag district. He recalls his childhood days when his mother would rise at 3 a.m. to fetch a few pails of water from a well three km away. Raised in dire poverty, Masagi would see the roots of problem in lack of access to sustainable supplies of water and slowly grew aware of the ways to ensure stable supplies. His first appointment was at BEML in Bengaluru after he earned a diploma in mechanical engineering. Still later while working at Larsen & Toubro, he studied the problem closely and developed his own expertise to conserve, store and recycle water.

    Water literacy

    It was in 2003 that he plunged into water conservation headlong despite his family’s opposition. He formed the NGO Water Literacy Foundation in 2005 and took up programmes for educating farmers, industries and urban households. He has conducted 7,000 programmes in 13 States in 14 years. He was helped by the Deshpande Foundation in Hubballi to develop water resources in 18 villages. In 2009, he was conferred Jamnalal Bajaj National Award for Application of Science and Technology for Rural Development. He helped several developers (Sobha, Mangalya Suryodaya, Mahaveer Zephyr etc), IT companies (Wipro, Tata Elexi, Tyco Electronics etc), apartments and educational institutions in implementing rainwater harvesting techniques. He has been honoured with titles like ‘Indian Water Doctor’, ‘Water Gandhi’ and ‘Doctor of Barren Borewells’ by various organisations.

    Masagi says the City today requires 130 crore litres of water a day but the BWSSB supplies just about 90 crore litres. The City could harvest 34 crore litres of rainwater falling on 42 km track of the Namma Metro itself.

    (Masagi can be reached at

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Life & Style> Homes and Gardens / February 03rd, 2017

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    February 7th, 2017adminAgriculture, Records, All, Science & Technology


    Mysuru :

    A five-day national workshop on tribal healers and tribal medicines organised jointly by Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS), Southern Regional Centre and Anthropological Survey of India (ASI), Bogadi, Mysuru, began at IGRMS premises on Irwin Road (near Sub-urban bus stand) in the city this morning.

    Speaking after inaugurating the workshop, Head of IGRMS, Bhopal, Prof. Sarit Kumar Chaudhuri said the workshop is aimed at bringing all tribal healers on a single platform for display of rare tribal medicines and to demonstrate tribal healing practices from different States of the country. Pointing out that traditional health practices across the country is diversified with changing cultures, diverse ecological conditions, geography, climate and vegetation, Prof. Chaudhuri said that every State has its own and unique traditional health practices.

    Highlighting the role of tribals in ethno-medicinal practices, he underlined the need for appropriate documentation of medicinal plant species and unearthing the ethno-botanical knowledge among tribal communities.

    IGRMS, Mysuru Incharge Director Vijay Mohan, ex-Director P.K. Mishra, ASI, Mysuru staff Nilanjan Katuve, Social Anthropologist from Ooty Dr. Dekka Parthasarathy, Horticulture Assistant from Bhopal Dheer Singh and others were present.

    More than 60 tribal healers from Karnataka, AP, Kerala, TN, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, MP and Uttarakhand are taking part in this 5-day event which concludes on Feb.8.

    The event also features Kerala massage and stream bath. For more details call: 2448231.

    source: / Star of Mysore / Home> General News / February 04th, 2017

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