Chemical pesticides: greater worry then pests!

It is estimated that India loses approximately 18% of the crop yield due to pest attacks each year. To control harmful pest and improve yields, farmers start using chemical based pesticides but unfortunately uncontrolled use of chemical pesticides adversely affects our environment and enters into food products. People think that pesticides are present only on outer layer of vegetable and fruits but studies say that pulses, rice and vegetables have considerable amount of pesticides even if they are washed.  Studies have also shown that chemicals present in pesticides leads to severe diseases such as blindness, infertility, cancer and nervous disability.

These pesticides leads to bio magnification also as they have long lasting chemical properties. They remain in small organism for a long time and their strength increases. By the time they reach into food chain, their chemical concentration will be magnified in huge proportion and result into bio magnification. They can also flow with rain water into nearby streams or seep through the soil into ground water and which may cause harm to untargeted animals and plants in other areas also and eventually adversely affects ecosystem. With continuous use chemical pesticides, pests develop resistance to towards pesticides thus we have to use stronger chemical to control pest which is again more harmful to us.

To deal with this problem, farmers should take a road of organic farming and should use organic pesticides. India has a rich history of using organic pesticides like Neem,  Kariyat, Acoru and Piper so while choosing pesticides one should look for contents of the product and should go for organic and herbal products. Let’s follow the sustainable road of organic faming and save our environment and our health.

 

 

 

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Livestock: an opportunity for farmers

Agriculture plays a major role in Indian economy and it has three components such as Crops, Fisheries and Livestock. Crops have been contributing the biggest share but in recent years Livestock is gradually improving its performance. Livestock is practice of raising animals for commercial purpose and some of examples can be horses, cows, and sheep etc. In year 2011-2012, Livestock has contributed 28 % of agricultural GDP and 5% to country’s growth.

In India Livestock are being used for various purposes, still small farmers use livestock for draught power, cultivating land and transportation etc. In recent years it has been observed that non food functions are declining and major livestock market is dominated by animal products such as milk, eggs and chicken. India is largest milk producing country and egg and meat market is also witnessing steady growth. The global market for animal food is expending fast pace especially in developed countries so it becomes an opportunity for India to improve its global share. A recent study has also shown that Livestock can play a crucial role in poverty reduction in rural India as 95% of Livestock resources are from rural India and more than two-third Indian farm household are associated with Livestock.

India has a huge population of various Livestock such as cow, buffalo, sheep and Goat etc still there are many constrain and challenges. One of them is variation in yield, the production level varies state to state in India and this becomes a matter of concern. People do not want to spend much on Livestock and feed and fodder plays major role in productivity of cattle. Again feed and fodder is a regional problem as some of Indian states grow it in excess and it is being wasted and some of states face a deficit of it. Veterinary services are another issues associated with Livestock, weak supplies of medicines and vaccine have been witnessed and eventually various diseases have been affecting production and yields.If we come over these issues, opportunities associated with Livestock might help lots of Indian farmers.

Reference: Pratap S Birthal, Digvijay S Negi, Livestock for Higher, Sustainable and Inclusive Agricultural Growth, Review of Rural Affairs

Rejuvenate yourself with Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb with rich history of treating many ailments in Ayurveda. It is known with various names in various parts of India such as Asgand , Asvagandhi and as Withania somnifera in scientific terms. It is an medicinal herb.

Ashwagandha is known as a cure for depression and anxiety in Ayurveda because it enhances activity of acetycholine in our brain. Acetycholine is a kind of neurotransmitter and neurotransmitters are medium to communicate one message from one brain cell to another and acetycholine is particularly involves in memory, learning and attention seeking process. It also soothes and calms other neurotransmitter which eventually works as stress reliever and anti anxiety agent and memory booster for us.

It also has strong adaptogenic properties, this adaptogenic quality helps our body to adapt easily towards environmental as well as psychological stress, and it also supports body systems such as nervous, immune and hormonal system to maintain a balance among them.

Ashwagandha has also shown antioxidant properties and it reduces free radicals in our body which works as anti ageing agent. It has also been observed that a group consuming Ashwagandha consistently witnessed a significant improvement in hemoglobin, red blood cell count, hair melanin, and seated stature.

Substances present in it, also helps to decrease blood glucose level and serum cholesterol which eventually helps to prevent from cardiovascular problems and improves Hematopoiesis which is the process to create new blood cells to replace those that are aging, and it also involves developing immature cells. Ashwagandha all together improves immune system and generate a sense of well being.

Reference: Alternative Medicine Review, Volume-9, 2004

Organic Farming: A sustainable road

Agriculture is a direct interaction between nature and farmer.  In order to keep this interaction healthy one has to treat soil well with proper ingredients that will enhance the quality of ecosystem in general and that of soil in particular. However, in the name of producing more, we have taken a wrong and unsustainable road of chemical farming. These chemical based agricultural products may give temporary good results in short term but they have negative impact on productivity in long run. It leads to enormous levels of chemical buildup and can result into biomagnifications in our food chain.

Organic farming is one of the several approaches in order to make agriculture sustainable. It involves achieving best agriculture production using techniques and products that do not harm the natural environment and the people or livestock who live and work in agriculture ecosystem. Still in India farmers are unaware of some facts about organic farming therefore they are not able to make profits. . Organic method requires less investment and helps to maintain fertility for long run as compare to chemical farming thus organic farmers do not need to depend upon money lenders. It also helps to avoid all kind of pollution and the most important; it enables us to produce high nutritional food. The most erroneous belief is yields are low in organic farming. It is not so, when followed properly and consistently, yields can be better than yields grown under chemical farming.  Additionally organically grown food is priced 20-30% more than conventional food, and hence yielding more money to the farmers. As per Govt. of India, approximately 190,000 acres (77,000 hectares) were under organic cultivation in year 2005. The total production of organic food in India was 120,000 tons annually, though this largely included certified forest collections.

Organic farming is a promising mode to deal with problems in agriculture especially for small farms. So farmers should be educated about the opportunities and benefits of organic farming.

 

Reference: Chandrasekhar H.M, An changing scenario of organic farming inIndia: An overview, International NGO Journal, Vol-5, pp 034-039, Feb-2010

Alarming Sign: Osteoarthritis

 There was time when osteoarthritis was considered to be old an age problem but now it is hitting youngsters also. A study says that people in their 30s are becoming more prone to Osteoarthritis in India.

Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the cartilage that acts as a cushion between bones in joints begins to wear out which results into severe joint pain in knees, hips and hands and person starts facing problems in squat, climb stairs and walking.  In case of Osteoarthritis, there can be swelling, warmth, and creaking of the affected joints, and sometimes stiffness of the joints can also occur after long periods of inactivity.

Osteoarthritis is associated with various factors such as age, obesity, history of repetitive injury or Heredity. To maintain good health and to avoid risk of Osteoarthritis, we need to be conscious and have to take continuous efforts. Maintaining ideal weight is first step to avoid risk of osteoarthritis because over weight increases stress on joints. It is a well known fact that exercise is must for optimal health and so for the health of joints. 30 minutes of moderate exercise is well recommended for joint health.

In our busy schedule or with our careless attitude, we give repetitive stress to joints in the form of awkward motions, overexertion, incorrect posture etc; we should avoid this kind of stress to maintain joint health. The most important point is not to avoid pain and consult to doctor on time so that it can be treated on time. Personal management is must to fight against Osteoarthritis and keep our self healthy.

Tackling Malnutrition

Malnutrition is a byword of many rural parts in India. It is also a main cause of deaths among children between ages 0-6 years. Various socio-economical reasons have been cited for the same by governmental as well as non-governmental organizations. Wide-spread media coverage about the malnutrition related deaths has put pressure back on the government so as to tackle this issue with a sense of urgency. The issue is very much alive and it will require strong willingness and sense of social responsibility from all the people and organizations.

Understanding this, Mr. Sachin Kad-Deshmukh, a very active distributor of Netsurf Network tried to start a local initiative. Netsurf Network is one of the largest direct selling companies in India that has health and wellness products, personal care products and organic farming products in its product portfolio. Naturamore, a health and wellness product from Netsurf Network is a nutritional food supplement, which is 100% herbal and vegetarian. It is a unique blend of Ayurveda and advanced technology. It supplements essential nutritional requirement of human body and helps to increase immunity thereby keeps body fit and healthy. Knowing the usefulness of the product and acknowledging the positive results from the millions of people, Mr. Sachin Kad-Deshmukh involved Anganwadis (A courtyard Shelter) and started giving Naturamore to the children from these anganwadis. Naturamore was distributed to more than thousand children visiting about 400 Anganwadis from Khandala, Mahabaleshwar, Wai and Javali blocks of Satara district.
A positive results were observed among children who were administered Naturamore. A decrease in grade of malnutrition was observed along with other positive changes in their weights, digestion, as well as their performance in school. It was also echoed by their parents who were very happy to see their children making progress in their studies as well as other activities.
The malnutrition in India and its scale is too huge, but such innovative steps will definitely help us tackle this problem at grass-root level. It is not only a moment t of proud for Mr. Sachin Kad-Deshmuk

Hypertension: be alert!

High Blood Pressure (BP) is a serious disorder and uncontrolled or poorly treated high BP leads to severe health problems such as congestive heart failure, stroke, bleeding in eyes and kidney failures. According to a WHO study around 900 million people are suffering from high blood pressure in Developing countries and the surprising fact is only one third people are aware of this disease, 100 million people receive treatment and 5% of them are controlled. This study also states that average BP is falling across the world but it is increasing inIndia.

Our lifestyle like poor eating habits, smoking, and alcoholism, inappropriate sleep and long working hours etc has become the main reason for high BP. In this busy world people hardly take out time for physical exercise and we have even forgotten walking which is the best physical activity, if done on regular basis can contain hypertension. Studies have also shown hereditary signs of high BP i.e. if you are suffering from hypertension then there are chances that your kid will also suffer from the same.

In order to ensure good health for us and for our future generation, there is need of conscious efforts to achieve good health. People with high risk factors such as smokers, families with high BP and heart problems should take extra care and check their BP at regular intervals. For those who are suffering from hypertension, it is suggested to reduce amount of salt and sodium in their diet, maintain weight and be physically active.

Smoking is bad for everybody and even more for hypertension patients as it injures the walls of blood vessels and hence it is highly recommended that they should quit smoking completely.  Alcohol intake can raise BP and it also affects other organs such as liver, brain and heart and causes increase in weight. Thus it is suggested to limit your alcohol intake.  A lifestyle with healthy diet and optimum physical workout is must to fight against hypertension.