March 14, 2018
Farmers near Nashik in Maharashtra on their way to the market with their tomato harvest. (Photo by Michael Foley)

There’s more to horticulture than tomatoes, onions and potatoes

While the priority given to tomato, onion and potato (TOP) farmers by the Prime Minister is a welcome move, special attention must be given to smallholder vegetable growers, since horticulture provides a nutrition and income buffer to the rural poor

March 12, 2018
Girls become dancers to escape poverty, but end up being exploited by their masters. (Photo by Gurvinder Singh)

Purulia’s nachaniyas still dance to escape destitution

Exploited by their so-called masters, the folk dancers of rural Bengal have no option but to keep dancing and entertaining to escape poverty and destitution, shunned by society and with no help from the government

March 9, 2018
A water harvesting structure in Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh helps farmers to increase the local farm moisture regime for both the summer and winter crops.

Rainwater harvesting is the best way forward for irrigation

As intensive agriculture spreads across India, there is an urgent need to encourage rainwater harvesting to irrigate multiple crops instead of the current unsustainable practice of groundwater extraction

March 5, 2018
Winter crops in over 300,000 hectares in Maharashtra have been destroyed due to hailstorms and thunderstorms in February. (Photo by Manoj Shembde)

Hailstorms devastate Marathwada, Vidarbha farmers

Sudden hailstorms have extensively damaged the winter crop in Marathwada and Vidarbha, underlining the fact that the distressed farmers need more accurate weather forecasts, speedier compensation and farmer-friendly crop insurance

March 2, 2018
Sunil and Nagamani at the Sarathi Jhalak radio station during a program. (Photo by Sudha Narasimhachar)

Community radio creates waves of change in Karnataka villages

Run primarily by women, the Sarathi Jhalak radio station has brought administrators, experts and villagers on the same platform, giving rural communities a voice

February 28, 2018
Mobile phones have become ubiquitous across much of rural India (Photo by Mark Charmer)

How to spread technology rapidly among the poor?

The remarkable spread of mobile phones and related telecom infrastructure throughout India holds important lessons on how to reach latest technology to the rural poor at a fast clip, and how unit costs can be optimized

February 26, 2018
The pond in Tarapur, reclaimed from a saltpan, will enable farmers to grow vegetables. (Photo by Hiren Kumar Bose)

Tarapur villages use saltpan to harvest water

Although land and groundwater around the Tarapur atomic plant had turned saline due to seawater ingress and presence of a saltpan, villagers have successfully redeemed and reclaimed the land

February 21, 2018
Government procurement of tur dal leaves much to be desired. (Photo by ALC India)

Tur dal farmers left in the lurch due to tardy procurement

Farmers cultivating pigeon pea continue to suffer losses because of inadequate preparation on the ground for government procurement even as India aims for self-sufficiency in lentil production

February 19, 2018
The Abadnagar check dam has not fulfilled the purpose of irrigating farms. (Photo by Gautam Sarkar)

Poorly designed check dams leave Birbhum farmers high and dry

As against government’s promise to make water available through the seasons, inadequate check dams have not brought any relief to farmers in this semi-arid region who continue to struggle for sustenance

February 14, 2018
Solutions like improved bullock carts do not cut any ice with the poor any more. (Photo by Pixabay)

What technology does the poor need?

Although it is true that the poor needs affordable technological solutions that meet their requirements, these solutions frequently fail to account for their aspirations and often do not offer what the user really wants