Kodagu First a Celebration. Positive News, Facts & Achievements about Kodagu, Coorgs and the People of Kodagu – here at Home and Overseas
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    The Cauvery river, considered the state's lifeline, has shrunk into a narrow strip today

    The Cauvery river, considered the state’s lifeline, has shrunk into a narrow strip today

    Bengaluru :

    The first drought reported in the recent history of Kodagu district, the birthplace of river Cauvery, seems to have woken up the state government, spiritual organizations and environmentalists.

    In what is believed to be a first-of-its-kind initiative, they have joined hands to take up conservation and management to rejuvenate and restore the river, considered the state’s lifeline, to its former glory. The plan is to restore the flora and fauna of the river’s tributaries in Kodagu with native trees, shrubs and flowers, besides controlling erosion, curbing water-intensive crops like paddy and restricting sand mining in the waterbody.

    “In association with the Art of Living and Kodagu district administration, we have started a five-year programme for the restoration of the river which has shrunk into a narrow strip over the years due to poor monsoon and unrestricted sand mining activities,” said C G Kushalappa, dean of College of Social forestry, Ponnampet, Kodagu, which is attached to University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences, Shivamogga.

    To start with, Kushalappa said they have chosen a 1km stretch on the banks of river Lakshmanatirtha, a major tributary of Cauvery in Kodagu, starting from Nittur village towards Srimangala in Virajpet taluk. Depending on the success of this pilot project, it will be gradually extended to other parts of Kodagu where the river flows.

    Kushalappa said conservation work would be taken up across 20 metres on both sides of Lakshmanatirtha for five years. “As part of the programme, we’ll visit farmers/planters and request them to give up paddy cultivation close to the river by offering them monetary incentives. They’ll also be encouraged to go for horticulture crops,” he added.

    To ensure a free-flowing river, an action plan has been charted out that includes curbing soil erosion and pollution, planting trees and shrubs of local varieties that existed close to the river since ages and curbing sand mining and fishing activities. “We have to treat different areas differently. While in some areas, rebuilding bunds will be the priority, in others, plantation, including bamboo and pongamia pinnata (honge tree), may be needed. While there are areas where we need to stop pesticides from entering the water, others have issues of encroachment,” said Guddappa M Devagiri, who is overseeing the drive.

    That’s not all. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’s Tamil Nadu-based Isha Foundation, which was part of an initiative by the Madhya Pradesh government to restore river Narmada, is reportedly is in talks with the government to launch a similar initiative in Karnataka, said a senior official of Kodagu Zilla panchayat.

    He said the foundation plans to take up a massive tree plantation drive on the banks of Cauvery from Bhagamandala, the confluence of three rivers (Cauvery, Kanika and the Sujyothithe) in Kodagu to Krishnaraja Sagar reservoir in Mandya by involving volunteers. “This project would also involve cooperation from people living in nearby areas, saints and ashrams that have been active in Narmada conservation and all those who care for river conservation and management,” he added.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Bangalore News / by ManuAiyappa Kanathanada / TNN / July 13th, 2017

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    In 2017-18, three human and 11 elephant deaths have been reported till July 10. DH file photo.

    In 2017-18, three human and 11 elephant deaths have been reported till July 10. DH file photo.

    The Forest Department is planning to set up a Coorg Foundation to address the increasing incidents of man-elephant conflict in Kodagu district which has a large pachyderm population.

    This is the first time that the department is creating a foundation for a territorial area. It has already set up similar bodies in the tiger reserves of Kali, Bandipur and Nagarahole with a focus on man-tiger conflict to mobilise funds and to attend to the affected families.

    The Coorg Foundation will focus on man-animal conflict in general and man-elephant conflict in particular. It will address the needs of the families affected by such conflicts.

    “Our job does not end with giving a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family of a person who dies in conflict with elephants. We want to ensure that the education of the victim’s children is not affected and we will employ his wife, if needed. We will also provide for the affected family through the foundation,” P Anur Reddy, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), told DH.

    He continued: “We have chosen this district because many incidents of man-elephant conflict have happened in Kodagu. Setting up a foundation is in addition to the work already initiated by the department to reduce these conflicts. The foundation will do some hand-holding exercise for people and the affected families.”

    In 2015-16, nine elephants and 13 people died in such conflicts in three divisions in Kodagu district (Madikeri, Madikeri territorial and Virajpet), Forest Department records show. In 2016-17, eight elephants and nine people were killed. In 2017-18, three human and 11 elephant deaths have been reported till July 10.

    The proposal on the foundation has been sent to the state government for final approval. Work will start once the government approval comes, Reddy said.

    The Forest Department, the wildlife division, village forest committees and eco-tourism units will contribute for the foundation, besides raising funds locally.

    The foundation will be headed by the chief conservator of forests, Kodagu. The deputy conservators of forests of all three divisions, the heads of village forest committees and local administrators will also be a part of it.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> State / by Bosky Khanna / DH News Service / Bengaluru – July 11th, 2017

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    Bengaluru :

    A group of environmentalists and activists has come together to try and change the present narrative of development so that Kodagu doesn’t fall prey to unchecked expansion and urbanization.

    During their meeting, the activists agreed to come up with an action plan to safeguard Cauvery’s catchment area in Kodagu and prevent upcoming railway and highway projects from harming the environment.

    Citing the felling of 54,000 trees for the MysoreKozhikode power line via Kodagu, Devika Devaiah, from Save River Cauvery, said such situations shouldn’t be allowed to happen again. Colonel C P Muthanna, president of Coorg Wildlife Society, pointed out that the main stakeholders are not only the inhabitants of Kodagu, but also those living downstream including the residents of Bengaluru, who will be severely affected by water shortage and deforestation. Naresh Narasimhan of Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) said sustainable models of tourism should be introduced in the region. “Development has started to mean destruction. Every project is seen as a way to make money. The reason we were successful in bringing a halt to the steel flyover pro ject was because we pointed out how procedures were bypassed,” he said.

    Prakash Belawadi, also from CfB, said categorization of the Cauvery Basin and Talacauvery as world heritage sites would help in their preservation. “We should not let the region get exploited and allow more treecutting. International attention is required to safeguard it. Petitioning the National Green Tribunal would be a good move to get legal backing,” he said.

    The group also discussed protection of endangered animal species, prevention of unruly urbanization due to transportation projects and acting against commercial lobbies with vested interests.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> News> City News> Bangalore News / by Arpita Raj / TNN / July 02nd, 2017

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    Four elephants were electricuted in an estate in Kodagu.

    Four elephants were electricuted in an estate in Kodagu.

    Following the electrocution of four elephants at an estate in Kodagu on Tuesday, the Forest department has filed a case of abetment and hunting against Chamundeshwari Electricity Corporation Limited (Cesc).

    This is the second such case filed against the power supply corporation this year. This time the Forest department has filed a case after four female elephants came in contact with a snapped high tension live wire at Ammathi Vontiangadi village in Virajpet, Kodagu and died on the spot on Tuesday.

    Manoj Kumar, Chief Conservator of Forests, Kodagu Circle, told DH that the case was filed against Cesc and not the estate owner as the deaths were not because of his negligence. A vigilance committee has also been formed to investigate the case. The committee will file a report detailing the causes and practical remedies.

    During an interaction with Ravi Kumar, additional chief secretary, Environment, Forest and Ecology, in Kodagu on Wednesday, the Energy department showed interest in joining hands with the Forest department to shift all the existing and new cables under ground.

    “Shifting of cables will cost around Rs 3,000 crore. Instead, the department can spend Rs 200 crore on strengthening and enhancing forest areas and corridors. Following the high court orders, the power supply companies have invested crores of rupees in erecting 22,000 poles to ensure that cables are not hanging, posing threat to the elephants. But this has shown limited effect,” Kumar said.

    Meanwhile, the Forest department has intensified the search for land around the forest patches and near the elephant corridors to purchase them and increase the forest patch. A senior Forest department official said that since the estate owners are also worried, getting land with the funds assured by the state government will be easy and quick.

    “We have also started training estate owners and workers on how to react when confronted with an elephant. Erecting more fences will only aggravate the problem. There is a need for people to understand the problem. The department has spent around Rs 1 crore towards crop loss compensation in last one year. The number of conflict cases have also increased. Due to drought over the last two years, some estate owners have extended their support in helping us resolve man-elephant conflict,” Kumar added.

    WhatsApp group formed

    For the first time, the Forest and Energy departments together have created a WhatsApp group for Kodagu division. They have brought all the ground staff of both the departments together to give quick ground information and provide timely help.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> State / by Bosky Khanna / DH News Sercive, Bengaluru / June 30th, 2017

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    June 30th, 2017adminAgriculture, Business & Economy

    Decline in rainfall forces govt to extend scheme to Malnad.

    The Krishi Bhagya scheme, introduced by the state government to help farmers, has been extended to Malnad, hilly areas and coastal districts.

    Accordingly, the scheme will be introduced in Kodagu in the current year. The scheme was implemented in 2014-15 to help farmers cultivate dry land, mainly due to vagaries of monsoon and was restricted to 23 districts and 107 taluks.

    The farming activities in district, however, had taken a set back the last few years with deficit rain. There has been decline in rainfall over the years in Kushalnagar, Somwa­rpet, Shanthalli, Shanivarasanthe and Kodlipete region.

    “Although the district has the Harangi reservoir, it has covered only 2,000 hectare farm land. About 400 hectare land was irrigated through the Chiklihole dam. The government introduced the scheme aimed at harvesting rainwater to protect crop during a crucial time through farm ponds. It also supports horticulture crops, mixed cropping and dairy farming” Agriculture Department joint director K Ramappa told DH.

    “Financial assistance will be provided for digging farm ponds, subsidy for diesel or solar pump sets. In the scheme, around 90% subsidy was given to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes beneficiaries and 80% to the general category beneficiaries, 50% subsidy for a polyhouse,” he added.

    “The application forms are available at the offices of the joint director and the assistant agriculture officer and the Raitha Samparka Kendra. The target in the district is to dig 300 farm ponds,” said Ramappa.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> District / by Aditya K A / DH News Service / Madikeri – June 21st, 2017

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    Madikeri :

    Jubilant Congress supporters celebrated the loan waiver scheme announced by CM Siddaramaiah to distressed farmers in the city.

    Napoklu block congress President B S Ramanath led the procession with former President Naramonda Umesh, state forest development board vice President Padmini Ponappa also attended.

    Chanting pro-government slogans, the procession passed through private bus stand and through main roads of the city. Sweets also distributed to public.

    By waiving farmer’s loans the Congress government shows that its policies are pro farmer and urged Central Government to step in to waive loans from nationalised bank, as the UPA government done during former PM Manmohan tenure.

    Speaking to reporters, district congress labour union president V P Shashidar said, by announcing farmer loan waiver up to 50,000 rupees, the state government came to the rescue of poor farmers who are debt ridden.

    Former district president KK Manjunath while speaking on the occasion said, the Congress government policies are always pro poor and farmer loan waiver is an another bold step, opined the leader.

    -(KCI,NAV)

    source: http://www.citytoday.news / CityToday / Home> Headlines> Prime News – Karnataka / by CT Bureau / Madikeri – June 28th, 2017

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    Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurating a public meeting at Mudigere in Chikkamagaluru district on Thursday.

    Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurating a public meeting at Mudigere in Chikkamagaluru district on Thursday.

    Demands include support to coffee cultivation and checking elephant menace

    Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman interacted with coffee growers at Mudigere on Thursday. The growers placed a number of demands before her, including finding a permanent solution to the elephant menace.

    Representatives of Karnataka Growers’ Federation, Black Gold League and other organisations participated in the interaction.

    B.L. Shankar, coffee planter and former MP, said the production of Arabica coffee had been declining every year. He wanted the government to take steps to support Arabica cultivation.

    “Coffee cultivation has been hit by many problems; there is also shortage of workers,” he said.

    Lok Sabha member Shobha Karandlaje stressed the need for research to address the stem borer attack, which had been causing huge losses to the growers.

    C.T. Ravi, Chikkamagaluru MLA, wanted an ESI hospital in Chikkamagaluru, as there were a large number of workers in the plantations. Black Gold League president Kenjige Keshava appealed to the Minister to set up a spices park in Chikkamagaluru.

    Interest waiver

    Representatives of Karnataka Growers’ Federation sought waiver of interest on coffee loans and also five instalments to repay the dues.

    B.S. Jairam, chairman of the federation, told The Hindu: “We submitted a memorandum listing all our demands. We have sought waiver of interest and bringing down interest on loans. We have also urged the government to take measures to check elephant menace in Hassan, Chikkamagaluru and Kodagu districts.”

    Ms. Sitharaman said the government would take steps to increase coffee production and expand its market overseas.

    “Growers in Andhra Pradesh, who began coffee cultivation only a few years ago, have succeeded in marketing it in America. If they could do, why can’t the growers in Hassan, Kodagu and Chikkamagaluru do?” she asked. The government was committed to encouraging coffee growers. After many years, and for the first time, a coffee planter had been appointed chairman of the Coffee Board. This showed the government’s commitment to supporting coffee cultivation, she added.

    Coffee Board chairman M.S. Boje Gowda was present during the interaction.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States / by Special Correspondent / Chikkamagaluru – June 16th, 2017

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    The Travancore wolf snake sprawled near the bathroom mirror of the author’s room / Photo by Medha Saxena

    The Travancore wolf snake sprawled near the bathroom mirror of the author’s room /
    Photo by Medha Saxena

    Homestays in Coorg offer visitors a glimpse of a unique eco-system. Coorg or Kodagu is part of the Western Ghats that have been declared a world heritage site. It has many plantations that host hundreds of threatened species

    It had beautiful dark coffee-brown scales with yellowish stripes and a sinuous slender body stretching no more than two feet.

    The languid Tranvancore Wolf snake lay sprawled on the bathroom mirror. It had sneaked in to avoid the gentle night precipitation and was basking in the steam left behind by the hot water running earlier. It was hard to miss once the solar light was flicked on.

    Gradually, it coiled back and slithered to a safer, darker corner behind the mirror. I was not sure at the time if it was venomous since it resembles the common Krait and is often targeted for the same reason. Suffice to say that I lay awake for most part of the night, wondering whether my nocturnal guest would like to take a peek at the room as well.

    This was my penultimate night at the Rainforest Ecolodge on Mojo Plantation nestled at 1100-m altitude in Kodagu, Karnataka. The monsoon in a rainforest comes with its own delights and surprises. Leeches are a case in point. They crave to attach themselves to any warm body passing by to satisfy their desire for blood. But their presence also indicates a fertile soil and ecosystem. They are both the predator and the prey.

    Beautiful butterflies found in plenty during monsoon in the rain forests of the Western Ghats /   Photo by Medha Saxena

    Beautiful butterflies found in plenty during monsoon in the rain forests of the Western Ghats / Photo by Medha Saxena

    Then there are the frogs, toads, spiders, wasps, dragon flies, lizards, snakes and birds. Their tribe multiplies and diversifies with every shower of water it seems. And the heavens provide them plenty of those here. But they only proliferate in undisturbed habitats. Each one of the creatures that call the rainforest home have adapted themselves to it over the millennia.

    Each adaptation and evolution is a fascinating revelation. Weaver ants are a marvellous example. Thousands of them coordinate with each other to stitch together nests out of leaves much bigger than themselves.

    Trees themselves appear like curated art installations climbing vertically and horizontally. They are draped with vines, creepers, fungi, moss, lichen, orchids and a variety of other epiphytes that resemble emeralds and jewels on a bride. They glisten and shine best on bright wet mornings.

    Twinkling fireflies circle the trunks during nightfall. The valley was covered with a million of these mating fireflies a month or so earlier in a perfect ‘symphony in light’ as the student-interns Meghna and Lily, working at the plantation recounted.

    Being in a rainforest during monsoon is also a musical extravaganza. Its inhabitants are engaged in a synchronised performance at all hours of the day. Louder than revellers in a marriage procession the frogs and cicadas often accompany the sound of rain, streams and wind. The cacophony is coupled with serenity in equal measure. If you listen hard enough everything in the forest sings. But how many of us really listen?

    Geography and Bio-Diversity

    Kodagu is part of the wide-ranging Western Ghats, older than Himalayas, spanning from Gujarat to Kerala for 1600 kms. It directly intercepts the Indian monsoon winds. One of the eight ‘hottest hotspots’ of biodiversity, it has 325 globally threatened species (flora, fauna, bird, amphibian, reptile and fish) and many that are unique to this area.

    The lush green forests also help with carbon sequestration and reduction of global warming /   Photo by Medha Saxena

    The lush green forests also help with carbon sequestration and reduction of global warming / Photo by Medha Saxena

    This mosaic of natural beauty was inscribed as a world heritage site in 2012 meant to be protected by the Western Ghats Natural Heritage Management Committee (WGNHMC) and receive international support.

    The tag was achieved after much opposition by states that feared that development will be impeded. Critics said that an informed consent was not obtained from the gram sabhas and Forest Rights Act 2006 was not implemented properly during drafting of the proposal for grant of heritage status. It could also violate the historic customary rights of the adivasis.

    The forests of Western Ghats, however, aid economy and transportation by keeping the ports and creeks along western coast silt-free. The forests and mangroves also help with carbon sequestration and reduction of global warming.

    Other critics say that the declaration has no effect on damaging developmental activities. As recently as June 2, 2017, there were protests in Madikeri over destruction of wildlife habitat, Cauvery river catchment area and forest land for the construction of railways, highways and power lines. As more of the landscape is disturbed there is more human-elephant conflict. Illegal construction, mining and corruption have caused water scarcity during summer months in an area that is generally overfed by rains.

    The ensuing struggles repeatedly point us back towards essential questions of what is development. Who is it meant for? Who do the forests belong to? And how are decisions to be taken in the interest of all parties concerned?

    Organic Farming

    In ancient times the exotic products of the Kodagu region were traded along the Silk Route and on oceanic routes via the Arabian Sea. Cardamom and black pepper were indigenous to this region. Rice was the main crop. Coffee was brought from Yemen to Chikmagalur in India by Baba Budanin in 1670.

    Legend has it that the Coorg Rajas may have given land to Moplahs near Nalkanad who introduced coffee seeds to the area. In the mid-1850s many European coffee plantations sprung up followed by private Indian ones. When the British left, they sold their lands to the local population. There are strong remnants of British culture here, like the North Coorg Planters Club dating back to 1883.

    A walk through the greens gives an idea of the rich biodiversity of the region /  Photo by Medha Saxena

    A walk through the greens gives an idea of the rich biodiversity of the region / Photo by Medha Saxena

    Now a good chunk of the land is covered in coffee, tea, rubber and palm oil plantations. Commercial chemical-based farming and unsustainable agriculture have eroded this landscape. Smaller landholders and farmers still find it difficult to turn a good crop and farmer suicides affect the Western Ghats as well. There has been an attempt to set up farmer-owned companies by Agriculture and Organic Farming Group India. Hundreds of homestays have also come up in Coorg in the past few years to complement agricultural income.

    Sujata and Anurag Goel, owners of Mojo Plantation, have successfully experimented with organic farming doing multiple cropping with cardamom, black pepper, coffee and vanilla under the shade of the rainforest. Spice trees, fruits and vegetables are also grown in open areas.

    A molecular biologist, Sujata Goel explained that fungi secrete enzymes to release nutrients from decaying wood and dead organisms. Shivani, the manager, described on a tour of the plantation that fungal mycelium act as telecommunication networks for the trees to convey threats. They are also used as biological pest control. Similarly, termites redistribute soil and recycle nitrogen. Even weeds have an important role to play as temporary hideouts for insects.

    Plants themselves synthesise compounds (terpenes, tannins, phenolics) to repel insects and convey distress signals to other plants and predators. Chemical pesticides kill the natural defence mechanisms of plants..

    The Wise, Old Relic

    Meghna and Lily recount a magnolia tree that they variously describe as a ‘tree of life’, ‘tree mother’, ‘earth mother’, ‘magical beautiful wise old relic’ that has twists, turns and huge branches that one can climb and roots that open up into giant cave systems and tunnels underneath – in the middle of a coffee plantation.

    It was ‘a metaphor for India’ for them, probably signifying layers of wisdom, age and continuity in a land of general mayhem. Neither trees nor our bodies survive in exclusion to their environment. The commune with nature is complete. If you listen carefully, everything in the forest sings.

    The author teaches in Delhi University

    source: http://www.nationalheraldindia.com / National Herald / Home / by Medha Saxena / June 10th, 2017

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    Arjun Belmar owns 34 acres in T Dasarahalli, off Tumkur Road

    Arjun Belmar owns 34 acres in T Dasarahalli, off Tumkur Road

    For close to 30 years, Arjun Belmar hasn’t spent a penny on buying coffee. He lives in the city and grows his own coffee. Yes, you read that right. He does. Belmar and his family offer proof that coffee is not only grown in Chikkamagaluru and Kodagu, but also right here in our city.

    The businessman has been growing coffee in the face of scorching summers or water scarcity. “Bengaluru is 900mt above sea level and the land can be utilised for coffee. But one needs to grow it properly in the shade,” he explains.

    When Bangalore Mirror visited his 3,000 sq ft coffee plantation, it felt like a forest in the middle of the concrete hub.

    “Years ago, T Dasarahalli was away from the city. Just about 100 people lived here and we had only one bus to our house from City Market. My father used to love plants and we grew everything on our land. Not just variety of trees and plants, we also had many cows which used to give us 200-300 lt of milk. We used to share it with whoever came to our home,” Belmar says.

    The grand old times are gone, but the family continues its green tradition. They keep bees and harvest honey too on their property.

    However, Belmar, remembers a time when they just had to dig up to half a foot to find water. “That is how we were able to grow ginger, grapes, vegetables, paddy, wheat, sugarcane, betel, pepper and other plants,” he said.

    On how they started growing coffee, Belmar’s explanation is simple – Everyone in the family loves coffee and wanted to taste the authentic thing. “We used to have our own cows and buffaloes for milk and grow sugarcane for jaggery and sugar. Why then, can we not have our own coffee plants, we thought. Then we went to
    Chikkamagaluru in search of the plants.”

    Though they were unsure if coffee plants can survive in Bengaluru, they kept going with their plan. “Today we have around 50 plants,” he says. “We had other bigger trees on the land. Coffee grows in semi-shade so we put them between these big trees. We watered the plants continuously and saw the first flowers on the plants,” he says.

    He recalls that his father had tears in his eyes when he saw the coffee plant flowering at last.

    “Each coffee plant gives around 2-3kg of coffee fruit. In a year, we get close to 50 kg. We pluck the fruit and clean it and keep it for drying. Once it has dried properly, we give it for processing and get it done in a customised manner. We tell them whether we want it with or without chicory,” he said.

    His friends and family, who visit the farm, are in awe of the plantation. “My friends used to ask me if I were living in Madikeri or Bengaluru. They love the coffee we give them in packets. People who visit us from abroad wait to visit again to refill their stock,” he said.

    Belmar also grows the cocoa plant. He has close to 150 cocoa plants, the seeds of which he sends to Mangaluru for processing.

    “We drink premium coffee personally handled by us. It is better than the coffee grown in Chikkamagaluru,” he says, with a hint of pride.

    It’s all about the honey

    Belmar says they started keeping bees as his grandfather was one of the founders of the Bee-keepers Association in the city. “We have been harvesting honey on our land for the past 40-50 years. Keeping bees easy here because of the rich bio-diversity.”

    Bee-keeping in the city dates to the times the British were here. Belmar says, “It was during the British rule that the Bee-keepers Association began. These days, people are trained to keep bees and harvest honey.”

    He has one special information about the honey. “When the Neem tree is flowering, the honey tastes best and it is clear. In the mango season, the honey is quite reddish and very sweet. When the tamarind tree is flowering, honey is a little sour. For each season, we have a different flavour of honey.”

    source: http://www.bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com / Bangalore Mirror / Home> Bangalore> Others / by Kumaran P, Bangalore Mirror Bureau / May 10th, 2017

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    Fresh brew Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the launch of the Coffee Board’s soil health cards and web portal, in Bengaluru on Friday. To her right are GV Krishna Rau, Advisor -Agricultural Marketing & Tribal Welfare, Government of Andhra Pradesh, and Arati Dewan Gupta, Director of Finance, Coffee Board

    Fresh brew Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the launch of the Coffee Board’s soil health cards and web portal, in Bengaluru on Friday. To her right are GV Krishna Rau, Advisor -Agricultural Marketing & Tribal Welfare, Government of Andhra Pradesh, and Arati Dewan Gupta, Director of Finance, Coffee Board

    Bengaluru :

    Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman exhorted the Coffee Board on Friday to take up aggressive branding and promotion of Indian coffees.

    “It’s the age of branding. You need to brand everything. You need to have high profile marketing for everything to reach even the lower end of the pyramid,” she said.

    The Minister was speaking at an event where she distributed soil health cards to growers and launched a web portal — a Coffee Board initiative towards soil fertility appraisal and soil health monitoring in traditional growing regions.

    Citing the recent example of Araku Valley coffee making its presence felt in Paris with the support of industry, Sitharaman called upon the Board to “break the usual trodden path” in branding and marketing of Indian coffee. “If Araku on its own can go to Paris, Coffee Board should have pushed itself and said — I will market Coorg coffee. We should brand it,” she said. Branding ensures the market is sustained, she added.

    Noting that countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and even Myanmar have made long strides in packaging, value addition, presenting and marketing of coffee, the Commerce Minister said: “The Coffee Board obviously is now going to have to be on its toes.”

    Sitharaman further said newer areas such as Uttarakhand and Himachal are attempting to grow arabica coffee. “The new growing areas have a great deal of enthusiasm and the energy they have is fantastic,” she remarked while expressing confidence that there will be expansion in area under coffee.

    The Commerce Minister also indicated that the ambit of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana will be expanded to even small coffee growers, who have been facing the brunt of erratic rainfall pattern in recent years.

    About 98 per cent of India’s coffee holdings are less than 10 hectares and held by small growers.

    The Central Coffee Research Institute (CCRI), in collaboration with the National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Policy, has started creating a database on the soil health in major growing regions and rendering site specific nutrient recommendations through soil health cards.

    “The card is designed to present information on soil health indicators like pH, electrical conductivity, organic carbon and micro nutrient content, among others. It will enable judicious use of fertilisers and correct nutrient deficiencies,” said Y Raghuramulu, Director, CCRI.

    Coffee flavoured stamp
    After coming out with sandalwood, rose and jasmine flavoured stamps, the Postal Department will launch a stamp that will have coffee flavour.

    Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha will be releasing the stamp in Bengaluru on Sunday that will be a collector’s version, Sitharaman said. The coffee flavoured stamp will be priced at ₹100. “There is a lot of interest in Government of India in promotion of coffee. The coffee flavoured stamp is going to induce a lot of people to taste coffee,” she added.

    source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com / Business Line / Home> Markets> Commodities / by The Hindu Bureau / April 21st, 2017

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