GMOs and pesticides create super-pests

One of the expected advantages to genetically modified crops is their proposed ability to withstand onslaughts from weeds and other pests that could damage or destroy crops. Unfortunately, that’s not the way mother nature works. Yes, these crops may be resistant to the original stains of weeds and pests they were engineered for, but they are not resistant to the new super-weeds that have come in their place.

Mutations and resistance

GMOs and pesticides create super pests 300x300 GMOs and pesticides create super pestsSimilar to bacterial infections in humans, once a host becomes resistant to a strain, that strain simply mutates so that it can stay one step ahead. The cycle then continues and new pesticides and GMOs must be formulated to withstand the new threats. These new threats; however, become more and more difficult to kill which is why stronger and more dangerously toxic pesticides must continue to be developed. This unnatural cycle cannot last forever though and the day will come when these super-weeds and super-pests will prevail.

Things are getting worse, fast

According to research professor Charles Benbrook at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at WSU, genetically engineered crops have led to an increase in total pesticide use, by 404 million pounds in the last 14 years. “Resistant weeds have become a major problem for many farmers reliant on GE crops, and are now driving up the volume of herbicide needed each year by about 25 percent,” Benbrook said. In recent years, more than two dozen weed species have become immune to Roundup’s principal ingredient, glyphosate. “Things are getting worse, fast,” says Benbrook “In order to deal with rapidly spreading resistant weeds, farmers are being forced to expand use of older, higher-risk herbicides.”

To illustrate the problem…

The use of Bt corn is a great way to illustrate the resistance problem. Bt corn is genetically changed to express the Bacillus thuringiensis toxin, which is toxic to insect pests. By law, farmers in the U.S. who plant Bt corn are required to plant non-Bt corn nearby. These non-GMO fields are to provide a location to harbor pests. The concept behind this technique is to slow the evolution of the pests’ resistance to the Bt pesticide. Clearly the problem has gotten way out of hand when there is a law that exists specifically to slow the progression of resistance in pests. Instead of recognizing that the current system is broken, big agriculture companies like Monsanto turn a blind eye and force farmers to increase the use of pesticides.

Mother Nature’s design

Mother Nature has a very special system that does not involve man-made chemicals or genetically modified crops. If fact, this is one of the very reasons mid-sized organic farming is the most efficient kind. “And how do crops survive the pests without GMOs, chemical fertilizers or pesticides?” you might ask. The answer is simple; centuries old techniques such as crop rotation, inter-cropping, residue management, roguing, regulating seed quality and applying natural insecticides are used. These sometimes labor intensive techniques have no place in the industrial agriculture system who’s goal is to automate and standardize as much of the process as possible in an attempt to turn out the largest yield and the most profits.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/insects/fad64s00.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_maize#Bt_corn

By: John McKiernan

Source: Natural News

Pakistan becomes third largest exporter of dates

Pakistan has become the third largest country in the world that is exporting dates to the rest of the world and with proper attention and appropriate interventions this sector can flourish manifold. The date sector offers substantial opportunities for export, income and employment generation in addition to economic growth of the country, said an official of Ministry of Commerce and Textile while talking to APP here on Friday.
The annual production of
dates in Pakistan is estimated at around 535,000 tonnes of which only 86,000 tonnes are exported and the rest are either consumed locally or perish, he informed.

Pakistan becomes third largest exporter of datesChief Executive Officer Harvest Trading Ahmad Jawad told media that Pakistani dates exports could be raised to $200 million from the current $28 million with proper processing and packaging. Since 1999, per acre yield of dates in Pakistan did not increase much, whereas world-wide production increased by 166 percent, he added.
Highlighting the problems, the CEO said the country lacked storage facilities and so exported some quantity of
dates while the rest perish. Thus due to these problems the country had to import dates during the month of Ramzan. “Importers of dates such as Germany, Denmark, India, Nepal, USA, UK, Afghanistan and Canada are re-exporting Pakistani dates after quality enhancement and preparation of by-products, at a price that is four to six times higher than their import price,” said Jawad.
“Of the 300 varieties of
dates produced in Pakistan, Begam Jangi of Balochistan, Aseel of Sindh and Dhakki of Dera Ismail Khan are the varieties which are sought after the world over due to their exotic taste,” said Jawad. He further said that dates could fetch many more millions of dollars if focus was given to value addition such as the use of dates in preparing date sweets, jams, chocolates and other products.
Even the damaged crop is used for medical purposes and date oil is fit for use in cosmetics. He maintained that the usage of dates increases during the winter season thus its price and demand surge. Another report by the USAID revealed that lack of awareness about the best farming practices, improper fruit handling techniques, and an absence of developed processing facilities are major constraints inhibiting profitable date production in Pakistan. Ghulam Farid, a date farm owner stated that usually the harvest season of dates starts in July in upper Sindh during the monsoon season; they remain safe due to lack of rain in these areas during harvesting.

Source: Business Recorder

ICTA fails to control high prices

Prices of essential itemsOwing to the price differential between wholesale and retail markets, essential food items were sold at higher prices in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad last week as compared to the preceding week, reveals a survey conducted by Business Recorder on Saturday.
The survey noted that the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA) and District Administration Rawalpindi have failed in establishing an affective price monitoring mechanism to control prices due to which essential food items were not being sold on uniform rates in the different markets of the twin cities. It was observed that food items, which were available in wholesale markets, were being sold on 10 to 15 percent higher rates in the retail markets. Almost all perishable food items, including vegetables and fruits were being sold on higher rate in different markets of the twin cities, while actual rate of the food items in vegetable markets were very low.
When asked about reasons behind the price differential, traders in different markets of the twin cities stated that they have to pay transport, utilities charges and rent of their shops. In case of perishable food items mixed trend was noted as prices of majority of the vegetables remain unchanged, while some vegetables registered slight increase in their prices during the week under review. Tomato was being sold at Rs 40 per kg, while it was being sold at Rs 55-60 in retail market, onion was being available at Rs 40-45 per kg in wholesale market, while it was being sold at Rs 50 per kg in retail market, potato was being available at Rs 30-35 in wholesale market, while it was being sold at Rs 40 in retail market. Similarly, 10-15 percent price differential was witnessed in other vegetables, including peas which were being available at Rs 60-65 per kg in wholesale market, while they were being sold at Rs 75-80 per kg in retail market, green chili at Rs 70 in retail market, cucumber at Rs 90-100 per kg, carrot at Rs 30 per kg, radish at Rs 30 per kg, ginger at Rs 250-280 and garlic was being sold at Rs 140-180 per kg last week as compared to the preceding week.
However, prices of different kinds of fruits almost remained stable last week as compared to the preceding week as banana was being sold at Rs 60-80 per dozen, apple at Rs 100-180 per dozen, fruiter at Rs 60- 70 per dozen, malta at Rs 80-100 per dozen and guava was being sold at Rs 70-80 per kg last week as compared to the preceding week.
While prices of non-perishable food items were also not uniform in the different retail markets of the twin cities as sugar was being sold from Rs 54 to Rs 60 per kg, moong washed was being sold at Rs 150-160 per kg, masoor washed was available at Rs 130-140 per kg, mash washed at Rs 140-160 per kg, chicken at Rs 160-175 per kg, eggs at Rs 100 per dozen and rice basmati broken was being sold at Rs 80-90 per kg last week as compared to the preceding week. The survey noted that mutton was being sold at Rs 600-620 per kg, while beef was being sold at Rs 280-300 per kg last week as compared to the preceding week.

Source: Business Recorder

How sell-off of PSM can be forestalled

Muhammad Zubair, minister of state for privatisation, said privatisation of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) can only be averted if PSM turns into profitable organisation. He was speaking at an interactive session on “Privatisation Policy and Priorities” organised by Pakistan- Korea Business and Friendship Council along with seven other business councils at a hotel here on Saturday. How sell-off of PSM can be forestalled
He said that around 2500 employees in PSM were middle and inter pass and urged the participants to come forward and turn PSM around, if they want to stop its privatisation. He said that privatisation policy was aimed at avoiding heavy spending in public enterprises, adding that government was paying around Rs 500 billion per annum to run loss earning public organisations.
Zubair further said that if this amount was poured in health, education and other sectors, it would create a difference and added that people of Pakistan, who were entitled to get better services, were being burdened because of these loss earning public entities. He said that Nawaz government was committed to its privatisation policy and they had no IMF pressure in this regard. He said: “IMF has set milestones for its programme and government is striving to achieve it but it doesn”t mean that we are taking dictations from IMF”.
In his welcome address, Ahsan Mukhtar Zubairi, chairman Pakistan Korea- Business and Friendship Council said that state owned enterprises (SOEs) were inefficient and generally slow in responding to public demands. On the other hand, private sector is driven by profit motive and it becomes ruthless in the pursuit of personal gain and profit. A proper balance needs to be struck between public interest and profit, he urged.
He said that Pakistan had experimented with privatisation during the last three decades. Over a 100 state owned enterprises have been sold to the private sector during the last 30 years. Many of these do not exist any more. Mostly expensive real estates have been sold at exorbitant profits and the state and the public have been deprived. Many SOEs have been sold at throw away prices. The case of HBL, UBL, ABL and PTCL can not be forgotten. The Privatisation Commission (PC) had followed all procedures well but government was deprived of its valuable assets, he said. Some privatisation”s have also gone well such as MCB and only a few others.

Source: Business Recorder

Beans

Samina Khalid*, Tahira Abbas*, Rashad MukhtarBalal* Muhammad Irfanullah** and Muhammad Adnan Shahid*

*Assistant Professor Department of Horticulture, University College of Agriculture, University of Sargodha

**Assistant Professor Department of Entomology, University College of Agriculture, University of Sargodha

Beans are warm season annual legumes that fix nitrogen when established their root system.These are easy to grow and are good source of proteins, fiber, minerals and nutrients. These are grown for their immature pods, immature seeds or mature seeds. Beans are of two kinds low growing or bush beans and tall growing or pole and runners bean. The term Beans and pulses are interchangeably used for legume crops but the term beans referred to legume crops consumed in fresh state as green beans.

Types of beans:Green snap beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) also known as string beans, string less beans(haricot varieties),the common bean,field bean, flageolet bean, french bean, garden bean, pop bean, kidney bean and wax bean is used for its green pods.Southern cowpeas (Vignaunguiculata) also known as common cowpeas, crowder peas, black-eyed peas, and field peas, are highly nutritious plant grown for fresh, processed and dried uses.

Bean: agrinfobank.com

Fava bean (Viciafaba) has large and small seeded varieties. Large seeded varieties (broadbean or windsor beans) are cultivated as vegetables while small seeded varieties like bell, horse, tick, or field beans are commonly cultivated as animal feed, cover crop and green manures. Yardlong bean, (Vignaunguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis) also called as Chinese long bean, haricot asparagus and asparagus bean is trailing plant often reaching 9-10 feet in height with 10-20 inches long pods. Lima beans, (Phaseoluslunatus) also known as butter bean and chad beans, is a nutritious vegetable high in protein, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, thiamin and niacin. Winged beans, (Psophocarpustetragonolobus), also known as the Goa bean and Asparagus pea, four-angled bean and winged pea.

Horticultural Maturity Indices: All pod beans should be harvested when the pod is bright green and fleshy and the seeds are small and green. After that period, excessive seed development reduces quality and the pod becomes pithy and tough, and loses its bright color. Beans should pick often to keep plants bearing longer. Snap beans (yellow, green and purple types) pods are harvested about 8 to 10 days after flowering when pods are almost full-sized but before seeds begin to bulge. Bush snap beans should mature in 48 to 60 days. Runner or pole beans require 58 to 70 days to mature. Lima bush beans require 65 to 80 days and pole beans required 80 to 88 days to mature.Lima bean and pigeon pea are mature to harvest when their pods are well-filled and that are beginning to lose their greenness. Cowpea, yard-long bean, snap bean and winged bean are mature to harvest when their pods are well-filled pods and that snap readily. Black-eyed pea or cowpea are picked when seeds near full sized but still bright green.

Harvest and Postharvest handling:

Beans should be harvested in the morning, do not harvest when the beans are wet.Keep produce in cooler area after harvest asbeans are harvested in unripe stage, having high metabolic activityBeans are sensitive to ethylene and chilling injury. Ethylene reduces green colour in snap beans. Sensitivity to chilling temperature varies with beans cultivars. In Lima beans rusty brown specks, spots, or areas appear on pods when stored at 1-4.5 C° however,in snap beans pitting and russeting appeared when stored at 7°C. Snap beans are susceptible to freezing injury. Beans can be damaged by direct contact with ice. Snaps beans can be hydro-cooled however, postharvest decay can occur if the product remains wet after cooling. Beans can be treated with hot water at 52°C for 0.5 minutes to control Pythiumbutleri, Sclerotiniasclerotiorum. Recommended storage conditions and potential life of different beans types are given in the table:

Recommended storage conditions for various beans types

Commodity Temperature Relative Humidity (%) Approximate storage life
°C °F
Beans, green or snap 4-7 40-45 95 7-10 days
Beans, Lima, in pods 5-6°C 41-43 95 5 days
Chinese long bean 4-7°C 40-45 90-95 7-10 days
Haricot vert (fine beans) 4-7 40-45 95 10 days
Winged bean 10 50 90 4 weeks

Source: McGregor, 1989.

Insects and diseases:Important diseases of beans are damping off, tip blight, southern blight, bean rust, anthracnose and white mold. Corn ear worm, stink bug, European corn borer, caterpillar, beetles, whiteflies, thripsand mitesare the important insects attacking bean plant.

Refferences:
Bachmann, J., Earls, R., 2000. Postharvest handling of fruits and vegetables.Horticulture technical note.
Barkai-Golan, R. and Phillips, D.J. 1991. Postharvest treatments of fresh fruits and vegetables for decay control. Plant Disease (Nov): 1085-1089.
Harderburg, R.E., A. E. Watada, and C-Y.Wang 1986. The Commercial Storage of Fruits Vegetables. and Florist and Nursery Stocks. USDA, Agricultural Handbook No. 66.
Koske, J.T., Morgan, A.L., Ferrin, D.M., Bean, Vegetable gardening tips, Growing information for home gardeners series. Loisiana State University Agriculture Center.
Lawrence, J.H., Moore, L.M. Plant Guide Yard Long bean Vignaunguiculata (L.) Waln ssp. sesquipedalis (L.) Verdc.United States Department of Agriculture.
Myers, J.R., Colt, W.M., Swanson, M.A., Beans and peas, Grow your own. University of Idaho Cooperative Extension System, the Oregon State University Extension Service, Washington State University Cooperative extension.
McGregor, B.M. 1989. Tropical Products Transport Handbook.USDA Office of Transportation, Agricultural Handbook 668.
Rodino, A.P., Lema, M., Perez-Barbeito, M., Santalla, M., De Ron, A.M., 2007.Assessment of runner bean (Phaseoluscoccineus L.) germplasm for tolerance to low temperature during early seedling growth.Euphytica 155, 63-70.
Sattel, R., Dick, R., McGrath, D., 1998. Fava bean (Viciafaba), Oregon State University Extension Service.http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/15226/em8697.pdf
Stephenson, R.A., 1980. The winged bean flyer.International documentation center for the winged bean.
Strang, J., 2011. Snap beans, UK cooperative extension service.University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture.
Wright, S., 2012.Southernpea (Cowpea), UK cooperative extension service. University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture.
Copyright © agrinfobank.com, For republished by any mean kindly contact with us at info@agrinfobank.com

Pesticides and polio

By: Jonathan Benson

One of the most common arguments people often use to defend vaccinations alleges that vaccines are responsible for eradicating epidemic diseases of the past such as polio and smallpox. But a recent investigative review put together by Jeffry John Aufderheide over at VacTruth.com explains not only why this claim is untrue, but also why pesticides may have been responsible for spurring these disease outbreaks in the first place.
As part of a trivia series on polio, Aufderheide cites several studies showing that the widespread use of chemical pesticides such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, or DDT, and heptachlor following World War II, actual exacerbated viral disease outbreaks across the United States.
On a visual graph, it is clearly seen that the production and use of pesticides throughout the mid-20th century is directly correlated to polio outbreaks, including the worst polio epidemic in known history, which occurred in 1952.
You can view the graph here:
http://vactruth.com/2012/06/03/7-trivia-facts-about-polio/pesticides and polio :: agrinfobank.com
According to a report compiled by the Secretary of the Interior that was presented before the 85th Congress back in 1958, polio really only became a problem after the 1940s, when chemical companies began to produce large amounts of DDT, heptachlor, dieldrin, tetraethyl pyrophosphate (TEPP), malathion, benzene hexachloride (BHC) and other pesticide chemicals for use on agricultural crops. Prior to that time, polio was not nearly as virulent or problematic as many people believe it was.
As DDT and other pesticides were eventually phased out, cases of polio also began to decline, which suggests that vaccines may not have been primarily responsible for eradicating polio. Improvements in sanitation, which are hardly ever mentioned by mainstream health authorities, also played a major role in eradicating polio.

Pesticide-contaminated milk also responsible for polio outbreaks

Many people during the 1950s became ill as a result of pesticide-contaminated milk, much of which ended up having to be quietly pulled from store shelves in subsequent years. This contaminated milk was also known to be a primary carrier of polio, and was directly responsible for spreading the disease until the contaminating pesticides were eventually phased out, and the milk supply effectively remediated.
Interestingly, milk-induced disease outbreaks were responsible for the later creation of milk pasteurization mandates. But it was the pesticides and their tolerance of polio virus, not the fact that milk was raw, that was responsible for spreading disease. And yet the belief that raw milk is inherently dangerous is still prevalent today, while few have any real understanding of the role pesticide-tainted milk played in spreading disease, and particularly polio.
Right around the time that dangerous pesticides were being retired and sanitation was being improved, authorities released a polio vaccine that they claimed would eradicate the disease. The precise timing of this strategic release would later be used to claim that the vaccine, and not agricultural and sanitation improvements, was responsible for ending polio.

Revisionist history continues to fuel myth that vaccines are responsible for eradicating disease

Because of the way drug companies and vaccine manufacturers have influenced governmental and health authorities over the years, the myth that vaccines are responsible for eradicating disease has prevailed. Truth be told, the polio vaccine has been shown to actually cause many of the paralysis symptoms associated with polio, including in India where there has been a 1,200 percent increase vaccine-associated polio paralysis (VAPP) since the introduction of massive polio vaccine campaigns throughout the country

Sources for this article include:
http://vactruth.com/2012/06/03/7-trivia-facts-about-polio/
http://www.raw-milk-facts.com/

Source: http://www.naturalnews.com

Pesticides are penetrating deep into plants tissues

Over the last 30 years, the use of pesticides has spiked around the world. People now pour 2.5 million tons of these chemicals into the environment annually, contributing to a $35 billion industry run by global corporations. To make matters worse, the more people use pesticides, the more ineffective they become.

Why are crop yields lost to insects greater than ever before, when pesticide use is at an all time high?

Take a look at the citrus greening crisis happening in places like Florida and California. Citrus greening is a disease spread by the psyllid insect. This insect contaminates citrus trees by leaving a trail of bacteria that ultimately kills the trees. Florida is currently witnessing a 10 percent reduction in produce because of this.
Problems like these exist because pesticides are killing beneficial insects, like lady beetles, that were created to feasts on pests like psyllids. By killing lady beetles, pesticides destroy a balanced ecosystem.

So are pesticides doing more harm than good?

Pesticides are ravaging the environment. Farmers and researchers are now witnessing the death of entire bee colonies because of pesticides. Billions of bees are disappearing from their natural environment, as they cannot handle the poisonous nectar they’re pollinating from contaminated flowers.

Systemic pesticides use on the risePesticides are penetrating deep into plants tissues: agrinfobank.com

Some people are completely aware of pesticides’ ability to disrupt the thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands. These glands control hormones in the human body which guide the development, growth, gender, behavior, and reproductive systems.
That’s why some people wash their fruit and vegetables before eating them. The sad reality is that pesticides exist not only as residue, but are also pent up and stored inside plant tissues. In fact, systemic pesticide use is on the rise. These chemicals, first used in 1998, have now spread to most of the conventional food supply. Systemic pesticides travel from the soil and are absorbed into vegetation, moving through the xylem and extending into the leaves and flowers, where they infect pollen and nectar. Four classes of pesticides have become commonplace and include imidacloprids, which are applied to vegetables like tomatoes and leafy greens. Thiamethoxam is typically used as seed “treatment” for corn, but is now applied to soil for fruit and vegetables. Clothianidin is also a seed contaminant, used on canola, cereals, sugar beets, and potatoes. Dinotefuran is either applied to soil or sprayed directly on leafy greens, including cucumber crops.

Stunning pesticide levels in USDA tests

Tests conducted by the US Department of Agriculture from 1999 to 2007 report stunning levels of systemic pesticides in conventional produce. They found that 70 percent of broccoli and 74 percent of fresh lettuce contained imidacloprid residues. Heavy levels of thiamethoxam were found in strawberries and sweet peppers.
Worse yet, the tests found imidacloprid levels of up to 550 parts per billion in eucalyptus nectar and pollen – three times the amount needed to kill honeybees!
Water droplets that exude from a plant’s surface also tested positive for systemic pesticides; plants are practically bleeding out chemicals!
The Journal of Economic Entomology reports, “When bees consume guttation drops, collected from plants grown from neonicotinoid-coated seeds, they encounter death within a few minutes.”
Additionally, systemic nitroguanidine pesticides can last up to 500 days or more in soil, affecting the ecosystem for up to two seasons, poisoning water, soil, worms, beetles, and bees which all play an important role in a thriving environment.

Four simple actions to make a difference

• Stop using pesticides altogether and appreciate a balanced ecosystem.
• Shop locally, but more importantly, shop organically. Put your money where your morals are.
• Realize that the government is not protecting the population from harmful chemicals. Even though they have more regulatory agencies than ever before, big government is actually permitting these disease spreading, Earth-ravaging chemicals to persist.
• Collectively make your voice heard by signing a petition. http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/ban-systemic-pesticide
Sources for this article include
http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/ban-systemic-pesticide
http://www.motherearthnews.com
http://www.panna.org/issues/food-agriculture/pesticides-on-food
http://www.organicgardeningguru.com/pesticides.html
http://www.panna.org/issues/food-agriculture/pesticides-on-food

Source: http://www.naturalnews.com

Rabi crops may suffer from water stress conditions

Meteorological department has forecast 30 percent less winter rain (January-March) and water stress conditions this year and advised the water managers to use the available water resources judiciously to meet the vital water requirements in the country.
Rabi crops may suffer from water stress conditionsDirector General PMD, Dr Arif Mahmood said that largely below normal rainfall but slightly above normal snowfall are expected in winter 2014. Snowfall over the mountainous areas during winter is expected to occur 10-15 percent more than the normal.
He warned that availability of water in rain-fed areas would be limited and thus Rabi crops particularly wheat are likely to suffer from water stress conditions.
Weather forecast for today:
Mainly very cold and partly cloudy weather is expected over most parts of the country with scattered misty and isolated foggy conditions over plain areas of Punjab and upper Sindh.
However, thunder-rain with snowfall over the hills is likely to occur at scattered places of Malakand, Hazara divisions, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir. Also, thunder-rain with snowfall over the hills may occur at isolated places of Makran, Quetta, Kalat divisions and Fata. Further, thunder-rain with snowfall over the hills would occur at a few places of Rawalpindi, Kohat, Peshawar, Larkana, Karachi divisions and Islamabad.
Weather forecast for next 48 hrs:
Mainly cold and dry weather is expected in most parts of the country. However cloudy weather with chances of light rain (light snowfall over the hills) expected in Malakand, Hazara divisions, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Coldest places in country:
Astore -13°C, Parachinar -12°C, Skardu & Hunza -10°C, Gupis -09, Kalam & Quetta -08, Gilgit -07, Malamjabba and Kalat -06°C, Rawalakot -04°C.

Source: Business recorder

Investment in agriculture seed market can boost economy

Pakistan’s agriculture seed market is worth almost $ 1500 million and it has huge potential and opportunities for investors. DG Federal Seed Certification & Registration, Syed Muhammad Nasir Ali expressed these views while talking to APP here on Sunday. He said that investment in agriculture seed and supply of certified seed was important not only to boost agriculture sector but also overall economy of the country.
He said the value of seed produced in Pakistan was $ 500 million while the value of imported seed was $ 300 million which showed a market gap for investment of $ 700 million. Investment in agriculture seed market can boost economyHe said certified seed availability of major crops in Pakistan was just 20 per cent while authorities had set a target for certified seed availability of 30 percent for the next year.
He said the share of the public sector in seed availability was 22 per cent while private sector’s share was 78 per cent.
He said that there were four public sector seed organisations while five multinational seed companies and 789 national seed companies were operating in the private sector.

Source: Business recorder

What is organic gardening?

Organic gardening is not just a matter of replacing chemicals such as artificial fertilizers and pesticides with more natural products, as it is often simplistically described. There is a great deal more to it than that, in both theory and practice.

Basic principles
The organic approach recognizes the marvelous complexity of our living world; the detailed and intricate ways in which all living organisms are interconnected. It aims to work within this delicate  framework, in harmony with nature.What is an organic gardening 3-agriculture information bank (agrinfobank.com)
Feeding the soil
Conventional fertilizers are generally soluble, their ingredients directly available to plants. The organic way, on the other hand, relies on soil-dwelling creatures to make food available to plants.
Unbelievable as it may sound, a single teaspoonful of fertile soil can contain more bacteria and fungi than the number of humans living on the planet. These microorganisms, which are invisible to  the naked eye, break down compost, manure, and other organic materials that are added to the soil, to provide a steady supply of nutrients for plants to take up. Their activities also help to improve soil structure. soil fed in this way tends to produce healthier plants that are better able to withstand attack from pests and diseases, or have a much better chance of recovery.
Natural pest control all creatures, whatever their size, risk attack by pests and diseases. They are part of a great food chain. Ladybugs prey on aphids, robins eat Japanese beetles, and toads devour slugs, as an organic gardener, you can capitalize on the situation by  creating the right conditions to attract these unpaid pest  controllers—the gardener’s friends. There are other strategies in  the organic cupboard, too barriers and traps, pest- and disease resistant plant varieties, companion planting, and crop rotation all provide realistic alternatives to the use of pesticides.What is an organic gardening 2-agriculture information bank (agrinfobank.com)

Managing weeds
Weeds can be a valuable resource as a compost ingredient or food for wildlife, but they can also smother plants, compete for food and water, and spoil the look of a path or border. organic
gardeners don’t use weed killing sprays, but there are plenty of effective alternatives, both for clearing ground and for keeping weeds under control: hoeing, mulching, cultivation, hand-weeding,
and the use of heat in the form of flame or infrared burners.

What is an organic gardening-agriculture information bank (agrinfobank.com)Conservation and the environment
By taking a holistic approach to the use of finite resources and by minimizing impact on the environment, organic growing makes a positive contribution toward creating a sustainable future for
all life on earth. This means recycling and reusing, instead of dumping or burning or buying new; providing habitats where wildlife can flourish; and avoiding the use of non reusable
resources. It also involves choosing locally available materials, rather than those transported over long distances.

Welfare considerations
Animal welfare is an important element of organic farming. There is no place in the organic philosophy for factory farming, such as battery and broiler hen houses or intensive feedlots. as a logical
extension, organic gardeners do not use by-products—such as manure—from intensive agriculture. There is concern for people, too—standards governing the trade in organic food are gradually
converging with those concerned with “fair trade,” to provide better livelihoods for those employed in farming, particularly in developing countries.
The use of animal manures is an integral part of most organic farming systems, but it is quite possible to garden without using any products of animal origin if you prefer. garden compost, leguminous green manures, leaf mold, and plant-based fertilizers are all “animal-free” organic gardening ingredients.