My notes and musings …

Archive for March 2016

Irrigation: the classic pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

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Historically, farming was a rain fed practice. Even today, after spending lakhs of crores (or trillions, if you prefer that system of counting large numbers) of rupees and $s on irrigation systems and destroying almost all river ecosystems across the world, ~20% of cultivated land is irrigated. And ~60% of food production comes from rain fed farms. For more interesting facts and figures on irrigation, please see this comprehensive FAO ready reckoner and explore the website.

If we look at the budgetary outlays in India (and in other countries too) investments in agriculture are invariably dominated by investments in irrigation. Isn’t it high time people call the bluff and realized that if we really want to have a food system that survives the changing climate and tumultuous financial systems, we need to develop our rain fed farms.

Increasing spending on irrigation will of course mean more contracts and constructions. And construction, after all is the best way for people in power to make more money.

“There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow !! Oh ho, why do you worry about all the money we are making you spend to get to this pot of gold, or about the wrecked ecosystems we are leaving behind! you are such an ‘anti-national’ !!”

Written by Dwiji

Sunday, March 27th, 2016 at 04:51

A teaser for the Sat., 12/3/16 workshop with Aikyam

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If you are in BLR and looking to do something in the first part of this Sat. (MAR 12th, 2016), head over to Koramangala and seek out Aatta Galatta for the first event of the Earth Friendly Choices – Stories of Sustainable Living series organized by Aikyam.
Here’s a teaser of what I will be presenting/leading the discussions on …
Barnyard millet, not very well formed grains but note the distinct ridge line on the top.

Though they may not recognize these as millets, (even today) a large number of well to do Hindu women / families (?) of central and North India eat this regularly. Note that the grains in this pic are not fully formed, but their distinguishing characteristic, the ridge line on the top, is quite clearly visible. These are grains of the Indian Barnyard Millet, Kuthiravalli (in Tamil), ಊದಲು, ఊదర్లు, सांवाँ


Kodo millet grains; note the broad base and the coconut like cap at one end.

This millet has the distinction of being given the official status of a noxious weed (along with 113 others) that should not be allowed into the country by the Food & Drug Administration of USA. Note the broad base and the coconut like cap at one end. These are grains of Kodo Millet, Varagu (in Tamil), ಹಾರಕ, ఆరికలు, कोदौ/कोदरा.


Little millet grains of different varieties; more globular and lustrous.

One of the smallest cereal grains, but slightly more globular and lustrous than most grasses and other millets. For the uninitiated, it is hard to distinguish whether the field it is growing in has been over run by a particular kind of grass or if it is a cultivated field ! These are grains of Little Millet, Samai (in Tamil), ಸಾಮೆ/ಸಾವಿ, సామ, कुटकि.

Written by Dwiji

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016 at 23:00

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