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Cereal killer

Issue Date: May 15, 2001
Charity for the poor is not always a virtue, more so if food security is at stake -- the best way is to help people help themselves. But this wasn't the objective of the late N T Rama Rao, former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. He fulfilled his election promise of providing cheap rice to everyone through the government public distribution system ( pds ) at Rs two per kg.

Rice: the real cost

Issue Date: May 15, 2001
Paddy is a water intensive crops -- 15 million litres of water is required to produce one tonne of rice, according to S V Subbaiah and K G Pillai of the Directorate of Rice Research, Hyderabad. About half of the total irrigation water in Asia is used for rice production, according to L C Guerra, professor at the College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology, University of the Philippines, Los Bans.

Persistent in folly

Issue Date: May 15, 2001
G lobal trade in coarse grains in 1995 was to the magnitude of about 132 metric tonnes (mt) and is projected to rise to 175 mt by 2005. About 80-85 per cent of this export originates from industrialised countries, where coarse grains are cultivated for animal feed. In Japan, an ngo is working on promoting millets as heath food (see box: Revival of millets in Japan ).

Powering US networks

Issue Date: Apr 30, 2001
Networking equipment has become an integral part of the US economy. Technological advances invariably lead to more equipment, demanding more power. US is waking up to the fact that inefficient office equipment coupled with ill-managed power distribution systems cause huge power losses. A mere 2.5 per cent saving in the home appliances power consumption saved US about US $3.5 billion in 1999. The same result is possible in this segment as well.

Wily weather

Issue Date: Nov 30, 1998
ACTUALLY it cannot. It does very badly. An economy which is largely dependent upon agriculture and where production in the rural sector grabs a sizeable chunk of the GDP is itself dependent to a great extent upon good weather. Good weather in the Indian context means timely rains. There is a school of thought which feels that we could encounter more untimely rains and more unusual weather phenomena due to global warming It could lead to more El Nino-type phenomenon. While there is data to indicate that 1998 was the hottest year in the last six


Issue Date: Oct 31, 1998
The South Pacific island of Fiji is suffering from a massive drought. The sugarcane crop of 1998 is well below normal production. Even the torrential rains due to La Nina, which lashed Australia, have stayed away from Fiji. "We were hoping that La Nina could come and bring some rain but the drought is continuing," said managing director of the state-owned Fiji sugar corporation, Jonetani Galuinadi, A break in drought is not expected to assist the present crop but may help next year's crop.


Issue Date: Sep 30, 1998
Dented by the Congo rebellion, renewed fighting in Angola, failed privatisation plans in Zambia and slumping metal prices, mining investors are singing the blues.

Economy vs ecology

Issue Date: Jun 30, 1998
AT a time when developing nations are getting lured into global economy issues, that translate into increased consumerism promoted by the developed world, the 1998 annual state of the earth report by the Worldwatch Institute, usa, comes as a timely warning.

Suffocating budget

Issue Date: Jun 30, 1998

Tree travails

Issue Date: Jun 15, 1998
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