Earthy intelligence

Published: Friday 15 July 2005

-- Agriculture M aharashtra

In April 2005, the Pune-based Sakal group of newspapers launched a Marathi daily, Agro one. Priced at Rs 1, the newspaper covers a wide range of subjects relating to agriculture. These include sugarcane production, relations between farmers and their co-operatives, production techniques, matters related to pesticides and credit facilities for agriculture and horticulture.

The paper's editorials contain incisive analyses of the union and Maharashtra governments' agricultural policies. For instance, one editorial takes banks and other financial institutions to task for not offering loans at special rates to farmers. Another piece puts the Maharashtra government's agricultural department under the scanner.

A number of regular columns take their names from specific rural terminology. For instance, ' Shivar' -- cultivable land in Marathi -- covers various developmental schemes related to agriculture. Similarly, ' Khal' -- part of the farmland where crops are kept for further processing -- details various methods of crop processing .

Market rates of various agricultural commodities and dairy products are given in detail. Matters related to cattle-health and other veterinary details are also covered. Another column, ' Krishi vani' -- voice of agriculture -- records statements of ministers, government officials and experts on matters of agriculture. There are also regular features on computers. Besides all this, Agro one gives its readers their daily dose of entertainment and sports news. The paper's 'Letters to the editors' section shows that Agro one has become quite popular in rural Maharashtra. Most readers comment that the paper has responded to the long-standing expectations of the rural population, quite aptly. Many even go so far to say that Agro one will draw many urban readers as well.

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