Category Archives: Business & Economy

A fisher couple who defies conventions

Braving waves: The CMFRI will felicitate K.V. Karthikeyan and K.C. Rekha on Friday.

Rekha is the first woman in the country who goes fishing in the sea by boat, according to CMFRI

The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) will felicitate K.V. Karthikeyan and his wife K.C. Rekha who have been venturing into the sea for fishing using gill nets and hooks since the past 13 years.

Sudarshan Bhagat, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, will present a memento to the couple at a fishermen meet to be held at CMFRI here on Friday. He will hand over fish seeds to the couple for launching sea cage farming. The programme is part of the ongoing platinum jubilee celebrations of the institution.

An official release here said that the couple hails from Kundazhiyoor near Chettuva in Thrissur district. It claimed that Ms. Rekha is the first woman in the country who goes fishing in the sea by boat. Although there are women engaged in fishing in backwaters, no record about women’s presence in fishing along the Indian coasts is available so far, said A. Gopalakrishnan, Director of CMFRI. He said that the institution wanted to felicitate the courage shown by the couple.

Financial support

“There are some superstitious beliefs in the society that women are not supposed to go to the sea for fishing. But, here a lady has courageously broken all these unreasonable customs and conventions and made a living out of fishing,” said Mr. Gopalakrishnan. The CMFRI has offered them financial and technical support to launch cage farming in the sea.

The Minister will address the representatives of fishermen and fish farmers. An interactive session will also be held on the occasion to solve the issues being faced by stakeholders.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by  Special Correspondent / Kochi – May 04th, 2017

Country’s first digitalised Panchayat ward in Kerala

Kottayam  :

A ward in the district today became India’s first digitalised panchayat ward .

www.digitalaymanam.com website

Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar inaugurated the website of the first digitalised panchayat ward number 15 of Aymanam grama panchayat at a function held at a temple premises.

The minister launched the website digitalaymanam  at the function.

This small panchayat ward in Kerala  has become the first one to go digital in the country, taking a very important step in fulfilling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of transforming India  into a digitally empowered society, the Minister said.

Gurjar hailed ward member Devaki teacher for taking the challenge of collecting details of 423 families and 1,262 members in the ward and made them available in a mouse click away.

The website also contains information about blood donors’ forum and telephone directory of the people of the ward, officials said.

CPI(M), which is ruling the Aymanam Gram Panchayat, boycotted the function.

They, however, have not cited any reasons for the boycott.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kohikode News / PTI / April 30th, 2017

Nilambur teak set to enter elite club of products with GI tag

prized wood: The superior quality of the Nilambur teak was identified by the British. — Photos: Special Arrangement

The timber has superior mechanical and physical properties, besides an incomparable aesthetic appearance

Nilambur teak, internationally known for its superior quality and elegant appearance, will soon be added to the list of Kerala produces with the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.

The effort to obtain the GI status for this unique timber variety, pioneered by the IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) Cell of the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) with the support of the Nilambur Teak Heritage Society, the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) and the Department of Forests, is set to bear fruit within a month.

It was the Britishers who identified the superior quality of teak from Nilambur plantations and forests. Later, the region became the major supplier of quality teak in the world.

Global appeal

As its fame crossed the seven seas, Nilambur was christened the Mecca of Teak. Tonnes of timber, blessed with superior mechanical and physical properties as well as incomparable aesthetic appearance, were taken to London and other parts of the world. The Nilambur-Shoranur Railway line was laid for transporting the teak logs.

However, fake products with false tags started flooding the wood/ furniture markets as the fame of Nilambur teak increased. Understanding the potential risk, the IPR Cell and the College of Forestry of Kerala Agricultural University motivated the people of Nilambur to protect their rights legally, by registering the unique product as a Geographical Indication under the GI Act.

The Nilambur Teak Heritage Society joined hands with the Kerala Agricultural University to register Nilambur teak as a GI product of India. The IPR Cell of KAU coordinated the legal procedures. Scientific studies to validate the unique qualities of Nilambur teak were done at KAU’s College of Forestry. The KFRI Centres at Peechi and Nilambur and the Kerala Forest Department also supported the venture.

The preparations for registering Nilambur teak were initiated with a workshop of stakeholders organised by KAU in 2013. The application for GI registration was submitted to the GI Registry, Chennai, in December 2015. The modalities completed, the formality of bestowing the GI tag on Nilambur teak is expected at the next sitting of the Registry, according to KAU sources. Members of Nilambur Teak Heritage Society, Coordinator of KAU’s IPR Cell and experts from the College of Forestry have been asked to attend the sitting at the GI Registry, scheduled for the end of February.

GI registration of Pokkali rice, one of the first Kerala produces to get the GI tag, meanwhile, has been renewed. Other Kerala products with GI registration include Vazhakulam Pineapple, Wayanadan rice varieties Jeerakasala and Gandhakasala, Tirur Betel vine, Central Travancore Jaggery and Chengalikodan Nendran, a banana variety.

source:  http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Stats> Kerala / by Mini Maringatheri / Thrissur – February 10th, 2017

Conference on Indian medicine system from Friday

Thiruvananthapuram :

‘Jignasa 2017’ an international conference on Indian systems of medicine such as ayurveda and siddha will be held from February 10 to 12 at the Saraswati Mandapam Ground, Poojappura. As part of the conference, an exhibition on science and public health has opened at the venue. The event is organised by the Vidyarthi Seva Trust.

The expo, which features around 200 stalls, showcases the diversity and significance of traditional systems of medicine and healing practices practised in India, and their role in public healthcare. Participants include central and state government departments, NGOs, traditional and tribal physicians, medicinal plant nurseries and gardens and health-related industries. The home pavilion features ayurveda, yoga, unani and siddha systems.
The expo attempts to raise awareness about these systems and their contemporary significance, the trust said. ‘Jignasa 2017’ is planned as an international conference on ‘Convergence of health traditions in Bharatavarsha.’
Union ministers Dr Harsh Vardhan, Dharmendra Pradhan, Pon Radhakrishnan and Yesso Naik are expected to participate in the conference, the trust said. More than 1000 delegtates including 600 students are attending the event. As part of a public health awareness programme, a free medical camp is on offer.
Various cultural programmes also are planned in the evenings.

They include a baul performance by Parvathy Baul, kalaripayattu by Hindustan Kalari Sangham, classical dance recital by PNNM Ayurveda College and a ‘classical thematic yoga’ presentation by the Chinmaya Mission. Over 500 students from across the country had participated in Jignasa 2015.

source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by Express News Service / February 07th, 2017

Where tea production is a lasting legacy

teafactorykerala15oct2016

The factory was set up by Britishers in 1935 and production is still on the equipment installed then

 Acclaimed as the highest altitude tea plantation in the world, Kolukkumalai, near Munnar, has the unique feature of preserving the British heritage in tea-making at the factory here.

Located at an altitude of 7,130 ft. above sea level, the factory is housed in a two-storey wooden structure set up by the Britishers in 1935 and the method of tea production is still on the equipment installed at that time.

The equipment still in use at the Kolukkumalai tea factory in Idukki are those installed by the Britishers
The equipment still in use at the Kolukkumalai tea factory in Idukki are those installed by the Britishers

Tea is made here through a process of withering. Manual labour is an integral part of the process, from hand-plucking to the final stage of making tea dust. The factory is set in the ambience of green tea plants on the mountain stretch bordering Tamil Nadu.

Though Kolukkumalai is in Theni district of Tamil Nadu, it is 32 km from Munnar. The story of Kolukkumalai is linked to the tea plantation era of the British Raj in Munnar.

Leased land

The visit of British resident of the erstwhile Travancore Kingdom, John Daniel Munro, to Munnar in 1870s paved the way for tea plantation. He leased the land in 1877 from Poonjar Koikal Rohini Thirunal Kerala Varma and started cultivation of various crops under the North Travancore Land Planting and Agricultural Society. However, it was A.H. Sharp, a European resident who started tea cultivation on 50 acres of land in Munnar in the 1880s.

The tea plantations later extended to the nearby hills, reaching the present border areas of Tamil Nadu. Though tea production in the Kanan Devan Hills is still done in the factories set up by the Britishers, the process and the equipment underwent a lot of change under the modernisation process

An official at the Kolukkumalai factory said the organic method of production is followed here. Since the plantation is located on a peak, the attack of pests is minimum and the natural elements in the soil are preserved. Kolukkumalai also provides a bird’s-eye view of land extending up to Kodaikanal and it is also a natural habitat of bird species that are seen in the high altitude ranges.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Kerala / Idukki – October 15th, 2016

Savour a jackfruit-based wedding feast

JamesMathewKERALA22aug2016

Palakkad :

More than two decades since his active engagement as a campaigner of the seemingly-innocuous jackfruit, suggesting it as a rich source of food security in the years to come, Kerala’s celebrated jackfruit promoter James P. Mathew is now preparing to convert the marriage of his son, Lino, into a mega jackfruit event.

Apart from his friends and relatives, a huge gathering comprising agricultural scientists, organic farmers, opinion makers, senior officials, politicians and activists will attend the wedding on September 15 at Santhom Parish Hall in Kanjirapuzha here. The guests will savour an 18-course jackfruit-based feast. The dishes to be served along with chicken, mutton and fish include the traditional Kerala jackfruit meal and jackfruit-based delicacies such as juice, pickles, ‘payasam,’ wine and fries.

Talking to The Hindu at his residence here, Mr. James said the event has been organised in such a manner as to help policy-makers realise the importance of promoting jackfruit. Lack of awareness of its multiple benefits is directly responsible for the wastage of an estimated Rs.500 crore of the fruit in India, he said. He suggested forming jackfruit clusters and network of growers to convert its cultivation into an organised business.

“A rich source of nutrients, jackfruit has carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Its medicinal properties include strengthening of the immune system and anti-cancer, anti-ulcer and anti-hypertension action. The by-products include beverages, nectar, clarified juice, wine, vinegar, canned products, candied fruit, dehydrated flakes, laddus and biscuits, pickle, pappad, sweets and jackfruit bulbs and leather,” he said. “It is the duty of the government to conduct scientific studies on jackfruit to validate the claims of its promoters.”

Mr. James, who has made a set of jackfruit processing devices, has developed a basketful of products. These include golden-yellow jackfruit wine, dehydrated flakes that can be stored, a health drink, baby food and jack seed powder. His homestead has 60 jackfruit trees of the firm-fleshed ‘varikka’ variety, scattered among coconut, areca nut, cocoa and rubber.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Kerala / by K.A. Shaji / Irumpakachola – August 21st, 2016

Kochi startup ‘Daddys Pocket’ going places

George Panamkuzha (third from left) CEO of Daddy’s Pocket Group, along with other team members
George Panamkuzha (third from left) CEO of Daddy’s Pocket Group, along with other team members

Kochi :

When George Panamkuzha and three of his friends were organising the college fest during their student days, the biggest problem the youngsters encountered was getting sponsorship, and convincing prospective sponsors on the possible benefits they would get on the money spent. After launching Praudyogiki Technolabs, a software development firm immediately out of the college in 2013, the quartet’s second startup ‘Daddyspocket.com’ founded this year is aimed at addressing the issue of sponsorship at events.

The Kochi-based startup found instant recognition when it was recently chosen for Spark10’s Accelerator Programme, a three-month programme held at Hyderabad. The programme is to help early stage startups turn their prototype or a minimum viable product into a scalable, positive and sustainable business. “We were chosen from nearly 500 applicants from all over India,” said George, adding that only nine startups were selected for the coveted programme. Only two startups from Kerala qualified — the second being ‘PaySack’, a mobile wallet for enterprises. DaddysPocket, according to George, is India’s first sponsorship marketplace for college events that helps college groups get easy sponsorship, allowing them to focus on organising a quality event. He said the company has over 20 high-profile brands as sponsors on board as of June 2016, and are the official partner for Techfest 2016 happening at JNTU, Hyderabad.

The other three in the founding team are Karan Radhakrishnan, Akhil Ashok and Jacob Jose Mattom. The three-month programme has helped the startup founders’ access to industry leaders and business leaders, but also ensured funding of Rs 10 lakh. In return, DaddysPocket has shed eight per cent stake to Spark10 Accelerator, said George.

“Right now, sponsors for events can’t measure the tasks. We at DaddysPocket will provide a task-based platform. Funds will be released based on the task,” explained George. George said his focus will be to scale-up ‘DaddysPocket’.

source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities. Kochi / by Express News Service / August 18th, 2016

Kerala government to explore new markets for native bamboo products

Industries Minister E P Jayarajan checks out the bamboo products at Bamboo Innovation Centre after the inauguration at Angamaly on Tuesday
Industries Minister E P Jayarajan checks out the bamboo products at Bamboo Innovation Centre after the inauguration at Angamaly on Tuesday

Kochi :

Industries Minister E P Jayarajan on Tuesday said the government would take initiatives to explore the national and international markets for bamboo products made in Kerala.

He was speaking after inaugurating the Bamboo Innovation Centre developed jointly by the government and the State Bamboo Mission at Angamaly.

The Bamboo Innovation Centre is envisaged to make and exhibit bamboo products of international quality. It is expected to introduce the latest developments in the global bamboo sector to the State’s bamboo industry, while opening up new opportunities for artisans here.

The Minister said bamboo products made at the Centre would be made available at tourist spots across the State, besides exhibiting at the annual bamboo products exhibition held in Kochi.  On the occasion, Jayarajan also inaugurated  training for the first batch of artisans. Referring to the Central Government’s amended forest rules prohibiting bamboo felling, Jayarajan said a practical solution was the need of the hour, rather than stubborn rules for environmental protection.  “In order to resolve the issues faced by the people of Kerala, we should embrace environment-friendly industrial development. The main crisis facing the bamboo sector is unavailability of raw material, which could be overcome easily by using the tissue culture method. It is high time we became self-sufficient in bamboo cultivation,” said the Minister, and pointed out that the Commerce Department under the State Government was being restructured to tap the international market of products manufactured in India. He also promised that the wages of persons working in the Kerala State Bamboo Corporation (KSBC) would be revised soon.

KSBC former chairman P J Joy, managing director Sukumaran Nair, Roji M John MLA and Angamaly municipal Chairperson M A Gracy also spoke.

source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Kochi / by Express News Service / August 17th, 2016

For Joseph, cattle rearing is not a job, but a childhood passion

P J Joseph, seen at his farm in Kadavanthra, has been rearing cattle for decades despite skyrocketing expenses
P J Joseph, seen at his farm in Kadavanthra, has been rearing cattle for decades despite skyrocketing expenses

Kochi  :

Is it possible to rear cattle in the middle of an urban city like Kochi? Ask PJ Joseph and the Kadavanthra resident will break into a smile in reply.

Joseph, who is from the Painuthara family, has been rearing a dozen cattle since his teenage days and on Wednesday, the civic body will felicitate him and five others as part of the programme organized to honour farmers at St Joseph’s church.

For Joseph, cattle rearing was a passion, a dream he nursed from his childhood. “I have 14 cows and it is not easy to rear them in a small compound in an unfavourable climate. My father too was a farmer and he had four cows. I used to assist him in herding and selling milk. Today, I have two of the Jersey variety, two Sindhi variety and the remaining are local crossbreeds. I sell nearly 120 litres of milk every day,” he said.

His farm is located in a five-cent plot behind his vehicle service centre near Padam bus stop. “Storing or disposing cow dung was a major issue earlier after houses were set up in the vicinity. Today, people are approaching me for manure for vegetable cultivation. Two Tamilians have been appointed to milk cows, while three from north India supply milk to households and keep the farm clean,” said Joseph, recollecting his teenage days when he used to do such chores.

Another helper supplies 30 bundles of grass every day. Space crunch had forced Joseph to convert his car porch into a storage area. “Rearing cows in city is a costly affair. It is not easy to convince your neighbours about your love for cattle rearing. Luckily, Joseph’s neighbours are relatives. He has been rearing cows for three decades now. Just think, how difficult it is to arrange grass, hay and adequate drinking water for the cattle,” said Johnny, a resident in his locality.

“People like Joseph are an inspiration and an example. The fact that he has been rearing cattle for decades despite skyrocketing expenses shows his dedication,” said Gracy Joseph, chairpersons, development committee.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> City> Kochi / by Shyam PV / TNN / August 17th, 2016

Kochi Startup Village joins hands with Facebook

Facebook is offering guidance and mentorship to Indian engineering students aspiring to become entrepreneurs. / The Hindu
Facebook is offering guidance and mentorship to Indian engineering students aspiring to become entrepreneurs. / The Hindu

As a part of the SV.CO Startup Programme, 50 students will make a six-day trip to California where they will also get an opportunity to present their ideas to the Facebook team.

SV.CO, the digital makeover of the telecom incubator Startup Village, has joined hands with Facebook to provide access to its developer teams in Menlo Park, California, as part of a six-month entrepreneurship programme for students.

Facebook is offering guidance and mentorship to Indian engineering students aspiring to become entrepreneurs. As a part of the SV.CO Startup Programme, 50 students will make a six-day trip to California where they will also get an opportunity to present their ideas to the Facebook team and get feedback on them.

Getting to meet talented pros

“The purpose of the visit to Silicon Valley is to provide students with a priceless opportunity to absorb and learn from technology companies such as Facebook. Students will get to meet talented professionals from around the world and learn all about creating successful startups,” Sanjay Vijayakumar, Chairman, Startup Village, was quoted as saying in a press release.

As the “Host Startup” of the programme, students will be part of the FB Start programme and in addition to providing guidance in building products, Facebook will contribute in the course content of the SV.CO’s programme framework.

“We are pleased to join hands with SV.CO and support their goal of providing a platform to students to build sustainable startups,” said Satyajeet Singh, Product Partnerships, Facebook.

source:  http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by Staff Reporter / Kochi – August 10th, 2016