Agriculture - Current Affairs Questions and Answers

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1)   ICRISAT researchers have developed strategies to keep groundnut free of which toxins?
- Published on 10 Nov 17

a. Aflatoxin
b. Fungi toxin
c. Bacterial toxin
d. Both a and b
e. Both a and c
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

Explanation:
Researchers at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad have developed dual strategies to keep groundnuts almost free of aflatoxin - a toxin produced by the fungi Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus - contamination.

While one strategy prevents groundnuts from being infected by the fungus thereby preventing the toxins from being produced, the other strategy prevents the fungus from producing the toxin even if groundnuts somehow get infected with the fungus.

Genetic engineering approaches were used for inserting two alfalfa genes into groundnut plants to enhance immunity against fungal infection and growth. Preventing aflatoxin production even in case of any infection was achieved through a plant-induced gene silencing technique.

While both strategies showed promising results, the ultimate goal is to combine the two traits into a single variety to offer double protection so that groundnuts do not accumulate any aflatoxin or the amount of toxin is well within permissible limits at or after harvest.

To further prevent toxin production even when groundnuts get infected with the fungus, the researchers designed two small RNA molecules that silence the fungal genes which produce aflatoxin.

When the fungus and plant come in contact with each other the small RNA molecules from the plant enter the fungus and prevent it from producing aflatoxin.

About 40 hours after infection with Aspergillus, six lines with alfalfa genes showed less than 1 part per billion (ppb) of toxin and another five lines showed 1-4 ppb compared with over 3,000 ppb in groundnuts that did not have these genes.

Similarly, six lines carrying the RNA molecules, the toxin present was less than 1 ppb and two other lines showed 1-4 ppb of toxin.

It is much lower than the Indian and U.S. safety limit of 20 ppb and meets even the stringent European safety limit of 4 ppb.


2)   CCEA has approved the continuation of which scheme as RKVY-RAFTAAR?
- Published on 02 Nov 17

a. Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana
b. Rashtriya Krishi Vishal Yojana
c. Rashtriya Krishi Vikraal Yojana
d. Rashtriya Krishi Vishakti Yojana
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana

Explanation:
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the continuation of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) as Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana- Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR) for three years i.e. 2017-18 to 2019-20.

The financial allocation of the scheme will be INR 15,722 crore with the objective of making farming as a remunerative economic activity through strengthening the farmer’s effort, risk mitigation and promoting agribusiness entrepreneurship.

RKVY-RAFTAAR funds would be provided to the States as 60:40 grants between Centre and States (90:10 for North Eastern States and Himalayan States) through the following streams:

(a) Regular RKVY-RAFTAAR (Infrastructure & Assets and Production Growth) with 70%of annual outlay to be allocated to states as grants based for the following activities:
i. Infrastructure and assets with 50% of regular RKVY-RAFTAAR outlay.
ii. Value addition linked production projects with 30% of regular RKVY-RAFTAAR outlay.
iii. Flexi-funds with 20% of regular RKVY-RAFTAAR outlay. States can use this for supporting any projects as per the local needs.

(b) RKVY-RAFTAAR special sub-schemes of National priorities - 20% of annual outlay; and

(c) Innovation and agri-entrepreneur development through creating end-to-end solution, skill development and financial support for setting up the agri-enterprise -10% of annual outlay including 2% of administrative costs.

The scheme will incentivise States in enhancing more allocation to Agriculture and Allied Sectors.

This will also strengthen farmer’s efforts through creation of agriculture infrastructure that help in supply of quality inputs, market facilities etc.

This will further promote agri-entrepreneurship and support business models that maximize returns to farmers.

RKVY: Know More

  • Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) is a continuing scheme under implementation from XI Five Year Plan.
  • The scheme provides considerable flexibility and autonomy to states in planning and executing programmes for incentivising investment in agriculture and allied sectors.
  • States initiate the process of decentralized planning for agriculture and allied sectors through preparation of District Agriculture Plans (DAPs) and State Agriculture Plan (SAP) based on agro-climatic conditions, availability of appropriate technology and natural resources to ensure accommodation of local needs, cropping pattern, priorities etc.
  • RKVY has also enabled adoption of national priorities without affecting the autonomy and flexibility of States through sub-schemes.
  • National priorities like Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI), Crop Diversification Program (CDP), Reclamation of Problem Soil (RPS), Foot & Mouth Disease - Control Program (FMD-CP), Saffron Mission, Accelerated Fodder Development Programme, etc. are being implemented through the window of RKVY.
  • During XI Plan and XII Plan, States have taken over 13,000 projects in agriculture and allied sector through State Agriculture Department as Nodal Implementing Agency.
  • The interim report of RKVY evaluation done by Institute of Economic Growth summarizes that the income emanating from agriculture measured as the agricultural state domestic product (AGSDP) is higher in the post-RKVY period than in the pre-RKVY period.
  • Further, almost all the states registered higher value of output from agriculture and allied activities in the post-RKVY period.
  • Continuation of RKVY-RAFTAAR will therefore keep the momentum of agriculture and allied sector growth.


3)   For the first time, scientists have developed which fabric from the flax plant?
- Published on 27 Oct 17

a. Cotton
b. Rayon
c. Nylon
d. Linen
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Linen

Explanation:
In what could be a landmark innovation, scientists at Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishvavidyalaya (IGKV) have developed yarn of linen cloth from flax plant - a first in India.

So far, Indian linen fabric manufacturers have had to import yarn due to its unavailability in India.

Aiming to increase the yield of linseed, which is another name for flax seed, IGKV scientists carried research and used the stem of linseed plant to develop the linen yarn.

The development of this yarn under the research project is expected to boost the handloom.

The university will continue to pitch in the research to farmers so that it not only fetches them additional income but bring about reformative changes in the textile industry.

Linseed Innovation: Know More

  • In Chhattisgarh, linseed is cultivated in the tribal-dominated districts of Kanker, Durg, Rajnandgaon, Kawardha and Mungali across an area of 3,000 hectare.
  • Apart from the flax seeds fetching INR 6,000 per quintal, the additional use of the stem for linen production would help farmers as well.
  • The extracted yarn can also be used to make paper, decorative and handicraft items, which would boost Chhattisgarh's handloom and handicraft industry.


4)   How many Indian dairies have no shelter for animals according to FIAPO?
- Published on 25 Oct 17

a. One-third
b. Half
c. One-fifth
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: None of the above

Explanation:
Even as milk production becomes a key contributor to agricultural income in India, an investigation has found that a fourth of India’s dairies had no shelter for animals and half of these institutions housed sick and injured animals.

The findings were part of an assessment of conditions in 450 dairies, spanning 10 of the country’s top milk-producing States and involved assessing the health and living conditions of about 25,000 cattle.

Nearly 55% of dairy owners allowed their sick animals to be milked.

To increase milk production, hormone Oxytocin was being wantonly administered, even though it is a restricted drug that can only be given after advise from a registered medical practitioner.

Delhi had the "worst" cattle management problem in the country.

None of the dairies had a male calf of more than two months of age and were flourishing in "illegal establishments".

There was also minimal veterinary care and indiscriminate use of Oxytocin here.

The investigation was carried out in Punjab, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Tamil Nadu.

The National Capital Territory of Delhi was picked because of its strategic significance.

In Uttar Pradesh - India’s largest milk producer with over 20 million tonnes of production - 92% of dairies didn’t have a visiting veterinarian and 48% of them used sick animals for milking.


5)   Which sugarcane hybrid clone variety was launched for the sub-tropical climate?
- Published on 30 Aug 17

a. 205
b. 206
c. 207
d. 208
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 205

Explanation:
For the first time, hybrid clone variety 205 (Saccharum officinarum and Saccharum spontaneum) was developed for sub-tropical climate, which was launched in 1918 for commercial farming.

The hybrid clone led to 50% increase in sugarcane production in North India and popular species like Saccharum Barberi and Saccharum Sinensis were left far behind.

After developing species 205, ICAR's Sugarcane Breeding Institute developed several other hybrid clones for sub-tropical condition and they remained sought after for a long time.

After that, the institute developed species 312, first amazing cane variety for the subtropical climate in 1928 and in 1933, it developed species 419 for tropical climate.

The sugarcane farmers are reaping higher yield from the species 0238 and sugar mills are getting more sugar.

Sugarcane farmers can make the best of intercropping technique and increase their income by growing oilseeds, pulses, potatoes, and cucumber with cane.


6)   GoI has indicated no ___ crop will be introduced without evaluating biosafety and socioeconomic desirability.
- Published on 28 Aug 17

a. GM
b. Organic
c. Rabi
d. Kharif
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: GM

Explanation:
No genetically modified (GM) crop should be introduced in India unless the biosafety and socio-economic desirability is evaluated.

The committee has also recommended that the environment ministry should examine the impact of GM crops on environment thoroughly.

The remarks come after India’s GM crop regulator Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) recently recommended the commercial use of genetically modified mustard.

This was in a submission to the environment ministry.

The department-related parliamentary standing committee on science and technology and environment and forest made its recommendations in its 301st report on ‘GM crop and its impact on environment’

It said GM mustard being a herbicide-tolerant GM organism (GMO), there is clear evidence on the adverse impacts of such GMOs elsewhere in the world.

The report of the committee, chaired by Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury was presented to the Rajya Sabha chairman.

The committee noted that the GEAC has given its approval for commercialisation of GM mustard “inspite of the fact that the matter is pending for decision in the Supreme Court”.

The Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP), Delhi University, had submitted an application to the GEAC for the environmental release of GM mustard (Brassica juncea) hybrid DMH - 11.

It also focused on the use of parental events (varuna bn 3.6 and EH2 mod bs 2.99) for the development of a new generation of hybrids.


7)   What is AGRI UDAAN ?
- Published on 04 Aug 17

a. Food and agribusiness initiative
b. Food and agribusiness accelerator
c. Food and agribusiness incubator
d. Both b and c
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both b and c

Explanation:
ICAR-NAARM Technology Business Incubator (TBI), a-IDEA and Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A) incubator Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) announces “AGRI UDAAN”- Food and Agribusiness Accelerator 2.0.

This programme will help to selected innovative startups who will be mentored in to scale up their operations in agri value chain for effective improvement in agriculture.

This is a 6 month program in which shortlisted agri startups with promising innovative business models will be mentored & guided to scale up their operations.

Accelerators are 4-8 month program aiming at scaling up innovative startups with a working prototype and initial market traction.

This is done through education, mentorship, and financing.

Startups enter accelerators for a fixed-period of time, and as part of a cohort. The cohort is shortlisted by evaluation panel comprising of industry veterans, business experts, R&D scientists.

Four distinct factors that make accelerators unique are fixed term, cohort based, mentorship driven and they culminate into demo day.

Looking at the impact created through NAARM TBI a-IDEA India’s first Food & Agribusiness accelerator 2015 in partnership with IIM-A CIIE, National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), DST has come forward to support AGRI UDAAN.

Through AGRI UDAAN DST will be reaching out to agri-startups across the country with a series of road shows in Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bangalore, Kolkata & Hyderabad.

This initiative is backed by Caspian Impact Investments as Platinum Partner, Yes Bank as Banking Partner, NCDEX eMarkets Ltd (NeML) & Marico Innovation Foundation as Silver partners.

AGRI UDAAN also received support from National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), Agrinnovate as tech transfer partners, and FICCI as outreach partner.

Selection Through Agri UDAAN

  • The application is available at www.aidea.naarm.org.in.
  • Applications will be evaluated by mentors from industry, business and partner organizations, based on the average scores top 40 startups will be shortlisted and allowed to pitch in front of panel of evaluators during cohort finalization programme on 9th and 10th of October 2017 at NAARM.
  • Out of these about 8 to 12 startups will be selected for final cohort for capacity building workshop.
  • The shortlisted cohort of startups will undergo a capacity building (CB) workshop in ICAR-NAARM. During this period, the startups will be trained in different aspects of technology commercialization, product validation, business plan preparation, risk analysis, customer engagement, finance management, fund raising etc.
  • There will be a match making between startup-mentor. The accelerator program will culminate with demo day/ investors meet at Hyderabad and Mumbai.


8)   Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare launched which quality mark logo at New Delhi?
- Published on 21 Jul 17

a. National Dairy Development Board
b. National Dairy Development Authority
c. National Dairy Development Scheme
d. National Dairy Development Programme
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: National Dairy Development Board

Explanation:
Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh on July 20, 2017 launched National Dairy Development Board “NDDB’s” Quality Mark “Logo” at Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi.

The Agriculture Minister also presented certificates to 14 selected manufacturing units for adopting food safety and quality management systems and adhering to Quality Mark parameters.

NDDB Quality Mark “Logo” is being launched as an umbrella brand identity.

This “Logo” signifies safe and quality milk and milk products from dairy cooperatives.

This reinforces the consumers’ recognition that the Quality Mark is synonymous with good quality.

The Minister said that NDDB’s Quality Mark will provide dairy cooperatives and producer institutions the much-needed brand identity and a competitive edge.

This will also contribute to building consumer confidence in dairy cooperative brands.

It is aimed at bringing about process improvement in the entire value chain from producer to the consumers to ensure availability of quality milk and milk products.

This initiative does not propose any new/additional system for Food Safety and Quality Management but lays down the processes required for ensuring quality and safety.

An eleven member Management Committee will oversee the activities of the Quality Mark. It has members from the DADF and Managing Directors of four Federations representing the regions.

The Management Committee also has a representative of FSSAI and two experts in dairying.

Interested Federations/Cooperative dairies/Educational institutions/Govt. dairy units may apply for the Quality Mark.

Only dairy units that adopt food safety and quality management systems for milk and milk products and adhere to parameters given the guidelines of Quality Mark are eligible.

The Agriculture Minister said that award of Quality Mark shall be valid for three years subject to maintenance of quality, food safety standards and compliance with the terms and conditions of the agreement.

Approval for award of Quality Mark shall be valid for three years, surveillance audit for checking compliance with the norms of the quality mark shall be held once every year.

Following the roll out of the initiative in January 2016, the NDDB has received 55 applications from the cooperatives across the country.

Of these, 14 units have successfully cleared the two stage assessment process.

The remaining 31 dairies were informed about the areas of improvement. They have been provided 6-9 months for implementing the corrective measures.

Initiative of NDDB will facilitate and strengthen the efforts of FSSAI.

It will also create requisite awareness among various dairy units across the country for adopting the quality measures detailed the guideline document.

Operational norms of participating dairy units will be monitored and validated. The assessment is a two-step process involving pre-assessment and a final assessment.

The pre-assessment largely covers the village level procurement and processing infrastructure availability, training manpower and the retail sales.

Only those units that score over 70% in the preliminary assessment are considered for final assessment which is done by a team of three experts of which one is an external expert.

The final assessment is made for the evaluation of critical and major parameters that influence the quality of the processed milk and milk products.


9)   Which state is leading in the production of litchi?
- Published on 30 May 17

a. Bihar
b. Odisha
c. Jharkhand
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Bihar

Explanation:
Bihar is also focused on research to develop new varieties and techniques of litchi farming to increase its production and to share information with the Extension Division.

Bihar is the top litchi producing State in the country. In Bihar, about 300 thousand metric tonnes of litchi is being produced from 32 thousand hectares of area.

Bihar’s contribution in the production of litchi is about 40 percent. Considering the importance of litchi, National Research Centre on Litchi was established on June 6, 2001.

The contribution of Muzaffarpur district in litchi’s production is impressive, but there is a need to increase the productivity of litchi, which is currently 8.0 tonne.

For this, all the government institutions, cooperatives and farmers will have to come forward.

Scientists at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and National Research Centre on Litchi have succeeded in treating litchi and preserving it for 60 days at low temperature.

The litchi producers will have to produce superior quality fruits for which National Research Centre on Litchi has developed several techniques.

The National Research Centre on Litchi is providing about 35-40 thousand plants every year to various institutions/states in the country.

National Research Centre on Litchi is working closely with other institutions of ICAR and agricultural universities of the state and the development centres of the Central and State Governments like National Horticulture Board, APEDA, National Horticulture Mission etc.

Centre has implemented ICAR’s Farmers First project in East Champaran district. As many as 1,000 families from 8 villages (Mehsi Block-Uzhilpur, Bakri Najir, Damodarpur Village, Chakia Block- Khairwa, Ramgarha, Jishnupura, Ojha Tola- Vaishah and Chintanpur-Malahi Tola village) are reaping the benefits of several new techniques.


10)   Which mango received the GI tag in May 2017?
- Published on 08 May 17

a. Banganpalle mango
b. Malda mango
c. Alphonso mango
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Banganpalle mango

Explanation:
The Banganapalle mango in the first week of May 2017 received a Geographical Indication (GI) tag.

This makes Andhra Pradesh the proprietor of the variety known for its sweetness.

The registration was given following an application from Andhra Pradesh Horticulture Commissioner.

The Andhra Pradesh government is the registered proprietor of the GI tag for Banganapalle mangoes, often hailed as “the king of fruits.”

It also known as Beneshan, Baneshan, Benishan, Chappatai and Safeda.

These mangoes are large sized, weighing on an average 350-400 grams.

The pulp is fibre less, firm and yellow with sweet taste. These mangoes have been grown for over 100 years in the state.

What is a GI Tag: Know More

  • A geographical indication is a name or sign used on certain products, which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin.
  • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 came into force with effect from 15 September 2003.
  • GIs have been defined under Article 22(1) of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights(TRIPS) Agreement.
  • The tag ensures that none other than those registered as authorised users (or at least those residing inside the geographic territory) are allowed to use the popular product name. Darjeeling tea was the first GI tagged product in India.


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