Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Post-harvest handling to curb agri wastage highlight at AIFPA-AFST meet
Monday, 05 February, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Anurag More, Mumbai
In India, lot of agriculture produce gets wasted hence there is need for post-harvest handling, according to D V Malhan, executive secretary, AIFPA. The food processing sector expert was speaking at a national seminar on 'Post harvest handling, ambient controlled storage and supply chain management’ held here recently.

The programme, organised by AIFPA (All India Food Processors’ Association) and AFST (I) Mumbai (Association of Food Scientists and Technologists [India] Mumbai), comprised theme lectures and panel discussions by eminent governmental, academic and industry professionals.
Highlighting the importance of recently-presented Budget on the issue at hand, Dr Prabodh Halde, chairman, west zone, AIFPA, and national president, AFST(I), and head, technical regulatory affairs, Marico Ltd, Mumbai, said, "In the Budget this year, government has allocated Rs 1,400 crore for food processing. Indian food processing should grow for the industry and for the nation." He stated that 33% of food is wasted in India, which needs to be worked upon and there is huge growth for the agriculture and food processing industry.

Dr Smita Lele, registrar, Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, said, "India being agricultural country, agriculture sector is not growing at the rate it should grow. There are various hurdles such as there are part-time farmers, who do farming for very few months and rest of time they take up other jobs. Farmers don't cultivate crops which they want but cultivate crops which are easily sold in the market."

According to Lele, farmers income should be doubled in next three years, as food processing has good allocation in the Budget. She insisted that only B and C grade fruits should be processed, whereas, A grade fruits should be sold in the market for consumption and we should have preliminary processing at the point of production so that there is minimum wastage.

Milind Akre, general manager, agribusiness, Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board, Mumbai, said, "For farmers in India, their agriculture produce is money for him. Many a times, farmers have to throw away their produce because it doesn’t fetch them good prices. Farmers here are the best scientists and their farms are their labs. Farmers main aim is to sell produce at the earliest and it should fetch good amount.”

Akre felt that the money allocated for food processing in the Budget was very less, despite India being land of agriculture, wheres other sectors got good allocation. “If we want to double our farmers income and improve food processing, the industry will need more money,” he observed.

Dr Harinder Oberoi, principal scientist and head, division of post-harvest technology and agri engg, Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR), Bengaluru, gave presentation on 'Status and advances in post-harvest technology in horticulture. He said that India was the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world. The country exported about 0.75 million tonne of processed fruits and vegetables during 2016-17, while export of about 4.11mn tonne of fresh fruits and vegetables during 16-17 fetched a revenue of Rs 10,370 crore. Further, he spoke about the farm to fork model and major farm to fork companies in India..

Manjunath Patil from OSI Group gave presentation on 'Food supply chain management: challenges and opportunities.' He spoke about Indian food industry and food processing sector in India. There is huge wastage across the supply chain and it leads to lower level of processing and hence, low value addition. According to him, by 2020, India's food processing industry will be US$482 billion, notable trends are changing consumer tastes, entry of international companies, rising demand for Indian products in international market, higher consumption of horticulture crops, emphasis on healthier ingredients, sensible snacking.

Patil pointed out that key driver for the sector was informal eating out. Patil stated that Indian traditional foods were still region-specific and have a great potential of commercialisation in India and abroad. Standard process and machineries for continuous manufacturing are required. India is a global leader in livestock products and poultry will evolve from a backyard business to consolidated business.

Dr G D Joshi, director of instruction, Dr B S K K Vidyapeeth, Dapoli, gave presentation on 'Post harvest management and value addition of horticulture crops with particular reference to fruits and vegetables. He said, "India's fruit and vegetable processing unit capacity utilisation is about 45 per cent as against 95 to 99 per cent in the advanced countries. India utilises about 2 per cent fruits and 4 per cent vegetables. He also spoke about backward and forward linkages of horticultural production, maturity indices of fruits and vegetables, methods of preservation.”
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