Monday, 2 March 2015

How supply chain solutions can help reduce farm wastage

Technology can be a key enabler in establishing efficient and transparent processes and reduce post-harvest losses
While it is laudable that India has achieved self-sufficiency in foodgrains production, it is equally distressing that every year an enormous amount of food stocks get wasted due to archaic procurement, storage and warehousing methods. Typical storage losses for agricultural products in the country account for approximately 10 per cent of the entire goods. This results in huge burden on the economy because one, it leads to inflation as additional supplies could have helped cool down prices and two, this production can go a long way in providing food to millions of poor at highly subsidised rates.
According to a FICCI study conducted on SLCM’s systems and processes “AGRI REACH” (Patent Pending) , using scientific processes for managing storage and agri logistics in existing structures can reduce storage losses from 10 per cent to a mere 0.5 per cent, translating into a saving of $13 billion or roughly Rs. 80,000 crore every year. This has been clearly demonstrated by SLCM Group & validated by the detailed study of FICCI – Partnership to Scale New Heights: India-US Collaboration in Agriculture.
Price escalation
Given the demand for foodgrains – it will only increase in the coming years due to surge in population, rising income levels and changing dietary preferences - the country can ill-afford such colossal wastage of agriculture produce. The pressure will only increase as the available farm land will decline due to rapid urbanisation and the need to build associated infrastructure. A combination of these factors is bound to push up prices.
It is thus imperative that apart from raising agricultural productivity, improvement in management of supply chain would be crucial for maintaining overall economic growth and prevent any sharp escalation in prices. India must start demonstrating and adopting best warehousing practices for a robust supply chain management for agriculture as well as farm products.
Price fluctuations
For instance, though we are the largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, inadequate post-harvest storage and transportation cause losses of around 30-40 per cent, while only 7 per cent value-addition takes place. Only about 2 per cent of the production is processed commercially.
The current cold storage capacity is barely sufficient for 10 per cent of fruits and vegetables produced in the country. Improper warehousing practices result in seasonal fluctuations in product prices. According to NITI Aayog (formerly Planning Commission), the estimated gap between agri-warehousing supply and demand is 35 million tonnes. Here too, there is substantial inter-regional imbalance as North India has access to 60 per cent of the total storage. Existing marketing channels are dominated by multiple intermediaries, thereby adding to the woes of the producers of perishable agri goods.
Logistical problems
By simply adopting best practices, the availability of foodgrains will be 9.5 per cent more, which is equivalent to almost Rs. 76,000 crore. Also, there is an urgent need to spruce up both road and rail connectivity. This will ensure that farm produce can be transported across the length and breadth of the country in a more secure environment and in quick time, thereby ensuring minimal impact on the quality of the produce. Technology can be a key enabler and game changer in establishing efficient and transparent processes in the supply chain system and facilitate sharp reduction in post-harvest losses. India’s farm output is precious and the efforts should be aimed at ensuring that not even a morsel is wasted. There is a need for a sustained campaign to improve existing storage spaces and introduce technology to make the entire supply chain smooth, transparent and mobile to ensure quality, timely delivery, right price and minimal losses.
The writer is the CEO, SLCM Group. Views are personal.

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Wheat crop escapes the worst

Some damage from freak rainfall; Centre seeks reports from States

Even as concern was expressed in Parliament on Monday, the Centre has sought reports from States on the impact of unusual rainfall in parts of north India.
Preliminary reports suggested some damage to standing crop from hail in Bundelkhand region in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and in parts of Vidharbha. But for the rest, the government has reports from States.
Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, who reviewed the situation with senior officials here, was informed that although heavy rains lashed parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab as well, due to late sowing of rabi (wheat crop) the standing wheat crop escaped the worst. Elsewhere some damage was reported to standing fruits and vegetable crop as well as to mustard in Rajasthan.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar ordered a special “girdawari” or assessment by the agriculture and revenue department officials to assess the loss. The damage is feared to be widespread because large parts of the State have soil which retains water or where the water does not drain due to a high water table. A Punjab farmer, Sukhwant Singh, said high winds had flattened much of the crop. “Had the rain and winds come about 10 days later the damage would not have been this extensive for the sticks and the grains would have firmed up by then. Also lesser rain without wind would have helped improve the grain quality.”
Meanwhile, the Haryana State Secretariat of CPI(M) has expressed concern over fears of damage to the standing crop. State secretary Surender Singh said: “The hopes of farmers for a bumper crop have been shattered as the crops especially wheat have been flattened just at the verge of maturity.”
The party has demanded immediate survey to assess the extent of damage and declaration of compensation to the affected cultivators.
In Punjab, which had produced a record 113 lakh tons of wheat in 2013-14, the damage to the crops is expected to be less since the wind velocity was not as high.
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Rural youth groups to take modern machinery for agriculture

Rural youth groups are all set to take modern machinery to agriculture across Vellore district.
Implements at subsidised cost
In a bid to encourage mechanisation in farming, the Agricultural Engineering Department has formed 40 rural youth groups, two in each of the 20 blocks in the district, and has started to provide modern farm implements and machinery at subsidised cost.
Through this, the youth groups can provide the machinery / implements for rent to farmers. The State government had allotted Rs. 410 lakh for the scheme for the district.
“Each group has a minimum of eight members and up to 10 to 12 members. We provide the groups with equipment at 80 per cent subsidy and also train them in the operation and maintenance of the machinery,” M.S. Inbanathan, executive engineer, Agricultural Engineering Department, Vellore.
Farm implements and machinery including tractors, cultivators, equipment used for de-weeding, sowing and seed drillers are provided to these groups.
The scheme took off on Monday with four rural youth groups receiving the machinery.
Agricultural equipment worth Rs. 40 lakh with subsidy of Rs. 32 lakh was given to four groups from Jolarpet (Jolarpet block), Balamathi (Vellore), Kaatupudur (Kaniyambadi) and Reddivalam (Nemili) villages, a press release said.
“All 40 groups will receive the equipment by March 31. The eligibility criteria for the members include age less than 35 years, belonging to a rural area and minimum educational qualification of class VIII,” he added.
This initiative has many benefits as officials said it will solve the shortage of labourers for agriculture prevailing in the district and create jobs for at least 400 youth. “It will encourage use of modern equipment in agriculture,” R. Jayasundar, joint director of Agriculture, Vellore added.

Collector R. Nanthagopal distributed the farm implements to the group members.

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Tuberose cultivation picking up

A tuberose farmer explaining features of plantations at a field at Nagaiyanallur in Tiruchi.— Photo: A.Muralitharan
A tuberose farmer explaining features of plantations at a field at Nagaiyanallur in Tiruchi.— Photo: A.Muralitharan
Tuberose cultivation is picking up in Tiruchi district — thanks to the promotion by Horticulture Department by giving subsidies. At present, the crop has been raised on 125 hectares of land in the district. Horticulture department has been giving a subsidy of Rs. 37,500 an hectare for meeting cultivation expenses. Apart from this, subsidy was given for putting shade net and drip irrigation.
S. Sadasivam of Thimmanayakkanpudur in Thottiyam block has raised tuberose on 1,000 sq mt. area under shade net. The plants are four months old and started flowering. He plans to harvest 5 to 10 kg of flowers a day when the crop is in full bloom.
Price varies from Rs. 50 to Rs. 400 a kg depending upon the season. Tuberose was mainly used for making garlands.
“Horticulture Department gave me a subsidy of Rs. 37,500. Total cost of cultivation came to around Rs. 75,000. The department has given Rs. 3 lakh for putting up shade net,” said Mr. Sadasivam. Tuberose cultivation had been taken up by farmers in Thuraiyur, Uppiliapuram, parts of Manapparai, Vaiyampatti, Lalgudi, and Musiri, said P. Ravichandran, Assistant Director of Horticulture.
Jasmine and Ixora are cultivated in the district on 500 hectares of land. For Ixora, a subsidy of Rs. 10,000 a hectare was given, said Mr. Ravichandran.
To encourage farmers who cultivate flowers, flower seeds, grafted plants, and saplings were given on 50 per cent subsidy.
To promote organic farming, 50 per cent back end subsidy was given to farmers who produce vermin compost.
Fifty per cent back end subsidy was given for farmers who put shade nets and green houses.

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FMD vaccination for cattle

The fourth round of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccination is slated to cover 3,63,300 cattle heads here in the district. Cattle including oxen, buffaloes and calves above 4 months old will be covered in the vaccination drive. According to the administration, awareness has been created among farmers, livestock owners and breeders. The 21-day FMD vaccination camp that commenced on Sunday is scheduled to continue till March 21.

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Cattle vaccination drive begins

The Department of Animal Husbandry has begun the vaccination drive to protect animals from foot and mouth disease. According to sources, on March 1, the Department staff vaccinated 750 cows, calves, bulls and buffaloes and on Monday they administered the vaccines to 9,600 animals in Coimbatore district.
The Department would continue the exercise till March 21 to cover the targeted 2,42,775 bovine population. It had been giving the vaccines once in every six months to prevent foot and mouth disease outbreak. The current drive is the eighth.
The last time the district recorded cattle death due to foot and mouth was in November 2013. Four animals succumbed to the disease.
Staff Reporter from Tirupur adds: The Department of Animal Husbandry has commenced the drive across the district to vaccinate 3.4 lakh cows and buffaloes against foot and mouth disease.
Joint Director of Animal Husbandry L. Nagarajan said that 75 teams had been constituted by the department to administer vaccines to the animals at the door steps of the farmers.
Each team comprised one veterinarian, a livestock inspector and an assistant.
The drive would continue till March 21.

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நீலகிரி மாவட்டத்தில் 45 ஆயிரம் கால்நடைகளுக்கு கோமாரி நோய் தடுப்பூசி போடப்படும் கலெக்டர் சங்கர் தகவல்


நீலகிரி மாவட்டத்தில் உள்ள 45 ஆயிரம் கால் நடைகளுக்கு கோமாரி நோய் தடுப்பூசி போடப் படும் என்று மாவட்ட கலெக்டர் சங்கர் தெரி வித்தார்.

கோமாரி நோய் தடுப்பூசி

தமிழக அரசின் உத்தரவுப் படி கோமாரி நோயினை கட்டுப்படுத்திட மாநிலம் முழுவதும் உள்ள கால் நடை களுக்கு தடுப்பூசி போடப்பட்டு வருகிறது. இதன்படி நீலகிரி மாவட்டத் தில் 8-வது சுற்று கோமாரி தடுப்பூசி போடும் பணி நஞ்ச நாடு பகுதிக்குட் பட்ட குருத் துக்குளி கிராமத் தில் நேற்று நடைபெற்றது.

நிகழ்ச்சிக்கு மாவட்டகலெக் டர் சங்கர் தலைமை தாங்கி னார். கால்நடை பராமரிப்புத் துறை மண்டல இணை இயக்கு னர் மனோகரன் முன்னிலை வகித்தார். பின்னர் 120 மாடு களுக்கு தடுப்பூசி போடப்பட் டன. இதுகுறித்து மாவட்ட கலெக்டர் சங்கர் கூறிய தாவது:-

45 ஆயிரம் கால்நடைகள்

நீலகிரி மாவட்டத்தில் 42 ஆயிரத்து 929 பசு மாடுகளுக் கும், 2 ஆயிரத்து 71 எருமை மாடுகள் என மொத்தம் 45 ஆயிரம் கால்நடைகளுக்கு 26 மருத்துவ குழுவினர் இணைந்து கோமாரி நோய் தடுப்பூசி போடும் பணியில் ஈடுபட்டு உள்ளனர்.

இந்த பணிகள் 21-ந் தேதி வரை நடைபெறும். மேலும், இதில் விடுபட்ட கால்நடை களுக்கு 22-ந் தேதி முதல் 31-ந் தேதி வரை கோமாரி நோய் தடுப்பூசி போடப்படும். நீல கிரி மாவட்டத்தில் கால் நடை பராமரிப்புத்துறையும், ஆவின் நிறுவனமும்இணைந்து இந்த தடுப்பூசி போடும் பணி களை செயல்படுத்தி வருகிறது.

நோய் எதிர்ப்பு சக்தி

இதில் அனைத்து கால் நடைகளின் நோய் எதிர்ப்பு சக்தியை கண்டறிவதற்காக கால்நடைகளுக்கு தடுப்பூசி போடப்படு வதற்கு முன்பும், தடுப்பூசி போட்ட பின்பும் கால்நடைகளின் ரத்தம் ஆய் விற்காக எடுத்துக் கொள்ளப் பட்டு, வேலூர் ராணி பேட்டையில் உள்ள நோய் தடுப்பு மருந்து நிலையத்திற்கு அனுப்பி வைக்கப்படும்.

இதன் மூலம் கால்நடை களின் நோய் எதிர்ப்பு சக்தியை அதிகப்படுத்தி, கோமாரிநோய் ஏற்படாமல் தடுக்கும் நடவ டிக்கை மேற்கொள்ளப் படும்.

இவ்வாறு அவர் கூறி னார்.

இந்த நிகழ்ச்சியில் ஆவின் பொது மேலாளர் குப்பன், உதவி இயக்குனர் சுகுமாரன், கால்நடை நோய் புலனாய்வுத் துறை சுதா உள்பட ஏராள மானோர் கலந்து கொண்ட னர்.

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