Forget about urban agriculture that seeks to grow crops over rooftops. India will get a taste of Metropolitan agriculture when a 10-member delegation from Michigan State University (the US), which has evolved concepts and technologies on Metropolitan Agriculture, visits India next month.

The Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) will sign an agreement with the university as it sets up Food 360 degrees Foundation to popularise Metropolitan Agriculture in India.

“You should not mistake urban agriculture with Metropolitan Agriculture. Urban agriculture could just be one component of the latter. Metropolitan Agriculture is a holistic approach to the food culture needs of the urban areas,” Kalyan Chakravarthy, IFFCO Kisan Special Economic Zone, told Business Line.

The supply and demand sides of food needs of the urban population have changed significantly. The demand is also inextricably linked to specific set of quality, safety and gourmet requirements. The Michigan State University has evolved technologies and methods to ensure all these are achieved.

Metro agriculture is being practised in cities such as Detroit and in the Netherlands. “They could establish integrated value chain that includes an efficient supply chain. This is what urban population would require,” J.A. Chowdary, Chair of Food 360 degrees, a FICCI event to be held in November.

The Michigan varsity model comprises a Product Centre that works with consumers and producer groups to understand their aspirations and challenges in achieving them. “It works with a different kind of PPP – People, Planet and Profits. Technology plays a significant role in this. The product centre has a set of technologies for achieving the objectives of Metropolitan agriculture,” Kalyan said.

Incidentally, the Government of Andhra Pradesh too has begun work in this direction. It recently organised workshops on farming in urban setting.

kurmanath.kanchi@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 4, 2012)
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