How day-to-day weather patterns impact perishable food industry

Our Bureau. Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on November 19, 2020



The perishable food industry is crucially dependent on ambient weather for sourcing, logistics, transportation and distribution, according to entrepreneurs who spoke at a webinar on ‘Weather and its Impact on Business,’ co-hosted by BusinessLine and The Weather Company, on Thursday. Vinson Kurian, Senior Deputy Editor, BusinessLine, moderated the session.

Dairy industry

RS Sodhi, Managing Director, Gujarat Cooperatie Milk Marketing Federation (Milma), set the tone by pointing out that the dairy industry gets impacted from day-to-day weather patterns. “Milk production, procurement, distribution, and even demand vary a lot because of weather,” he said.

Milk production is very low in the summer. As for the rainy season, if it rains normally, it is okay. But if continues to rain six to 10 days at a stretch, production is hit because of stress on cows and buffaloes, which keep standing all these days. Potential for disease outbreak is made worse by the mosquito menace. Winter is good for production, but that brings also into focus a variation to the extent of 25-30 per cent vis-a-vis summer.

Mustafa PC, CEO and Co-Founder, iD Fresh Food, was of the view that running a fresh food business is the toughest business out there. “You have to maintain a zero-inventory model across procurement and the last mile. We deal in highly perishable food with three day’s shelf-life. Weather change is very important for us.”

iD Fresh Food had to even to stop producing some items as it was not able to procure the raw material. Natural fermentation of the iD batter doesn’t work out in some seasons. “That’s the kind of challenge we face. We source idli rice from a particular geography in Tamil Nadu. But a flood that wipes out the entire crop is a nightmare for us.”

Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO, CropIn Technology Solutions, which specialises in data-driven farming, said that his company manages 8 million acres of production in 52 countries. “We focus on climate-resilient agriculture. If the rain doesn’t happen, the sowing window changes, the moment the sowing window changes, the yield drops. We’ve developed AI models around these issues and have deployed them globally. ”

Himanshu Goyal, India Business Leader, The Weather Company, explained how the agriculture industry, which processes and distributes the world’s food supply, faces challenges as it undergoes massive disruptions, including the volatile weather, growing environmental and regulatory pressures, and greater demand for food quality and sustainability. But companies engaged in building the agriculture ecosystem are now turning weather insights into their competitive advantage, Goyal noted.

Published on November 19, 2020

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