Agri Business

‘Better post-harvest handling can help save 25 mt foodgrains’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on October 04, 2013

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An estimated 25 million tonnes of foodgrains, accounting for about a tenth of country’s output, could be saved from wastage if farmers are trained to adopt proper post-harvest management practices, a study has revealed.

The study “Value Addition in Agricultural Products in India,” carried out by industry body Assocham said if farmers are educated on how to handle post-harvest cleaning and grading, it would help avoid significant spillage and wastage at various points from farm-to-market yard.

Farmers sell their produce in market yards without cleaning and grading, which is done by traders. As a result, farmers get a low price, it pointed out.

“There is a need to educate farmer community about traders’ needs in terms of quality, grades and application of permissible preservatives for a longer shelf life,” said Assocham Secretary General D.S. Rawat. Also, the present system of bulk procurement of wheat and rice by the Government in various States is disincentivising the farmers to invest their time in cleaning and grading, as any premium on better quality and grade is not commensurate with the returns they fetch, the study said.

Farmers must be informed that higher grades would fetch them better price and they should thus go for better varieties right from the time of sowing. Further, it pointed out that the Government should also encourage system of farmer graded grain in procurement in synchrony with the trade and export needs. “The government should encourage private sector participation in grain trade with a pro-active export policy given the severe storage and maintenance problems together with mounting subsidy on wheat and rice procurement,” Rawat said.

The study said post-harvest infrastructure development is a pre-requisite for value addition in agri-exports.

“India can also tap the great potential for exporting 20 mt rice, wheat, maize and other cereals without disturbing the domestic equilibrium,” the study said.

vishwanath.kulkarni@thehindu.co.in

Published on October 04, 2013

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