ANGAMALY: The volume of foodgrains wasted in India is equivalent to the total volume of foodgrains produced in countries like Australia, which is a matter of great concern, said Global Agrisystem chairman Gokul Patnaik.
He was delivering a lecture at the Global Agro Meet, on ‘Post-Harvest Infrastructure, Cold Chain and Warehousing’, here on Friday. He said that without increasing the warehousing and cold-storage facilities, the wastage could not be tackled.
“In India, there is a shortage of non-air-conditioned warehouses of 35 million tones of capacity. About 6-10 per cent of the foodgrains produced in the country are wasted. The total loss is estimated at `7 crore. These statistics point to the importance of setting up more warehouses. Only 22 per cent of all the warehouses is situated in South India. So, there is a big scope for setting up more warehouses in this part of the country.
“The Grameen Bhandaran Yojana, the Central Government scheme aimed at promoting rural warehousing through public-private-partnership, is a welcome move in this regard,” he said, adding that more warehouses should be set up in order to maintain the quality of fruits and vegetables.
“Earlier, grape was not exported to the European countries from India. But, with better warehousing facilities, now it is being exported to EU countries,” he added. Speaking on the occasion, National Centre for Cold Chain Development chief advisor Pawanexh Kohli said that state-of-the-art market connectivity was the need of the hour to bring agriculture produces to gainful end-users. “The Central Government’s ‘Integrated Development of Horticulture’ mission envisages providing better cold chain facilities across the country. At present, some agriculture crops are being wasted grossly, at times to extent of 50 per cent of the total production. In order to tackle the issue, the NABARD has started giving loans directly to individuals at interest rates of 9.25-9.5 per cent to set up warehouse/cold chain facilities. The farmers are provided with tax benefits on capital investment in cold chains. The last Union Budget had earmarked `5,000 crore for the project,” he said, adding that farmers could bring in technology to the cold chains to augment revenue.
Blue State Limited executive director B Thiagarajan, KINRA strategist Manu George and CTCRI principal scientist M S Sajeev also spoke.