The government of India has set a goal to boost the country’s food processing capability by 2.5 times over the next decade in response to a major loss of agricultural products after harvest, the Business Standard [India] reported.
Of India’s total agricultural output, food processing only makes up 10%. Radha Mohan Singh, Union minister of agriculture and farmers’ welfare told the publication that the government intends to raise the output by 25% by 2025.
“The government is promoting the processed food industry to make value-addition in agricultural products. Not only this, the government is also chalking out its program through different schemes to increase the production of fruits and vegetables and its processing with the assistance from the ministry of food processing industries,” Minister Singh said at a meeting of the Indian Grain Storage Working Group on Saturday, according to the Business Standard.
The newspaper said that the new goal is attributable to poor post-harvest management, particularly the lack of “scientific warehouses,” and poor care in storage.
S. Ganesan, public and policy advisor for Crop Care Federation of India, told the Business Standard, “India is the second-largest producer of agricultural products and leader in the post-harvest management losses. We deliberated the mechanism to reduce post-harvest agricultural losses which according to us should be possible through increasing scientific storage capacity and preventing damage through fumigation and other means of protection of stored produce.”
The Indian government has adopted a region-based approach, including technical setup assistance, aiding in post-harvest management, help with processing and marketing, and other measures.
Minister Singh suggested setting up a committee to recommend ways to increase efficiency in warehouses to reduce post-harvest crop loss. The country is also looking for ways to introduce new technology for handling harvested crops.