India, the land of Agriculture has over 70% of its population engaged in agriculture but it contributes a meager 7- 8% to world’s produce as compared to US where just 4% of the entire population is engaged in agriculture and it claims to feed the entire world. Given the vast agricultural lands and less produce, India not only needs to upgrade its yielding capacity and increase the shelf life of its produce but also sustain the farmers in agriculture sector through value addition in this sector, remarked Hon’ble Mr. Subodh Kant Sahai- Minister of State for Food Processing Industries (I/C), Government of India while sharing his concern over the post harvest loss of horticulture and agriculture produce during the inauguration of the Indo- US Bilateral workshop cum Training on “Post Harvest Technology, Cold Chain Management and Food Safety Issues” held at Amity University, Sector- 125, Noida. The workshop is supported by Indo- US Science Technology Forum, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India and Global Agri-System.
Lauding the efforts of Amity University in training human resource in the area of Cold Chain Management and calling it a “ Gurukul of India” where ethos, culture and technology go together, Hon’ble Minister said that there is a dearth of expertise in the areas of Food Processing, Preservation and Agricultural Production, which can be provided by educational institutions. New courses and programmes have to be begin by educational institutions in this upcoming sector. He also shared that his ministry is establishing a University of Food Technology in collaboration with Cornell University, USA to develop people in agricultural sector. His ministry is celebrating year 2008- 09 as “Food Safety and Quality Year”
To reduce the post harvest loses, Mr. Sahai suggested the investments by third party in the agricultural sector, adequate and standardized markets to sell the produce and formulation of special tax policies in this sector to encourage and increase the investment.
Hon’ble Minister of State for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India , Dr. Akhilesh Prasad Singh said “India with a population of 1.08 billion provides a large and growing market for food products. Food products are the single largest components of private consumption expenditure in India accounting for as much as 49% of the total spending. With globalization of trade and availability of high speed logistics, food retailers in developed countries are sourcing round the year supply of fruits and vegetabIes from developing countries. Thus, both for local consumption as well as for export, there is a vast opportunity for processing fruits, vegetab1es, meat, poultry products and ready to eat processed foods”. Talking about the current wastage scenario in India he remarked that total post losses in India for all commodities which is mainly on account of fragmented farming, poor transportation and inadequate storage facilities are estimated to be in excess of Rs. 80 thousand crores annually. In developed countries, over 98% of agricultural produce undergoes industrial processing whereas barely 30% is processed in developing countries. He called for the establishment of adequate number of pack houses, ripening chambers, cold storage units, refrigerated vans etc. to fight the post harvest loss of perishable produce.
Welcoming the distinguished gathering, Dr. Ashok K Chauhan- Founder President, Amity thanked the erudite speakers for being a part of the workshop, which he hoped will provide a platform to the speakers and delegates from US and 17 states across India to share the topical expertise and developments in the area of Cold Chain Management.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. J.N.L Srivastava, IAS (Retd.)- Ex Agriculture Secretary, Government of India and Managing Trustee, IFFCO Foundation opined that post harvest care of agricultural produce should start from production and not only after harvesting. If crops are grown scientifically there would be less number of weeds which means less use of pesticides and a healthy agricultural produce. He outlined seven measures to combat post harvest losses including development of eco – friendly and less energy intensive cold chain management techniques, improvement of the deliverance of the services outlined in the agriculture related policies and programmes of the Government, up gradation of infrastructure Public- Private partnership and development of human resource by providing relevant education and training to the farmers.
Also present during the inauguration were Mr. Daljit Mirchandani- Managing Director, INGERSOLL RAND (India) Pvt. Ltd., Dr. Arabinda Mitra- Ex. Director, Indo- US Science and Technology Foundation, Dr. Adel A. Kader- US Principal Investigator, Professor Emeritus of Post Harvest Physiology, University of California, Davis, Dr. Elizabeth Mitcham from University of California , Davis, Mr. Ronald P. Vallort, PE- Ron Vallort and Associates Ltd., USA, Dr. Farbod Youssefi- Consultant, Chilean Food Industry, Mr. Carlos Secrist- Richmond Cold Storage, USA, Mr. Anand Chauhan- Trustee, RBEF and Dr. Sunil Saran- Vice Chairman- Amity Science Technology Innovation Foundation.
The workshop will focus on three major areas- Cold Chain Management, Post Harvest Technology and Food Safety Issues. The workshop primarily targets North- East region and hilly areas of India, viz a viz Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand.
The objectives of the workshop are
- To develop an awareness regarding the latest development in post harvest technology with special emphasis on tropical products.
- To enhance the knowledge of the participants regarding use of appropriate cold/cool chain technology based on sound scientific and technical principles.
- To generate awareness regarding the global food safety management systems(HACCP, ISO-22000,GAP,GMP,GHP etc.)
- Ski1l development of individuals working in the field of post harvest management, cold/cool chain and food safety.
To promote good practices of safety and quality and strict adoption in food sector.
- To promote good practices of safety and quality and strict adoption in food sector.
- To sensitize the stakeholders towards the importance of supply chain.
Some of the interactive sessions of the workshop include “ Post Harvest Technology in Developed v/s Developing Countries” , “ Increasing Food Availability by Decreasing Post Harvest Losses”” Food Ripening Technology” by Dr. Adel A. Kader- US Principal Investigator, Professor Emeritus of Post Harvest Physiology, University of California, Davis, “ Controlled and Modified Atmosphere” , “ Post- Harvest Insect Control and Quarantine Treatment”, “ Post Harvest Handling of Mangoes” by Dr. Elizabeth Mitcham from University of California , Davis, “ Refrigeration and Cold Storage Practices” by Mr. Ronald P. Vallort, PE- Ron Vallort and Associates Ltd., USA, “ Physiological Principles of Post harvest Practices” by Dr. Farbod Youssefi- Consultant, Chilean Food Industry, “ Speed v/s Safety” by Mr. Carlos Secrist- Richmond Cold Storage, USA and many more.