AgTech News : Post-harvest losses ‘alarming’

Coimbatore, July 17: Highlighting alarming data about post-harvest loss in agriculture, K Alagu Sundaram, Deputy Director General (Engineering), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) said the loss was estimated to range between 6 and 18 per cent in the two year period between 2005 and 2007. The exercise of assessing the loss was repeated seven years later during 2012 and 14 when it was found to hover between 5 and 15 per cent.

In real terms, the quantum of loss had shot up from?42,000 crore a year in 2005-07 to ?92,600 crore in 2012-14 period. The jump was mainly because of the increase in the procurement price and productivity increase, he said and lamented that technological interventions had not helped bring post-harvest loss under control.

The above findings were the outcome of a government survey involving 12,000 farmers across 105 districts covering 45 crops, he said.

Quantity apart, quality loss was found to be enormous at over? 3 lakh cr, Sundaram said, stressing the need for dissemination of technologies. “There is no dearth of technology to contain post-harvest losses; sadly it has not been penetrated beyond research labs.”

Primary processing centers The DDG was in the city delivering the Chief Guest address at the 15{+t}{+h} edition of the Agri Intex 2015 – agricultural trade fair presently underway at the Codissia Trade Fair Complex here.

He further said that 50 per cent of the loss was at the farm itself, before the produce is moved to the mandi. To address this issue, the ICAR, he said, plans to set up primary processing centers in the 220 agricultural institutes across the country.

Farm mechanization practices and processing centers is the need of the hour. Shortage of farm hands and rising labor costs will make agriculture a difficult proposition in the years to come.
"There is no food shortage in India. We have enough and more of vegetables, pulses and milk. We need to curb post-harvest losses by looking at value addition, innovative techniques and information dissemination", he reiterated.