Schermafbeelding 2019-05-28 om 11.03.55

Dear NAFTC relation,

Schermafbeelding 2019-05-28 om 11.32.56

The Indo Dutch Dairy Days 2019

The Dutch Dairy Cluster India (DDCI) successfully organized Dutch Dairy Days (DDD) event with the support of The Embassy of The Netherlands, Delhi and NXT Group in Mumbai (Maharashtra) on 13th May 2019, Pune (Maharashtra) on 14th May 2019, Hyderabad (Telangana) on 15th May 2019 , Chennai (Tamil Nadu) on 16th May 2019 and Bangalore (Karnataka) on 17th May 2019.

Dutch Dairy Cluster India members (Royal de Heus, Trouw Nutrition, Alta Genetics, Hokofarm, Kamphuis and Lekkerkerker) were present at the Dutch Dairy Days.

Objective of DDD:
* Creating Awareness
* Connecting stakeholders
* Educating and training farmers about advance and efficient dairy practices
* Create relationships between DDCI members and Indian Government and large-scale industries

During the event, the DDCI members witnessed a good number of enquiries from Cooperative, Dairy Industries, farmers, scientists, investors and dairy consultants who were interested in using Dutch know-how, products and services related to breed, dairy automation and feed management.


Pepsico India withdraws all cases against Gujarat potato farmers

The company had sued nine farmers in Gujarat for alleged intellectual property “rights infringement” on grounds that they “illegally” grew its registered potato variety used to make Lay’s chips.

Pepsico India Holdings Ltd on May 10, 2019, reportedly withdrew all its cases against nine farmers in Gujarat for alleged intellectual property “rights infringement”.
Pepsico India had filed the case on grounds that the farmers had “illegally” grown its registered potato variety used to make Lay’s chips.

The company had reportedly been under intense pressure from its headquarters as well as the public and political parties since it filed the cases.
The suits had sought payments of $143,000 from each farmer, who operate small farms. It was the money — $143,000 — that caught attention: how can a poor farmer pay such a huge amount? And instinctively, you side with the farmer. But is that instinct correct? Who is right: the farmers or the drinks major they are up against?

PepsiCo is one of India’s biggest food and beverage manufacturers. It developed the disputed FC5 variety in response to supply-chain shortages that affected Lays’ production. The potato has low moisture and sugar content, which is ideal for chips. The company collaborates with 24,000 farmers in India, selling them potato seeds, providing agricultural assistance and buys the produce at a pre-determined price. PepsiCo registered FC5 under India’s Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Act in 2016.

In April this year, PepsiCo approached the Gujarat High Court, asking it to prevent the four farmers from growing and selling the FC5 variety illegally. A similar case was registered last year against five farmers in which PepsiCo demanded Rs 1 crore each in compensation for patent infringement.

The $64-billion company surely does not need the paltry Rs 9 crore and other farmers growing the FC5 potato do not affect the multi-national’s supply chain. The company offered to drop the demand for compensation, provided the farmers sold the produce to it at a pre-determined price or stop growing the FC5 potato. Finally, in consultation with the government, PepsiCo on May 2 dropped the suit citing ongoing discussions with the government for a long-term and amicable solution to seed protection.

The case may have ended but it put the spotlight firmly on the PPVFR Act. As India looks to increase agricultural yield and embrace new farm technologies, the Lay’s case is unlikely to be the last. PepsiCo claims that the PPVFR Act gives it the exclusive rights to grow the FC5 variety for Lays. But does it? Well, not explicitly.

Article 39 (iv) of the PPVFR Act says: “A farmer shall be deemed to be entitled to save, use, sow, resow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce, including seed of a variety protected under this Act in the same manner as he was entitled before the coming into force of this Act: Provided that the farmer shall not be entitled to sell branded seed of a variety protected under this Act.”

Simply put, farmers can exchange seeds among themselves or sell the produce, including new seeds, to a buyer. Thus, the Gujarat farmers could grow the FC5 from seeds they got from other farmers and sell the potato in the market but without claiming that these were FC5 or PepsiCo potatoes.

There have been no reports that the farmers violated the PPFVR Act. If this is the case, PepsiCo’s claim of patent infringement is unsubstantial. Of course, if PepsiCo has evidence of the farmers selling the FC5 potato in a branded packaging, it has every right to approach the courts. But if some reports are to be believed, the farmers were selling the produce to potato chip manufacturers. If this is the case, PepsiCo may be using patent infringement to actually restrict the supply of the FC5 potato to rival manufacturers.

Is it fair if rival companies get access to potatoes researched and developed by PepsiCo through the PPVFR Act? While it may not seem fair, there are two things to be considered. One, the farmers’ action is fair in the view of the PPFVR Act. Second, the farmers could not have claimed the potatoes to be FC5 and even if they did verbally, without any material branding, a rival company purchasing the potatoes would have to do so on trust without any legal recourse if they were duped.

Should the laws be amended to give better protection to seed companies? Many firms have found a solution by creating crops that do not produce seed, forcing farmers to buy seeds every year. This works if the income from the yield is higher than the cost to the farmer. Otherwise, the farmer can buy from companies whose seeds may not be high-yielding but will provide seeds the next season. There is complete transparency in this process and the final choice remains with the farmer. Further, most companies do not buy back the products of their seed and remain unaffected by where the farmer sells the produce.

PepsiCo’s case is peculiar because they are the breeder as well as the end-buyer. Amending laws so that companies control the supply chain would be detrimental to the ecosystem. Buying the produce back at prices higher than market rates or providing extra benefits to farmers who sell the produce to the breeder is one solution that can be looked at.

In the long-run, the case may not be of patent infringement, but a signal to other farmers and rival manufacturers to keep off Lay’s potatoes. If the case is of patent infringement, we should stand by PepsiCo. But if it is PepsiCo trying to using intellectual property to protect its potato from reaching its competitors, we need to side with the farmers. In either case, letting the courts decide in a transparent manner instead of opaque government-company discussions would go a long way in setting precedents for farmers and seed companies.


Driving exports can improve the status of Indian farmers and agriculture

Agricultural exports accounted for 44 percent of total exports in 1960,and fell to about 31 percent in 1980, and then 15 percent in 1993. If the income of farmers has to be doubled, the agricultural growth in the country must be export driven.

Successive governments have chosen to look at India’s agriculture sector with a myopic lens, lacking understanding and often with unthinking reaction to ensure affordable food prices. As a result, the market price of crops, and farmers’ incomes, have never got a chance to stabilize.

There is a solution here - exporting agricultural products can improve the scenario for the agricultural sector. There is considerable merit in exporting surplus products, which will allow farmers to earn higher income. Also, some farmers have started growing and exporting flowers and allied products, finding a good number of buyers in the US, Japan, and in Germany. Similarly, India’s fruits have a good market in the Netherlands and Japan, while specific fruits like mangoes and grapes are imported by Belgium, Saudi Arabia and some others. Farmers of these agricultural products have not only been able to get better income for themselves, but have also helped the government earning foreign exchange.

Reinventing Products
The value of agricultural products in the overall exports from India in percentage terms has been on the fall for decades now. Agricultural exports accounted for 44 percent of total exports in 1960,and fell to about 31 percent in 1980, and then 15 percent in 1993. If the income of farmers has to be doubled, the agricultural growth in the country must be export driven. Indian farmers must move up the value chain to fetch better prices for their products. In the 1950s, India was a major cotton exporter,but later started exporting yarn, fabric and even ready made garments that earned a higher price. It is a clear case of value addition and the resultant benefits accruing to the people. The global textile exports sector is in the region of $40-45 billion,and employs about 65 million people. Clearly, there has been direct benefits accruing to the people engaged in such activities.

The food processing industry, which accounts for about 32 percent of the total food market, is another example and has an excellent chance to do well in terms of exports. India has huge produce of fruits and vegetables, but about 40 percent of it is wasted due to lack of cold storage facilities and other infrastructural bottlenecks, according to conservative estimates. In the Budget 2017-18, the government announced it would setup a dairy processing infrastructure fund of Rs 8,000 crore.
All these efforts can make India a hub for exports of processed food and preserves. If this industry does well, there will be direct benefit to farmers as they will be able to get better prices for their produce.

Giving landless farmers a chance
According to numbers available with the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), between April and December last year India exported a whopping 16.4 million tons of agricultural products, earning Rs 91,830.60 crore. Meat, eggs, and diary products contributed substantially to this number, indicting a lucrative opportunity even for landless farmers. Milk production does not require the farmer to own land, and can yield significant returns. India has been the largest milk producer in the world for the last 15 years,with production at over 164 million tons in 2016-17.

Creating a road map is crucial
For agriculture to be export-oriented, sufficient data and information has to be made available to the farmers in terms of the main markets globally,and the produce that will make the cut. They also need to be given better seeds and know-how for better production and here, advanced technologies that are cost effective and suitable for Indian conditions are the need of the hour.
The government needs to rope in partners at the forefront of farmers’ education to guide them with exports. In this regard, APEDA has achieved certain milestones, but more needs to be done, and in a holistic manner. Global linkages and marketing opportunities have to also be made available to farmers in the country.

Informing farmers of the right export opportunities and the procedural knowledge for exports will go a long way in farmers earning better incomes for themselves and for the country.


Many best practices, innovations in post-harvest management of fruits and vegetables, a bigger push needed

Due to changing lifestyles and consumption patterns, the output of horticulture production stood at 311.7 million tonnes, surpassing that of food grains, estimated at 279.5 million tonnes in 2017-2018.

Agriculture in India has made significant progress in the areas of production, employment generation and diversification. As the world’s second most populous country with an area of 181.95 million hectares under agriculture, the latter provides employment to half of its population. Having transitioned from a country crippled by food insecurity to becoming a food surplus nation, the composition of agricultural production has also witnessed a change. Due to changing lifestyles and consumption patterns, the output of horticulture production stood at 311.7 million tonnes, surpassing that of food grains, estimated at 279.5 million tonnes in 2017-2018.

More specifically, with a production of 97.35 and 187.5 million tonnes, fruits and vegetables respectively accounted for 31% and 60% share of the horticulture production that also includes flowers, spices, aromatic and plantation crops. Notable among fruits and vegetables in India, in terms of share in world production, are mango, papaya, sapota, acid lime, aonla, pomegranate, peas, okra, brinjal, cabbage, cauliflower, onion, tomato and potato.

In this context, according to a study conducted by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research-Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering & Technology (ICAR-CIPHET), one area that poses a tremendous challenge is post-harvest management of perishable horticultural produce – with a large share, both in terms of quality and quantity, being lost on way from “farm to fork”. Such loss is attributed to bottlenecks in post-harvest connectivity to markets i.e. failure in the handling and connecting of food produced to consumption points. The CIPHET study points out that for highly perishable fruits and vegetables the post-harvest loss ranges from 4.58-15.88 percent of the production.

Further, according to The Doubling Farmers Income Committee (DFI) Report 2017, the common thread across perishable horticulture produce is that they generate heat through continued metabolic activity throughout their saleable life. Besides, the produce can also be sensitive to rough handling, making them susceptible to disease/degeneration and therefore their non-marketability, adding to food losses. The report affirms that for the farmers, especially small and marginal, the produce fetches highest economic value in its fresh form and that post-harvest ageing can only be slowed down by cooling to its optimal holding temperature and through humidity control.

To address these issues holistically, Government of India’s flagship programme, the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), focuses on supporting production and productivity measures. These include area expansion for quality planting material, appropriate mechanization, protected cultivation, creation of water resources, pest and nutrient control. These have been supplemented by creation of infrastructure facilities such as primary/secondary processing, marketing and strengthening of cold chain storage capacities. The National Center for Cold Chain Development (NCCD), in addition, specifically monitors issues of standards and protocols in conjunction with cooperatives and Farmers Producers Organization (FPOs). A key role is played by Centers of Excellence (CoEs), established through Indo-Israel and Indo-Dutch cooperation, to demonstrate latest post-harvest technologies and market access pathways to small and marginal farmers in handling of fruits and vegetables.

While financial assistance is available to small and marginal horticulture farmers through subsidy-based schemes such as MIDH, Government of India has also launched the Kisan SAMPADA Yojna – with a comprehensive thrust to renew agro processing in Mega Food Parks through a cluster approach with appropriate linkages. Concomitantly, Operation Greens has also been launched on the lines of “Operation Flood” to promote FPOs, agri-logistics, processing facilities, professional management, and includes a scheme for integrated development of the tomato, onion and potato value chain (TOP).

In the above backdrop, a key concern, pointed out by experts, is the small and marginal farmers’ inability individually to invest in primary processing technologies at the farm gate. This includes activities after harvesting through “pack houses” such as drying, grading, sorting, ripening, waxing, packaging, quality control assessment and the need for crop specific cold storage/ warehousing with pre-cooling facilities, cold chains, reefer trucks etc. Small and marginal farmers are also sometimes unaware of the crop quality specifications required by different types of buyers, affordability, including availability of technology, and intelligent information about near farm markets. Middlemen are currently bridging the gap between farmers and the market, and earning margins at every stage of the distribution chain.

While recent reforms such as National Electronic Market(e-NAM), 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in food processing, model Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act and Contract Farming Law amendments by the Government of India have the potential to generate benefits for small and marginal farmers, the state governments, cooperative sector and private sector have to drive implementation at scale. The Government of Haryana has recently launched an innovative “Crop Cluster Development Programme” with a budget of Rs. 500 crores to give a big push to primary processing facilities in 393 horticulture crop clusters. These clusters have been identified by surveying/coding 1,763 horticulture villages across the state with individual fruit and vegetable crop mapping.
Within these clusters, 140 primary processing integrated pack houses will be managed and run by selected FPOs through bank appraised projects, with 70% to 80% credit link subsidy. While the qualitative aspects of this ambitious three phase project’s (2019-2021) implementation will be known only after it takes off, the backend linkages through e-services and deployment of cluster/district-based project extension managers are its forte.

Mahagrapes, a grape marketing cooperative in Maharashtra, exemplifies the benefits to small and marginal grape farmers as a collective. Sixteen grape growers’ cooperatives are partners in this venture with a membership of approximately 2,500 farmers backed by pre-cooling pack houses and facilitation to access national/international market prices. Mahagrapes thus effectively acts as quality controller, input supplier as well as service provider to its member societies and leads to income enhancement.

Another best practice is the Mahavir Banana Ripening and Cold Storage facility in Gujarat that procures banana directly from approximately 700 farmers. The fruit is bundled into market lots and ripened depending upon planned market movement. This venture is an example of collaboration between the aggregator and cultivator, that involves first mile handling, pack house activities and onward connectivity to markets.

In the private sector too, companies such as EM3, Zamindara, Crop Connect, Agrihub, Galla Foods, Mapro Farms, FarMart, Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals (ISAP), Tessol, Rinac and S4S have deployed strategies to benefit small and marginal farmers in post-harvest management of fruits and vegetables. These range from mechanization leasing models, farmer training/capacity building, solar technologies, contractual agreements, digital platforms, enlisting agricultural students/rural youth and FPO mobilization.

In fact, the Doubling Farmers Income Committee Report 2017 makes very pertinent recommendations to incentivize the ‘’end to end’’ infrastructure ecology for the above initiatives. These include need for rail-based/multi-modal transportation for perishable agricultural produce, strengthening retail on the lines of SAFAL, rationalization of the Essential Commodities Act, land parcel permits for aggregation centres, mandatory rural electricity supply, domestic freight subsidy for FPOs, fostering energy saving systems, fiscal incentives including use of Corporate Responsibility Funds (CSR) and facilitation by regulated agricultural markets.

But more importantly, as a precursor to above policy reforms, is the dire need to aggressively utilize our Centers of Excellence, State Agricultural Universities and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) institutes to share state government, civil society and private sector experiences and strategies for post-harvest management of fruits and vegetables. More specifically, under the leadership of District Magistrates/Collectors/Deputy Commissioners, the vast network of Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) in the community blocks of districts of all states should become a focal point to increase market linkages and develop the commercial competitiveness of such primary processing centres run by FPOs/cooperatives. The objective being reduction in post-harvest losses and improving small and marginal farmers income and livelihoods. Finally, motivating and training rural youth and entrepreneurs, by Gram Panchayats, to participate in such aggregation centers could be an effective plug in.


Maharashtra State will soon have a new agriculture export policy

The Maharashtra government has appointed a committee headed by the State Agriculture Commissioner, Shri Suhas Diwase to frame a new agriculture export policy. Maharashtra already leads in export of onions, pomegranates and grapes hence the new policy will concentrate on doubling export of bananas, vegetables & rice.

For this, the State Cooperative & Marketing Department has issued a resolution declaring the appointment of the Committee that comprises of 9 government officials from different departments.
Already, the Maharashtra State government has planned to form 6 clusters to export grapes, mangoes, oranges, pomegranates, banana and onions. The new agri export policy will be in agreement with the Centre’s Agriculture Export Policy that aims at strengthening the entire value chain from the export- oriented farm production & processing to infrastructure, transportation and market access.

In a recent address at the first State level awareness program on agriculture export policy held in Pune, the Commerce Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu said that in order to attain the purpose of the policy, clusters have been identified all over India for development of agriculture exports.

Prabhu also stressed on attractive or eye-catching packaging to boost the demand for the identified products. The Indian Institute of Packaging has been incorporated for working on packaging standards for international markets.

On the other hand, State Agriculture Commissioner, Diwase said, "The policy will reinforce the entire eco-system especially from the pre & post harvesting, cold chain & the quality of produce. There is a growing demand for medicinal plants & nutri cereals and value-added produce. The policy will lay down an agenda on how to tap the global market”.

Currently, Maharashtra accounts for more than 50 percent of India’s agriculture exports. It exports 60 to 70% of the fruits, vegetables & cereals yearly.


India signs MoU with Japan's ISE Foods to improve poultry farms

India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Japan's largest egg producer, ISE Foods, in a bid to improve the quality of eggs, waste management and disease diagnosis in poultry farms across the country.

With two poultry farms, ISE Foods will soon commence its operations in India. One unit will be established in Gujarat's Surat city, while a larger unit with a production capacity of 1.2 million strong-chicken farm eggs will be set up in Telangana's Siddipet.

The ISE's egg production process, almost fully automated, is considered most hygienic in the world.
The chickens are completely antibiotic-free and the eggs are transported from the farms to the factories within 24 hours.

Globally, ISE's chickens lay about 20 million eggs a day and the company has been in business for over 100 years and has major operations in the US, China and ASEAN countries.

Soon, ISE Foods is going to bring its protein-packed offerings to India's billion-plus consumers.
"At this factory, about a million eggs are produced per day. We estimate to produce two million in the future. This factory alone has about 1.5 per cent egg production rate of Japan" said Hiromi Komatsuzaki, an official from ISE Foods.

The company also conducts "ISE integration System" which manages the production of feed, poultry farming, egg collection, packing, and delivery production to control quality. It also uses the environment-friendly system against odour measurement by using "deodorant", "chip wood", and "sulfur".

"Poultry manure from poultry house is transported to this vertical compost. They become fertilizer'' that reach farm through the process of fermentation and pelletizing. And the deodorant system is also fully installed in consideration of the environment," Komatsuzaki added.


India to grow soybeans on more land this crop year

India will grow soybeans on more land this crop year (2019) since higher prices for the oilseed push many farmers to switch from growing competing commodities like cotton & pulses, industry official and dealers informed Reuters.

Improved production of country’s main summer-sown oilseed might help the world's leading vegetable oil importer cut expensive purchases from Malaysia, Brazil, Argentina and Indonesia. It can also help increase Indian exports of animal feed ingredient soymeal to countries such as Japan, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Iran.

Chairman of the Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA), Davish Jain said, “At current prices, soybeans are more profitable than other crops. We will see a shift towards soybeans from cotton & pulses”.

Local soybean prices have increased nearly 14% to Rs 3,716 per 100 kg since the beginning of the 2018 crop year on 1st October, improved after India hiked the duty on importing palm oil, soy oil and other cooking oils. Soybeans have been grown on 10.8 million hectares in the 2018 crop year, up 6.7% from the year before, as per the data compiled by SOPA.

Jain said, “Soybean is a strong crop. Even if it encounters poor weather conditions, then also farmers will not end up with total losses like in other crops”.

The majority Indian farmers typically start cultivating soybeans, cotton and pulses that are rain-fed crops, in the month of June after the onset of the monsoon.

According to private weather forecaster Skymet, the western state of Maharashtra & central India's Madhya Pradesh make up more than 80 % of the country's total soybean production. Both the states may receive lower-than-normal rainfall in 2019.

The maximum rise in soybean area can be in Maharashtra, where growers were not happy with returns from cotton, said Managing Director of trading firm G.G. Patel & Nikhil Research Company, Govind bhai Patel.

Patel said, “Soybean does not require too much rainfall. It needs timely rain for good yields”. A Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading firm told soybean prices have also been buoyed by planting Iranian appetite for imports of Indian soymeal.

Kind regards,
Syed Abdul Rahman
Cluster Manager India
T: +91 80 46797905

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