Schermafbeelding 2019-06-25 om 10.59.48

Dear NAFTC relation,


India’s Horticulture Production Slightly up at 314.87 million tonne in 2018-19

India’s total horticulture production is estimated to increase marginally to 314.87 million tonne (mt) in the 2018-19 crop year, as per the official data.

The agriculture ministry on 31st May 2019 released the Second Advanced Estimate (2018-19) of area & production of different horticulture crops, as compiled from information received from various state or Union Territories and source agencies.

An official statement said, “The total horticulture production of India is projected to be at 314.87 million tonnes that is 1.01% higher than horticulture production in 2017-18”. Last year the horticulture production stood at 311.71 mt.

The area under horticulture crop also went up to 25.6 million hectare from previous 25.43 million hectare.
It is important to mention that the crop year in India is from July to June.

Under the horticulture crops, fruits production is estimated to be around 97.38 million tonnes in 2018-2019 as compared to 97.36 million tonnes a year before.
Moreover, production of vegetables is estimated to increase 1.6 per cent at around 187.36 million tonnes.

Among vegetables, potato production is estimated to be around 52.96 million tonnes that is 3.2% higher than in 2017-18. Onion Production on the other hand is estimated to be around 23.28 mt, slightly higher than in 2017-18. Production of tomato is estimated to be around 19.66 million tonnes that is 0.5% lower than 2017-18.
According to data, production of spices in the country is estimated to be around 8.61 million tonnes, 6.01% higher than 2017-18.


Desertification is one of the biggest challenges for Indian agriculture

Loss of soil cover, mainly due to rainfall and surface runoff, is one of the biggest reasons for desertification. It is responsible for 10.98% of desertification in the country.

Desertification and land degradation are major threats to agricultural productivity in India. According to the State of India’s Environment 2017: In figures book by Centre for Science and Environment, Desertification has increased to 90 per cent of states in India.

So what is desertification? Desertification is a type of land degradation in which a relatively dry the land region becomes increasingly arid. Desertification leads to losing bodies of water as well as vegetation and wildlife.

Out of the total 328.72 MHA of India’s total geographical area, 96.4 million hectares (MHA) are under desertification. In the past 10 years, 26 of 29 Indian states have reported an increase in the area undergoing desertification. Around 40 to 70 per cent of the land has undergone desertification in eight states, Rajasthan, Delhi, Goa, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Nagaland, Tripura and Himachal Pradesh.

The highest increase in land degradation is observed in Lunglei district of Mizoram (5.81 percent increase from 2003-05 to 2011-13)
Loss of soil cover, mainly due to rainfall and surface runoff, is one of the biggest reasons for desertification. It is responsible for 10.98 percent of desertification in the country.

Other main reasons include, wind erosion (5.55 per cent), human-made or settlements (0.69 per cent), vegetation degradation (8.91 per cent) and salinity (1.12 per cent)
India was the signatory to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Paris on June 17, 1994. The main agenda of this convention is to achieve land degradation neutrality by 2030.

But despite all this, India has witnessed an increase of 1.87 million hectares undergoing the process of desertification between 2003-05 and 2011-13.


Revolutionising potato seed production in India

In the past five decades, potato production in India has steadily increased from around 8.3 million tons in 1980 to 48.6 million tons in 2017, an increase of more than 500 percent.

India is the second largest producer and consumer of potato in the world. In the past five decades, potato production has steadily increased from around 8.3 million tons in 1980 to 48.6 million tons in 2017, an increase of more than 500 percent.
In the past ten years, the production has increased more than 60 percent with both area and yield contributing to the increase. The national average potato yield in 2017 was around 24 tons per hectare. However, there is wide variations in yield level within India, ranging from 31.5 tons per hectare in Gujarat to 10 tons per hectare in Assam.

Among different constraining factors for yield growth, the limited availability of quality seed material is considered as the most important factor for lower yield levels in eastern states. The high cost of seed, which accounts for 40-50 percent of the total cost of production, has been a key deterrent for small farmers to take up production in many of these states.

In India, potato seeds are produced in Punjab using seed plot technique and aeroponic technology and transported up to 2,000 km to potato growing states of eastern and southern India. The high transportation cost is borne by the poor farmers who have to pay high seed prices as well. To make matters worse, the high price does not guarantee high quality, thus making it difficult for small and marginal farmers to invest such a large sum in seed purchases which accounts for nearly half of the total cost of production. The spread of aeroponic technology has been limited to Punjab because of its high capital requirement and long gestation period of nearly four years.

If a low-cost technology can be made available to produce seed potato at cheaper price then these eastern and southern states have immense potential to increase potato production by improving productivity and lowering cost of production. The soil and environment in many parts of the eastern and southern regions are suitable for cultivating potato seed in rabi season (October-March) and in some areas like Hassan in Karnataka and Koraput in Odisha it can be grown in kharif season (July-October) also. Specifically, the northeastern states could be potato seed hub supplying seeds to West Bengal, Odisha and Bihar.

Apical Rooted Cuttings

Apical rooted cuttings could be the answer to India’s long-standing potato seed problem by decentralizing seed production and bringing it closer to the production belts. The apical cuttings are alternative to the current aeroponic seed production system. Both aeroponics and apical cuttings involve tissue culture plantlets. In aeroponic, tissue culture plantlets are used to produce mini tubers using capital intensive aeroponic technology in screen houses, whereas in apical cuttings the tissue culture plantlets are used as mother plants in coco pits for producing cuttings.

In six weeks, one mother plant can be multiplied to produce 8 plants and the number goes to more than 15 in 12 weeks. These cuttings are transplanted on the seed bed and once rooted, are moved to net houses or open field for producing mini tubers or seed tubers. This low-cost technology has been practised in Vietnam for decades.


Chief Minister invites Netherland to invest in food industry

A delegation led by Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on 13 June 2019 held discussion with Jan-Kees Goet, Secretary General at Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, at Amsterdam in Netherlands on co-operation in the fields of agriculture, horticulture and allied sectors.

The Chief Minister apprised the Secretary General about the immense potential that Himachal Pradesh has been bestowed by the nature in the fruit production.

He said that Himachal Pradesh is known as 'Fruit Bowl' of India and produces varied types of fruits due to its different climatic conditions. He said that there is a vast scope of investment in fruit and food processing.
Thakur said that Dutch has perfection on water management and good innovative practices in agriculture and horticulture by using less land, which can be very beneficial for a state like Himachal.

He invited the Dutch Secretary General and his Ministry to Global Investors Meet being organized at Dharamshala in November 2019, shortly after World Food Expo on November 3-4 at Delhi.

Secretary General at Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality Jan-Kees Goet said that Netherlands has created the golden triangle of collaboration between three main stakeholders viz-Government, Research centres and agricultural businesses. He also accepted the Chief Minister's invitation to attend the Global Investors Meet.

Later, the Chief Minister held discussion with King’s Commissioner of South Holland, Provinciehuis, Zuid Hollandlaan, Hague Jaap Smit on scope of cooperation in the fields of Agriculture and Horticulture etc.
Jaap Smit assured his cooperation with Himachal Pradesh in organizing its maiden Global Investors Meet at Dharamshala and to lead Dutch business and trade missions to this mega event.

The Chief Minister and other members of the delegation also visited Greentech exhibition in Amsterdam RAI. Greentech is globally the largest horticulture based exhibition and Chief Minister evinced keen interest in it.
Industries Minister Bikram Singh, Ambassador of India to Netherlands Venu Rajamony, Additional Chief Secretary cum Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Dr. Shrikant Baldi, Additional Chief Secretary Industries Manoj Kumar, Director Industries Hans Raj Sharma, Special Secretary Abid Husain Sadiq and other senior officers were present on the occasion.


Food processing: The untapped growth opportunity

The food processing industry is of enormous significance as it provides vital linkages and synergies that it promotes between the two pillars of the economy, i.e. agriculture and industry.

Food processing has become an integral part of the food supply chain in the global economy, and India has also seen growth in this sector in the last few years. The sector contributes around 11% of agricultural value-added and 9% of manufacturing value-added.

According to the ministry of food processing industries annual report, the sector employs 12.8% of the workforce in the organised sector (factories registered under Factories Act, 1948), and 13.7% of the workforce in the unorganised sector. Despite being one of the largest producers of agricultural and food products in the world, India ranks fairly low in the global food processing value chains. In fact, as with the rest of India (most other sectors), this sector is also largely unorganised and informal.

Processing can be further delineated into primary and secondary processing. Rice, sugar, edible oil and flour mills are examples of primary processing. Secondary processing includes the processing of fruits and vegetables, dairy, bakery, chocolates and other items. Most processing in India can be classified as primary processing, which has lower value-addition compared to secondary processing. There is a need to move up the value chain in processed food products to boost farmer incomes. For instance, horticulture products, such as fruits and vegetables, carry the potential for higher value-addition when compared to cereal crops.

Food processing to boost exports

At present, India’s agricultural exports predominantly consist of raw materials, which are then processed in other countries, again indicating the space to move up the value chain. Despite India being one of the largest producers of agricultural commodities in the world, agricultural exports as a share of GDP are fairly low in India relative to the rest of the world. The same proportion is around 4% for Brazil, 7% for Argentina, 9% for Thailand, while for India it is just 2%. Food processing provides an opportunity to utilise excess production efficiently. Not just from a growth perspective, food processing is also important from the point of reducing food waste. In fact, the United Nations estimates that 40% of production is wasted. Similarly, the NITI Aayog cited a study that estimated annual post-harvest losses of close to Rs 90,000 crore. With greater thrust on proper sorting and grading close to the farm gate, this wastage could also be reduced, leading to better price realisation for farmers.

Improving the supply chain

Gaps in the supply chain are perhaps the biggest challenge faced by this industry. Preprocessing losses occur due to lack of awareness and a dearth of storage and pack-house facilities close to the farm gate. The shortage of refrigerated vehicles is reflected through losses occurring at the transport stage. Losses occur at the storage level as well. While at an aggregate level, India’s cold storage capacity is at the required levels, the reality is that 60% of these cold storages are located in just four states—Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal and Gujarat. Variation in quality is another impediment. Lack of avenues to adequately grade, sort and pack perishable produce is a major culprit in this regard. Therefore, pack-houses are of extreme importance.

The upgrading of 22,000 rural haats into Gramin Agriculture Markets (GrAMS) was announced in the 2018-19 Budget. These are largely informal markets, but are close to the farm gate. A preliminary survey has revealed that close to 70% of these rural haats are owned by local bodies—such as urban local bodies, rural local bodies or gram panchayats. Bringing in social entrepreneurs or the private sector to develop these markets into modern centres for aggregating and sorting produce may be considered, through appropriate public-private partnership (PPP) models.
Similarly, these local bodies could also explore partnerships with cooperatives and farmer producer organisations for the development of these markets. The NITI Aayog, in the Strategy for New India @ 75 document, recommended village-level procurement centres for perishables such as fruits, vegetables and dairy. These procurement centres could then be linked to these GrAMS.

Farmer training and extension

Although building infrastructure is a requisite for enhancing the processing capacity, what is also of immense importance is to have enough skills to be able to use that capacity. Backward linkages to farmers need to be made more robust. Contract farming is an attractive avenue in this regard. According to the Model Contract Farming Act, 2018, the contract will specify the quantity, quality and price of produce being supplied. This would shield farmers from price volatility, subject to quality commitments. The Strategy for New India @ 75 recommends that states take the lead in passing this enabling legislation.

Skilling is required at two levels. First at the farm gate in promoting agricultural best practices and in processing activities. Revamped extension services are critical at the farm gate, which have been written about in the past. Similarly, skill training in the food processing industry must be stepped up. The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) estimated the need to skill 17.8 million persons in the food processing industry by 2022.

The food processing industry is of enormous significance as it provides vital linkages and synergies that it promotes between the two pillars of the economy, i.e. agriculture and industry. Although still at a nascent stage, the sector has been growing at a robust pace and several steps have been taken in the past few years to accelerate this sector. The launch of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana is aimed at bridging the infrastructure gap. In fact, 100% foreign direct investment in food processing units has been allowed.

In order to ensure sustained growth in the sector, the priority for the new government is enhancing the cold-chain capacity, logistics infrastructure, proper ways of marketing commodities, farmer training and skilling of the workforce.


Foundation stone of Rs 5.5 Billion CN-IFFCO Food Processing Plant laid in Ludhiana

Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amrinder Singh laid the foundation stone of CN-IFFCO food processing plant in Ludhiana under the Invest Punjab facilitation.
Under Invest Punjab facilitation, CN-IFFCO food processing plant in Ludhiana - a joint venture between India’s leading cooperative, the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd. (IFFCO) and Spain’s leading food processing company, Congelados de Navarra (CN Corp) - was laid by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on 30 May 3019. The project will benefit over 10,000 farmers of the region. The plant would provide direct and indirect employment to almost 2,500 people.

Speaking at the event BS Nakai, Chairman at IFFCO said, “Food processing is the need of the hour it would not only add value to the farmers produce but will also help in reducing food wastage.” He went on to add, “This project will bring all the stakeholders in the Agro-economic ecosystem: universities research centers, seed growers, machinery producers, cold storages, transport etc. to create a synergized win-win model for all. This model ecosystem will provide a boost to the state GDP and benefit the Agriculture of Punjab and its farmers.

Dr. US Awasthi, Managing Director, IFFCO said, "CN IFFCO Pvt. Ltd. is a part of the larger vision of IFFCO to improve the Agriculture ecosystem in the country by providing solutions to farmers at every step from providing high-quality inputs like seeds, fertilisers and agro-chemicals to improving the supply chain and providing farmers access to markets.

This new factory is much more than a financial investment for CN, since we also invest in people. With our commitment, training and job security, CN has awakened a new expectation in the people of the region. The economy will grow and will bring a better life to people. Our goal is to improve the quality of life of people."

The state-of-the-art food processing plant to be built with an initial investment of Rs 5.5 Billion would commence production within 2 years. It will be spread over an area of 55 acres in Samrala, Distt. Ludhiana, Punjab. The plant would have a processing capacity of 80,000 MT/annum and will produce individual quick-freezing vegetables, French fries and potato snacks. The raw vegetables required for the plant would be procured locally (within a radius of 150 Kilometers from the plant) thereby benefiting farmers of the region.

With a focus on exporting the product, CN-IFFCO Pvt. Ltd. aims to ‘Make in India’ but with global standards so that the resulting product can compete with the best in the world today. To achieve this, CN-IFFCO Pvt. Ltd. will put a special emphasis on educating the farmers about modern farming techniques so as to increase their farm productivity and improve in the quality of their products so that it can meet the international standards with higher farm income. The plant will also house a demonstration farm where on-site and classroom training will be provided to the farmers by experts from around the globe.

With a sharp focus on training of farmers, implementation of modern technology and know-how (of CN Corp. and IFFCO) the project would boost overall infrastructure within the Agro economic ecosystem of the region thereby contributing positively to the GDP of Punjab.


25% food samples across Punjab fail quality test

Mostly spices, bakery products, oil don’t match standards I 29% milk samples non-conforming
Around 25 per cent samples of food items collected from across the state failed the quality test in the first quarter of 2019. In all, 2,170 samples were taken between January and March, out of which 530 failed the test, according to the data compiled by the Food Wing of the Commissionerate of Food and Drug Administration, Punjab.

The most common items that failed the test included spices, bakery products and edible oil. More than 18 per cent samples of spices and 23.28 per cent that of bakery products failed the quality test.

Around 29 per cent samples of milk products were found non-conforming. Out of the 278 samples of milk, 81 failed the test.
More than 31 per cent samples of edible oil and vanaspati ghee also failed the test.

In January, 34 out of 77 samples taken in Amritsar were found “non-conforming”. In Hoshiarpur, 14 out of 61 samples failed the test. In Jalandhar, 17 out of 80 samples failed the test, while in SAS Nagar, 13 out of 29 were found non-conforming. In Fatehgarh Sahib, 12 out of 31 samples couldn’t clear the test.

During a special drive to check the use of chemicals for ripening fruits and vegetables, 26.47 per cent samples failed the test. During on-the-spot checking from January to March, 16.6 per cent samples of various food items failed the quality test.

Director, Mission Tandarust Punjab, Kahan Singh Pannu, who has been spearheading the drive against food adulteration, said milkmen had a tendency to add water to milk, which made it substandard, but not unsafe.

“We imparted training to 22,000 food business operators as regards food standards, hygiene and cleanliness in April and May. A special drive against milk and milk product adulteration is being undertaken. Ten mobile vans are operating in Punjab to test milk and create awareness among consumers,” said Pannu.

According to Dr Amit Joshi, Assistant Commissioner (Food), 225 cases of food adulteration were lodged in the court of Assistant Deputy Commissioner (G) and a total fine of Rs 25,89,200 imposed on those found violating norms in January.

In February, 142 cases were lodged and a fine of Rs 22,20,500 was imposed; while in March, 133 cases were lodged and a total fine of Rs 22,92,000 imposed on defaulters.

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

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