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"India Needs to Improve Its Post-Harvest Infrastructure," say Experts

According to experts, India's post-harvest infrastructure, including storage facilities, should be improved in order to strengthen the plantation sector.

Shivam Dwivedi
Adequate attention should be paid to improving land suitability, yield quality, and packaging of plantation products
Adequate attention should be paid to improving land suitability, yield quality, and packaging of plantation products

Experts were speaking at a seminar on the sidelines of the 'Plantation Expo,' which was organised by the newly established Plantation Directorate of the Government of Kerala. According to a recent survey, the country's available storage capacity is only enough to keep 10% of India's plantation products. According to an official release, this results in 6-18% fruit waste during the post-harvest period.

"It has been noted, as consumers have realized the nutritional value of fruits, the market demand for fruits has shown a remarkable hike during the post-pandemic period. In India, 80% of fruits are sold as fresh fruits," said IG International's Sanjib Kumar Sahoo. In the seminar, titled 'Income augmentation in plantation sector through diversification and value addition,' he stated that adequate attention should be paid to improving land suitability, yield quality, and packaging of plantation products, as well as conducting research and training in sector-specific areas.

Speaking on agricultural sustainability, Ashok Nair, Head, Sustainable Agri Operations, AVT McCormick Ingredients Pvt Ltd, stated that timely soil testing to ensure organic matter content in the soil is critical to producing quality yields.

"Sustainable agri operations like vegetative mulching, and soil and water testing will help improve the production in the plantation sector. Vegetative mulching will assist farmers in improving soil condition and, as a result, produce," said Nair. He also stated that women's participation in all stages of cultivation should be ensured. He also stated that smallholders account for 85 percent of India's spice production, with the majority of them using traditional methods. Climate change is also a major threat to these spice farmers.

According to CR Elsy, former Professor and Co-ordinator, IPR Cell, Kerala Agricultural University, GI tag status for products will help customers obtain quality products by preventing counterfeit products from entering markets. "Producers will gain financial stability as a result of their products being GI-tagged. Currently, 35 Kerala products have been granted GI status, and more will be added to the list. In addition to pursuing GI tag status, we should focus on branding our traditional products as part of protecting them," she added.

James Joseph, Founder of Jackfruit 365, emphasised the importance of including jackfruit in Keralites' daily diets, stating that 36% of their customers are from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The seminar aims to introduce the most recent trends in the plantation sector, as well as to develop policies to market value-added products.

The event is envisioned as the first major step towards making Kerala Plantation a global brand while ensuring the advancement of the sector's labourers. According to the statement, the expo will have 100 stalls showcasing the products and services of the participants.

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