Categories
Food Safety Trade

India allows in-transit cold treatment for Australian Fruits

The Indian government has announced market improvements to allow in-transit cold treatment of Australian top fruit, summer fruit and table grapes. Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says India’s approval of in-transit cold treatment of a variety of fruits is a major breakthrough for Australia’s growers. This approval to use in-transit cold treatment is expected to boost export volumes of Australian fruits such as table grapes, apple, pears and summer fruits.

The internationally accepted commercial cold treatment requirement for fruit flies is a minimum uninterrupted fruit pulp temperature and exposure time combination. The minimum cold treatment temperature for fruit flies in grapes, pears, plums and nectarines destined for India is 10 days at or below 0,0°C (32°F). For Ceratitis capitata, Mediterranean fruit fly, the treatment schedule is -3°C or below for 20 days and for Bactrocera trying, Queensland fruit fly, the treatment schedule is -3°C or below for 16 days.

Manual of Importing Country Requirements, Australia

The main benefit of cold treating products as it is transported, it gets to the market quicker and the exporter can charge a premium based on increased freshness. India offers a massive market of young, health conscious and vegetarian consumers seeking high quality fresh and safe fruit and vegetables. In 2019, Australia exported to India $830k worth of table grapes, $352k apples and pears and $180k summer fruit.

In addition to this, Indian government also approved phosphine fumigation of malting barley. Fumigation using phosphine will save industry up to $10 per tonne exported compared to treatment with methyl bromide. There has been growth in the consumption of beer in India and Australia is known worldwide for its high-quality malting barley. The Indian malt market is estimated at 500,000 tonnes, worth over $100 million dollars, and it is anticipated Australia could gain a fair proportion of that market in 2021.

Read more at Australian Government Media

Categories
Agriculture Strategy

Farmers to produce what the market wants

For the first time, the state government is going to regulate the production of crops in India. Farmers in Telangana are going to produce what the market wants. It’s a big move in the right direction and will set ground for a new beginning of Demand Driven Agriculture. This Kharif season, the farmers will be asked to grow paddy on 50 lakh acres (including the Telangana Sona variety on 10 lakh acres of land), cotton on 50 lakh acres and red gram on 10 lakh acres. Farm lands nearer to urban areas will grow vegetables and horticultural crops to tap the demand.

“One should cultivate crops which sell well. They don’t buy whatever you produce”.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao

Asking the farmers to strictly adhere to the cropping pattern, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has said that government sops such as ‘Rythu Bandhu’ (₹5,000 each for farmers in both the seasons for every acre they own) will be stopped to the farmers who don’t conform to the cropping plan.

Farmers base next years supply purely on the previous price and assume that next year’s price will be the same as last year (adaptive expectations). These fluctuations in price may cause some farmers to go out of business.

Limitations of Cobweb theory

As the government is attempting to go beyond advisory and extension roles, it will revamp the Department of Agriculture to take up additional responsibilities. The government will also bring in necessary amendments to the Seed Act.

Read more at The Hindu Business Line

Categories
Intellectual Property Rights

GI tag for Manipur black rice, ‘Chakhao’

Chakhao, a scented glutinous rice which has been in cultivation in Manipur over centuries, is characterised by its special aroma. Chakhao has also been used by traditional medical practitioners as part of traditional medicine. GI has great potential to play a major role in trade and there is a possibility of preserving many traditional skills.

As defined by WIPO, a geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. A study published by the European Commission concluded that the sales value of a product with a protected name is on average double that for similar products without a certification.

The application for Chakhao was filed by the Consortium of Producers of Chakhao (Black Rice), Manipur and was facilitated by the Department of Agriculture, Government of Manipur and the North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited.

Read more at NorthEast Now

Categories
AgTech

Agri-stratups overview in India

There are about 450 active agri-startups in India. They have received a venture capital funding of $545 million since 2014. This boom in the agri-startups space is creating a much needed ecosystem to bring digitisation and automation to millions of small and marginal farmers, who are suffering because of the inefficiencies of the old and bureaucratic system.

These startups or we can say the Agri Heroes, can be broadly classified in the following categories:

  1. Connecting farmers with buyers: Ninjacart, Jumbotail, Bigbasket, ShopKirana, SuperZop, WayCool, MeraKisan, Kamatan, DeHaat, KrishiHub, Agrowave, Loop, Crofarm, FreshoKartz, Agribolo, Himkara and Kisan Network.
  2. Quality assaying of agricultural commodities: Intellolabs, Agricxlab, Zense, Raav Tech, Occipital, Amvicube, AgNext and Nanopix.
  3. Addressing post harvest challenges: Our Foods, Agri Bazaar, Star Agri, Arya Collateral, Ecozen and Origo.
  4. Agricultural inputs and extension services: Agrostar, BigHaat, Behtar Zindagi, Unnati, Gramophone and Freshokartz, AgriBolo, DeHaat, Bharat Rohan and Bharat Agri.
  5. Mechanisation solutions for harvesting and sowing: Sickle innovations, Distinct Horizon, Tractor Junction, Khetibadi and J Farm.
  6. Data-driven irrigation models: Satyukt Analytics, Flybird, Kritsnam, Agrirain and Manna Irrigation.
  7. Crop monitoring solutions including credit and insurance: CropIn, SatSure, Farmguide, Niruthi, AgRisk, Skymet. Startups like Samunnati, FarMart, Jai-Kisan, PayAgri and Bijak.
Categories
Intellectual Property Rights Trade

Famed Kashmiri saffron granted Geographical Indication (GI) tag

As per the documents, the Geographical Indication Registry has approved the GI tagging on the Kashmiri saffron, symbolizing its exclusivity in the international market. Directorate of Agriculture has been declared as a registered proprietor of the GI of saffron. In Kashmir, saffron cultivation is done on 3,715 hectares of land. GI tagging will set apart the high-quality Kashmiri saffron from the cheaper varieties of Iran, Spain, and Afghanistan.

Kashmiri saffron is of superior quality because of the higher concentration of crocin, a carotenoid pigment that gives saffron its color and medicinal value: Its crocin content is 8.72% compared to the Iranian variant’s 6.82%, which gives it a darker color and enhanced medicinal value.

Kashmiri saffron, known for its quality and aroma worldwide, has been witnessing an invasion by cheaper Iranian saffron. Iran is currently the largest producer of saffron in the world, cultivating over 300 tonnes every year on 30,000 hectares of land. Due to the bulk market capturing by the Iranian saffron, the price of Kashmiri saffron dropped by 48% after 2007.

Read more at TheKashmirMonitor

Categories
e-Commerce

Go-to-market approach: Bayer joins hands with AgroStar

Bayer has partnered with AgroStar, a Pune-based e-commerce firm in the farm input space, to deliver seeds and crop protection products directly to the farmer’s doorsteps. Farmers in India can now order Bayer’s seeds and crop protection products through AgroStar’s digital agri-tech platform. With increasing incidence of online e-commerce platforms, the trend is fast catching up in the agricultural space. The company is hoping that the supply of good quality agri-inputs and digital agronomy solutions, can significantly increase farm productivity and farmer incomes.

Read more at TheHinduBusinessLine

Categories
Aeroponics

Aeroponics: growing plants in an air or mist environment

Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or other medium. The basic principal is to grow plants in a closed environment by periodically spraying roots with a nutrient rich solution. The obvious benefit to aeroponics is the volume of plants that can be grown year-round on a limited amount of space. Once established, the aeroponics system can be adjusted to grow anything from greens to berries and tomatoes by simply adjusting the inputs. The lack of soil also affords a disease-free environment. For example,

  1. AeroFarms, the front-runner aeroponics company, have the largest indoor vertical farm of its kind in the world, located in Newark, New Jersey. AeroFarms’ claims to use up to 95% less water and zero pesticides vs. traditional field farming. AeroFarms has grown over 800 different varieties of crops and sees potential even beyond food production to extend to other verticals like pharmaceutical, cosmeceutical, and nutraceutical.
  2. In developing countries like India and China, Aeroponics technology is majorly used for mini-tuber (potato seed) production. This results in 7 to 10 times mini-tubers production from in-vitro plantlets as compared to cultivation under net house conditions.

The potential of the technology can be understood from the fact that, The Abu Dhabi Investment Office, ADIO, has launched a targeted incentive programme to accelerate the growth of the emirate’s burgeoning (AgTech) ecosystem and promote innovation. The packages are being dispersed as part of ADIO’s AED1 billion (US$272 million) AgTech Incentive Programme, established a year ago to develop next generation agriculture in arid and desert agriculture. The Abu Dhabi Investment Office, ADIO, has partnered with AeroFarms to focus on next-generation genetic phenotyping and organoleptic research while also tackling the challenges of desert agriculture from its new 8,200-sqm R&D centre in Abu Dhabi.

Categories
Uncategorized

Positive side: Farmers in direct contact with big buyers

The lockdown is driving some long-awaited positive changes in agriculture – it is bringing farmers in direct contact with big buyers in cities and is forcing a change in cropping practices that will help rejuvenate the soil and conserve water. The acute shortage of labour will severely restrict the popular practice of paddy transplantation in Punjab and Haryana which increases the yield but is very water intensive and depletes groundwater significantly. As much as 12 times man-days of labour is required in paddy compared to wheat.

Read more at The Economic Times

Categories
Uncategorized

Agri Ministry launches a call centre for Agri Logistics in India

The Agriculture Ministry has set up a call centre to ease the difficulties in agri logistics, particularly the inter-State movement of perishable vegetables and fruits as well as agri inputs such as seeds, pesticides and fertilisers. The All India Agri Transport Call Centre, which will coordinate movement of produce and agri inputs, can be accessed at 1800-180-4200 and 14488 from any mobile or landline phone. Stakeholders including truck drivers, traders, retailers, and transporters who are facing problems in inter-State movement of commodities, can seek help by calling at the call centre. It will forward the vehicle and consignment details, along with the nature of help needed, to State government officials for immediate action. The move is to ease inter-State movement of agri commodities during the lockdown period.

Read more at The Hindu Business Line

Categories
Uncategorized

Use the COVID crisis to transform the agri- marketing system in India

Here are a few suggestions that may help to put the agri-system on an efficient path in India. One, abolish/reframe the APMC Act and encourage direct buying of agri-produce from farmers/farmer producer organisations (FPOs). The companies, processors, organised retailers, exporters, consumer groups, that buy directly from FPOs need not pay any market fee as they do not avail the facilities of APMC yards. Two, the warehouses can also be designated as markets, and the warehouse receipt system can be scaled up. The private sector should be encouraged to open mandis with modern infrastructure, capping commissions. Three, futures trading should be encouraged by allowing banking finance to hedge for commodity price risks. Four, promote e-NAM through proper assaying and grading the produce and setting up dispute settlement mechanism; rope in major logistics players for delivery of goods. Five, procurement must be staggered through coupons and incentives that give farmers an additional bonus for bringing produce to the market after May 10, or so. And six, the amount provided under PM Kisan should be increased from Rs 6,000 to at least Rs 10,000 per farming family to partially compensate them for their losses.

Read more at The Indian Express