NewZNew (Chandigarh/Punjab/Haryana) : “The implementation of model APMC Act and advanced Post Harvesting Infrastructure will strengthen the Indian Horticulture Sector”- Mrs Vidya Stokes, Minister for Irrigation and Public Health, Government Of Himachal Pradesh, India said on the platform of International Conference On Horticulture Value Chain, organised on the second day of 11th CII Agro Tech 2014, India’s Premier Biennial Agro Technology & Business Fair.
With four sessions focusing on ‘Improving Domestic Horticultural Production and Marketing System: Current Competitiveness, Forces of Change and Challenges for the Future’, ‘Post Harvest and Supply Chain Management’, ‘Packaging and Value Addition’ and ‘Reaching out to Domestic and International Markets’; the conference discussed the current scenario of Indian Horticulture Value Chain and presented industry experts’ insights on the future prospects of horticulture in India.
Addressing the audience and experts, the Chief Guest of the inaugural session, Mrs Vidya Stokes said, “Proper implementation of Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act is the need of the hour to provide maximum benefits to the farmers. While a better Post Harvesting Infrastructure is going to boost up the Horticulture business, the Cold Supply Chain and Agri Processing would strengthen the basic infrastructure of the horticulture clusters in the country. Contract Farming, Agri Enterprise, Value Addition, Private Investment and Inter-state Horticulture Movement are the mandatory future steps required to be immediately implemented to increase the productivity at large volume.”
“With good transportation facilities and transparent agro-business policies, the Indian Horticulture Sector can create new avenues for international business. For the best quality products, recently, we have received a fund of Rs. 1000 Cr from the Word Bank to develop Horticulture in Himachal Pradesh”, she added.
In the keynote speech delivered by Dr S K Malhotra, Horticulture Commissioner Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Govt of India said, “Horticulture in India has witnessed an impressive growth of 100 million tons in the last 10 years. Going forward, we are hoping to achieve 6% growth in the next 5 years. Our main emphasis would be on the adaptation of good agriculture practices, motivation of small and big farmers, Cold Supply Chain, Post Harvest Management, availability of planting materials along with cost-effective technology to achieve high-quality standards and potential growth in Horticulture.”
Mr Gokul Patnaik, Chairman, Conferences –CII Agro Tech 2014 & Chairman, Global AgriSystem Pvt. Ltd delivered the welcome address of the session, while the closing remarks was delivered by Mr Akshay Bector, Chairman, Regional Committee on Food & Agriculture CII (NR) & Managing Director, Cremica Food Industries Ltd.
At the first Discussion Session on the topic, ‘Improving Domestic Horticultural Production and Marketing System: Current Competitiveness, Forces of Change and Challenges for the Future’ the Panellists discussed the current challenges of the Indian Horticulture Sector and put forth their views on futuristic steps which need to be taken to deal with the challenges. The experts recommended the Ministry of Agriculture to address the ongoing issues for individual crops and then improve the crop-wise cultivation in different areas. The panellists also suggested some revolutionary steps for the future including use of Information Technology in cultivation, market information on internet, Disease Forecasting, Real-Time Weather Forecasting and information on Production Estimate.
The second session was focused on ‘Post Harvest and Supply Chain Management’ wherein the panellists discussed the processes of Post Harvesting and highlighted the modern methods of Supply Chain Management. The experts realized the importance of Value Chain and Credit Facility in Horticulture and suggested next big steps to enhance the production including Farmer Centric Value Chain Integration, Contract Farming and Capacity Building. The Panellists also proposed improvement in current Post Harvest Management methods by replacing the current policies with Commodity Specific Chain and Viable Business Case along with cluster based research and planning.
The Third session covered the topic ‘Packaging and Value Addition’ wherein the Panellists highlighted the importance of value addition in Indian supply chain for food. Currently the products are transported in a very primitive manner, which in result leads to very high losses. The Experts suggested the best quality packaging and transport methods can save the produce and farmers from value loss. They proposed the establishment of Value Chain sets up near the farmer’s field and implementation of the storage, carrying facilities and cluster wise food processing units.
In the final session of the day focused on the theme ‘Reaching out to Domestic and International Markets’, the Panellists discussed the potential of domestic horticulture and how it can be a main focused area to develop new business horizons internationally. With the growing demand of food resources, the opportunities in horticulture are immense. India has a great potential of producing world-class products and establishing itself a market giant in horticulture and food processing business. The experts said that with growing supply chain facilities and extensive horticulture production, Indian horticulture sector would set a new benchmark by coming over with new challenges and opportunities.
Apart from the conference on Horticulture Value Chain, the CII Agro Tech 2014 will also feature International Conferences on Animal Husbandry, Innovations in Agriculture, World View of India as a Food Basket and Food Processing, Storage & Distribution; and Country specific Session on ‘Business Opportunities in Africa.
The fair is also expected to have a Roundtable on ‘India-Pakistan Agriculture Trade’, along with another CEOs Roundtable with Union Agriculture Minister, Union Food Processing Minister & Secretary – Agriculture and Food Processing Ministries, Government of India.
Some of the other interesting features of CII Agro Tech 2014 include Interesting live display of Automatic Feed System for Poultry and Dairy Farm Development Mobile Vans at Livestock Expo, Live display of Fish Farming, Food Tech with interesting display of ‘Vito’ Oil Filtration System, Interesting displays on Integrated Agri Business Model for Waste Land Development and benefits derived from Paddy Straw Composting, Live display of Soilless Farming (Hydroponics) and functional Solar Pump, Animal Identification system (RFIDs), cooling solutions for Livestock, Veterinary homoeopath products, Implementex displaying digital panel for Tractors and Solar Energy Systems, Proposal to launch newer & efficient model of tractors and display of foldable water tank, Rice Transplanters, Vertical Garden at Good Earth Show.