BIO-FERTILIZER PROJECTS LIKELY TO REDUCE INDIA’S FERTILIZER IMPORTS

Financial assistance through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) would be provided by the government for the farmers, towards establishment of bio-fertilizers production units across the country.

In a move to reduce the dependence on imports and further encourage the domestic fertilizer sector, the Government of India (GoI) mulls to promote the use of bio fertilizers across the country.

To this effect, the government has taken various measures for encouraging the farmers, towards usage of bio-fertilizers, informed the Minister of State for Chemicals & Fertilizers, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, GoI.

Under these measures, the government provides financial assistance for establishment of bio-fertilizers production unit as back ended subsidy, at 25% of total financial outlay up to a maximum of Rs 40 lakh, through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

Besides this, a financial assistance of 50% of cost will also be provided for farmers, for promotion of bio-fertilizer units under Integrated Scheme for Oilseeds, Pulses, Oil Palm and Maize (ISOPOM).

Apart from this, the government is also providing financial support for setting up of production units of organic fertilizers, by encouraging the producers of organic fertilizers, across the country, informed the Minister.

Under National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF), a financial support under credit-linked back-ended subsidy, at 33% of total cost of the project up to Rs 60 lakh per unit, would be provided through NABARD, for setting up of fruit/vegetable waste/agro-waste compost unit.

The government also provides 50% financial support for setting up of vermi-compost units, under National Horticulture Mission (NHM).

In view of the constraints in the availability of the Natural Gas, which is important for production of nitrogenous fertilizers, the government is also encouraging the Indian companies to establish joint ventures abroad and enter into long-term agreements with the countries rich in fertilizer resources, for getting fertilizer supplies and inputs to India.

The countries, with which India made similar agreements in previous years, include Oman, Tunisia, Jordan and Morocco.

These moves by the government come in view of India’s near total dependence, to the extent of 90%, on imports of Phosphatic fertilizer and its raw materials, full dependence on Potash fertilizers.

However, these moves would hopefully reduce the Indian dependence on chemical fertilizers and will start bringing back the traditional Indian agricultural practices aimed at production of chemical-free food products.

Retrieved from – https://www.thedollarbusiness.com/bio-fertilizer-projects-likely-to-reduce-indias-fertilizer-imports/

Fruits-vegetables sector faces multiple challenges: Exim Bank

The Indian fruits and vegetables production faces multiple challenges across the value chain from the supply side to the demand side, according to a study released by EXIM Bank of India.

The study was conducted with an aim to examine the factors responsible for India’s low share of in the world trade of fruits and vegetables. This is despite being the second biggest producer of fruits and vegetables.

“At production level, the major challenge is low productivity, while at post production stage, the wastage rate is very high”, it said. The study noted that average productivity of most domestic fruit and vegetable crops is low compared to international standards.

There is a wide gap between existing and potential yields. This can be narrowed through improved varieties and technologies. Some areas of concern are water management, quality seed development, pest and diseases management and technology suitability for small and marginal land holdings.

While admitting that there are problems facing the Indian fruits and vegetables sector, Siraj Hussain, Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, said that India also has several success stories. “We have put up a reasonably good supply chain in grapes, apples and now bananas”. But these successes have not been replicated in other fruits and vegetables, he said.

According to the study, estimated wastage in India ranges from 11 per cent in mangoes to as high as 90 per cent in tomatoes. This has resulted in low marketable surplus and low trade in the sector. Some other contributors are slow development of post-harvest technologies and their dissemination.

Total existing cold storage capacity in India is only 10.4 per cent of the total production of fruits and vegetables, it said. Of this total, 75 per cent caters to potatoes and around 24 per cent is used for meat and dairy, leaving only a minuscule capacity for fruits and vegetables.

The study stressed the need for production and post production management, international quality compliance, and marketing strategies for development of the export market. The report said that the analyses of production, productivity and major fruit and vegetable trade reveal three areas that the country needs to work on – “productivity improvement through technological interventions, reduction of wastage through efficient post-harvest management and diversification of markets through development of customized products.”

TCA Ranganathan, CMD of EXIM Bank said India is not realizing its potential in the fruits and vegetables space. “We need to go five steps forward to meet all the challenges,” he said.

Reference – http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/fruits-vegetables-sector-faces-multiple-challenges-exim-bank/1/200230.html

Build brand NE, say experts

Build brand Northeast with the inherent strengths of the region is what speakers highlighted at a Northeast marketing conclave here today.

The focus of the Ficci-organised conclave, Remark, was to help the region attract investors and ensure that local goods and services are able to compete in the domestic and international markets.

The chief operating officer (COO) of Amalgamated Plantations Private Ltd, Prabir Banerjea, said the Northeast should create a regional identity with some common factors to build brand Northeast. The identity can be based on four attributes found in the region — natural, fresh, traditional and wild & unexplored.

He said multinationals were attracting consumers with local flavours and it was imperative that the region built on its inherent strengths.

“The region has the potential to become largest producer of organic and naturally-grown horticulture and spice products,” he said.

In spices, it can become a supplier of high value spices to processors, whereas in fruits, it can supply fruits like passion fruit, pineapple, strawberry and kiwi to various markets. In flowers, it can target the metro market and create a retail chain.

He said consumers/customers were increasingly looking at hygiene and convenience and private label brands were becoming the order of the day in modern trade.

Assam health and education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who was the chief guest at the conclave, said marketing should be based on honesty. “There should be a honest admission of facts,” he said.

Referring to Kaziranga, which is a big craze for tourists, he said the authorities should tell the tourists what they could expect and not go over board.

“If you consider human development index, Assam comes in 16th position but what it does not say is that it comes third when one considers last three years and not the entire period after Independence. Even when considering the drop in maternal mortality rate, Assam will have beaten Gujarat when we look at the last three years. Comparisons should be done amongst equals and it should be taken into account that some of them are not historically in an advantageous position,” Sarma said, adding that social campaigns should be backed by ground reality.

Other speakers stressed that the Northeast needed to make right choices in chalking out an effective strategy to market itself.

Though it has many unique goods and products, there seems to be a lacuna in marketing them in national and international markets, the speakers said.

Bejon Misra, a consumer policy expert, said during a panel discussion on opportunities and issues of direct selling that promises made to a consumer must be delivered in the manner he or she wanted.

“The key expectations of the consumers are accountability, transparency, standard, information, non-discrimination, a good redressal mechanism and service with a smile,” he added.

Retrieved from – http://www.telegraphindia.com/1130830/jsp/northeast/story_17288254.jsp#.UiAlgNIqdsk

APPL to help North-East farmers

APPL to help North-East farmers

Retrieved from – http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/showpage.asp?id=aug2712,11,924,471,489,1101

State to have procurement centres soon for horticultural crops

GUWAHATI, Dec 12: In a bid to develop the marketing of horticultural crops of the region, State Agriculture minister Nilomoni Sen Deka today announced that procurement centres would be set up in the State soon.

Inaugurating the Inter-State Horti Sangam, 2011 at the NEDFi Convention Centre in Guwahati, the minister said, “Marketing facilities of horticultural crops of the State are not too developed due to lack of procurement centres. Moreover, farmers do not get the actual price for their products due to non-availability of procurement centres. We are going to set up procurement centres by the next fiscal. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has also planned to initiate a Rs-50 crore project next year for developing the horticulture sector of the State.”

Nilomoni Sen Deka further said, “At present the production of the State is very high but to store all the products there is lack of sufficient cold storage facilities. So, we will set up new cold storage so that products do not perish. We will give loans and subsidy to the private sector for development of the horticultural sector. We have asked the Asian Development Bank to formulate all the works.” He added, “Just as there is a technology mission in the hill areas, likewise there will be a horticulture mission in Assam soon.”

The Inter-State Horti Sangam has been organized by the National Horticulture Board. On this occasion, the Zonal Director of North East Horticulture Board, RK Sharma, said: “The objective of organizing this event is to create a platform to promote marketing of horticultural products by way of participation of the farmers. This will provide an opportunity to the farmers to learn from each other’s performance and experience.”

For quick transportation of containers containing horticultural products, the Corporation of India and the National Horticulture Board will start the Horticulture Express Train from January 13 next year. This train will have 90 containers or coaches. Initially the train will run from Bhusawal in Maharashtra to New Delhi and after some days one container will be brought to Assam on experimental basis. Inside the train the pressure will be maintained in such as a way as to protect the products from perishing.

The Inter-State Horti Sangam will continue till December 14 and participants from across the Northeast and West Bengal are taking part here. All horticulture products are organic  and include oranges, ginger, passion fruit, kiwi, ber, fig, pineapple, King chilli, orchids, roses and cymbidium.

Retrieved from – http://www.sentinelassam.com/ghy_city/story.php?sec=2&subsec=4&id=99971&dtP=2011-12-13&ppr=1#99971

Aseptic Packaging – Boon for fruit processing industry

India currently produces about 50 million tonnes of fruit (about 9% of the world’s production) and about 90 million tonnes of vegetables (11% of the world’s production). The Indian food processing industry is primarily export-oriented. India’s geographical situation gives it the unique advantage of connectivity to Europe, the Middle-East, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Korea.

Products that have growing demand in the export market are pickles, chutneys, fruit pulp, canned fruits and vegetables, concentrated pulps and juices, dehydrated vegetables and frozen fruits and vegetables along with processed animal-based products.

Aseptic packaging tends to cost more, but it also allows for more delicate processing of foods than do alternative methods like canning. The technology for commercial aseptic processing has been available for half a century and took hold in Europe in the early 1960s. The process involves sterilising the packaging and the food product separately and then filling and sealing the containers in a sterile environment. That allows the food to retain more colour, texture, taste and nutrition than it does when subjected to the more heat-intensive conventional methods used in canning and bottling.

Aseptic processing has been a boon to the food & fruit processing industry, enabling both growth and innovation. Food industry operators face shorter menu development cycles as they juggle labour supply, increased costs, regulatory requirements and new competitors. So they turn to aseptically packaged food products to resolve a number of pressing issues.

Food industry operators are now ordering fewer commodity / ingredient items and more prepared items. Pre-made stocks, sauces and bases are the foundation of many signature menu items. Ultra high-temperature (UHT) processing is crucial to ensure commercial sterility for aseptic, shelf-stable food products and beverages. Hence it is critical that the process must be performed in a sterile environment, from the handling of the package until it is sealed.

In practice, generally there are two specific fields of application of aseptic packaging technology:
● Packaging of pre-sterilised and sterile products. Examples are milk and dairy products, puddings, desserts, fruit and vegetable juices, soups, sauces, and products with particulates.
● Packaging of non-sterile product to avoid infection by micro-organisms. Examples of this application include fermented dairy products like yoghurt.

The three main advantages of using aseptic packaging technology are
● Packaging materials, which are unsuitable for in-package sterilisation, can be used. Therefore, light-weight materials consuming less space offering convenient features and with low-cost such as paper and flexible and semi-rigid plastic materials can be used gainfully.
● Sterilisation process of high-temperature-short time (HTST) for aseptic packaging is thermally efficient and generally gives rise to products of high quality and nutritive value compared to those processed at lower temperatures for longer time.
● Extension of shelf-life of products at normal temperatures by packing them aseptically.

Bulk Aseptic Packaging
Aseptic Bag-In-Box system caters to packaging of ‘high’ as well as ‘low’ acid products and
products containing particles for filling range from 25 litres up to 1,140 litres. Typical packaging applications are Fruit juices, concentrates, purees; tomato products; milk and cream; coconut products; and jam.

Working Principles of Bulk Filling Machine: The packages are manufactured from a variety of laminates to match the product and required shelf-life. The packages are provided with patented spouts designed for aseptic filling. The inside of the package is sterilised before delivery; the packages are supplied flat preventing the entry of air or gas. They are available in volumes from catering size up to sizes intended for shipping of product from manufacturer / grower to processor / packer / distributor. All packages are intended to be supported, when filled, by an outer container, for instance, a drum or heavy-duty box.
● Advantages of Bulk Aseptic Packaging:

It offers the following advantages:

Safety
Steam sterilisation of spout, and sterilisation effect can be controlled and recorded; No chemical sprays used to sterilise the chamber; Spout is tamperproof; Safer sterilisation and easier to monitor; No risk of adding chemicals to the product; and No risk of laminate material relating with chemicals.

Reliability
The filling machine is uncomplicated as there is no sterile chamber; Filling is controlled by weight. This ensures accuracy as no adjustments for specific
gravity need to be made; and Customer will have one partner with worldwide service organisations and long experience in processing and packaging technology.

Extended Shelf-life
● High oxygen barrier of the laminate. Laminate is less susceptible to flex cracking.
● Secure spout with limited possibility of oxygen permeation. Spout is made of HDPE, which has three times less oxygen transmission rate compared to LDPE.
● There is no head space in the bag.

Product quality
● Chemical browning is minimised due to high oxygen barrier properties of pouch
material.

Bulk Aseptic Bags
A bulk aseptic bag is a multi-layer structure consisting of an outer barrier laminate and an inner bag in contact with the product. All bags are pre-sterilised using gamma irradiation and supplied flat. The level of gamma irradiation is specifically selected to facilitate packaging of high as well as low acid products.

The bag has three distinctive features as below: Highly secure spout; Outer bag barrier; and Inner bag barrier.
● Types and Sizes of Bulk Aseptic Bags: Depending upon the choice of barrier material employed, the bags are classified

Retrieved from  – http://www.fnbnews.com/article/detnews.asp?articleid=30950&sectionid=37

Centre launches Rs. 300 crore scheme on ‘vegetable initiative for urban clusters’

The Centre has launched a new scheme on ‘vegetable initiative for urban clusters’during 2011-12 with an outlay of Rs.300 crore under the aegis of the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.

The scheme envisages development of vegetable clusters for ensuring supply of good quality vegetables to one city or town in every state having a population of one million and above. In the case of states, which do not have any city with one million population such as in Goa, the state capital city or township having less than one million population is covered.

The scheme covers all aspects relating to vegetable production, from production and supply of planting material to marketing upto the retail level along with support for conducting base line survey, formation of farmer groups, their linkage to aggregators/markets besides training and capacity building of vegetable growers in the identified clusters.

The production of vegetables in the country has increased from 111.39 million tonnes in 2005-06 to 133.7 million tonnes in 2009-10. Accordingly, per capita availability of vegetables has increased from 279 gm per day to 317 gm per day over a period of 5 years.

However, there are issues relating to enhancement of productivity, post-harvest losses and improvement in quality of vegetables.

This information was given by Harish Rawat, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries.

Retrieved from – http://www.newkerala.com/news/2011/worldnews-47999.html

Bananas Ship on Cooled Ingersoll Trucks as India Works to Limit Food Waste

About a third of Ayannan Karuppaiah’s 75-ton banana crop used to rot before it reached the market about 300 miles (480 kilometers) away inChennai, India. Now, his fruit is eaten in the Middle East.

Karuppaiah transformed his business after buying a refrigerated truck from Ingersoll-Rand Plc (IR) two years ago. The vehicle, modified to handle narrow roads and temperatures that can reach about 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), enabled Karuppaiah to get his bananas blemish-free to Bangalore and Chennai, where he sells them wholesale for export to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

“It used to be awful seeing all of my hard work just rot away,” said Karuppaiah, 51, who’s bought five more trucks since. “Now, I’ve paid for my daughter’s wedding and put my son through college.”

Ingersoll, United Technologies Corp. (UTX)’s Carrier and shipping line AP Moeller-Maersk A/S are among companies promoting cold- chain technologies in India, where about 300 billion rupees ($6.6 billion) of food is lost each year because of a lack of chillers and poor infrastructure. That push is helping local farmers — the world’s biggest growers of bananas, mangoes, papayas, lemons and limes — sell more goods at home and abroad.

“Reducing waste can directly translate into income for farmers and lower prices for consumers,” said Sankalpa Bhattacharjya, a senior director at KPMG in Gurgaon, India. “It will have a long-lasting impact by lowering food inflation.”

An index measuring Indian wholesale prices for agricultural products jumped 9.9 percent in the week ended July 30 from a year earlier, according to the Department of Commerce.

0.1 Percent Exports

India produced 26.3 million tons of bananas in 2008, of which 0.1 percent was sold overseas, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. Ecuador, the biggest exporter of bananas, sold 79 percent of its 6.7 million-ton crop abroad that year, the latest for which figures are available on the organization’s website.

As much as 40 percent of India’s banana crop is lost to wastage, according to KPMG’s Bhattacharjya. That would equal 10.5 million tons based on the 2008 data, more than the total crop in the Philippines, the world’s second-biggest producer.

Cold-Chain Investments

India is investing to pare food waste, setting aside 78.1 billion rupees in the year started April for states to spend on cold storage and other farming infrastructure. That support, coupled with private loans, helped a 600-member cooperative in Karuppaiah’s home village in Tamil Nadu state build a refrigerated facility that can hold 160 metric tons (176 tons).

“We now have the power to bargain for a better price for our produce,” said Karuppaiah, who slashed waste at his own farm to near zero even after adding more land and boosting annual production 20-fold to 1,500 tons.

Cold-chain investments may also help India become a major exporter of other crops, including apples and strawberries, Bhattacharjya said.

Demand for chillers helped Swords, Ireland-based Ingersoll boost sales in India 27 percent last year, according to a company presentation. China sales grew 24 percent. The company expects emerging-market revenue to grow at more than double the pace of the local economies, Chief Financial Officer Steven Shawley said in a June 17 conference call.

Smaller Chillers

To win sales in India, Ingersoll has developed Thermo King refrigeration units that are narrower and less power-hungry so they can fit onto local trucks, said M.S. Manjunath, head of its cold-chain business in the country.

Ingersoll-Rand India Ltd. (INGR), the company’s Bangalore-based unit, declined 1.5 percent to 457 rupees at the 3:30 p.m. close in Mumbai after earlier rising as much as 2.8 percent. The Bombay Stock Exchange’s benchmark Sensitive Index fell 0.7 percent. The unit expects to become a $500 million enterprise by 2012, helped by investment plans totaling about $100 million, Chairman and President Venkatesh Valluri said.

Gujarat Fluorochemicals Ltd., a maker of refrigerant gases, gained 8.9 percent to 487.15 rupees. The stock rose as much as 13 percent, the most since Dec. 2. The company reported Aug. 12 first-quarter profit more than tripled to 1.6 billion rupees.

United Technologies’ Carrier, the world’s largest provider of temperature-control products, has introduced small chiller units that can be powered by vehicle engines rather than using a separate generator, said Pankaj Mehta, assistant director at the local unit of Carrier Transicold. The company also intends to start selling refrigerated railroad cars during the next few years as India builds new lines, he said.

Banana Containers

Copenhagen-based Maersk, the world’s largest container line, has introduced cargo boxes that keep bananas fresh for up to 50 days by controlling oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen levels as well as temperature and humidity, according to its website.

The technology enables Indian banana farmers to send their goods as far as the Baltic Sea region, said Rizwan Soomar, managing director at Maersk Line (India & Sri Lanka). He didn’t comment on how many bananas the line was carrying from India. The containers also have been used for avocados, he said.

The Maersk system helped Navsari, western India-based Desai Fruits & Vegetables ship 2,000 containers of bananas to the Middle East in the year ended March 31, Desai Chief Executive Officer Bjoern Witte said. The company’s wastage levels are about 2 percent for bananas, he said.

Desai is now looking to send bananas to eastern Europe and Ukraine as part of a push to boost exports fivefold by 2015, he said.

Export Target

“We are growing strongly,” Witte said. “The fundamentals are tremendously promising for exports.”

India plans to double total exports by the year ending March 2014 from $246 billion last fiscal year, according to a Department of Commerce plan. Still, infrastructure remains a hindrance.

A lack of port capacity can lead to congestion and delays, hobbling volumes. The nation’s 13 biggest state-run harbors missed a government target of handling 581.3 million tons of cargo last fiscal year by 3.5 percent.

India plans to spend $1 trillion on new roads, airports, urban rail and power networks in the five years through 2017 to boost trade and growth.

“Technology has enabled even people in villages to earn foreign exchange,” said M.M. Mustaffa, director of the government-backed National Research Centre for Banana in the southern Indian city of Tiruchirapalli.

Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-15/bananas-ship-on-cooled-ingersoll-trucks-as-india-works-to-limit-food-waste.html on 17 august, 2011