Changing output across India in the agricultural fields is opening up new opportunities for farmers, throwing up an opportunity for the food processing industry to finally emerge from the shadows. Five consecutive years of fruits and vegetable output being higher than food grains has contributed to the silent revolution in the country’s agricultural fields.
Given the way higher output of fruits can help farmers and create a new eco-system for processed fruits, we are calling it the circular economy.
The farmer will be at the heart of the circular economy and each stage of the ecosystem will feed into the next, which finally ends with the farmer benefitting at the end of the entire activity. India has one of the lowest per capita beverages consumption. That is why, at
Coca-Cola’s Indian arm procures nearly 200,000 tons of fruits annually, the largest buyer of fruits in the country. This includes the Indian farmers’ horticulture produce worth Rs. 1700 crore that is being exported to its plants around the world. Because of the scale of its purchases,
Procurement may be the least of the issues that worry the farmer. The intervention at the farm could be done in a variety of ways.
Jain Irrigation has also helped farmers perfect the drip irrigation method, which requires far lesser water for cultivation.
With six years of UHDP experience behind it,
More fruit pulp is already finding its way into the beverages made by
Some fruits which are considered delicacies in select local markets could also be procured and processed in that region, fuelling the circular economy in a manner not thought of earlier.
Increased procurement will need investments at the manufacturing stage. Last week,
That improved availability of fruits could see more investments coming from several companies.
For consumers, this is great news because it gives them the option of consuming the fruit in a form that they may not have had before.
The circular economy for fruits could get a further shot in the arm with new variants and new categories that could be introduced with the assured supply of fruits. All of these will be driven by the success that the farmer is able to achieve from his efforts.
Several institutions associated with farmers will have to be upgraded. Krishi Vigyan Kendras, farmer producer organisation, operating at the village level, and the agriculture universities, could serve as centres of excellences. Farmers’ engagement with these could be enhanced to align their need with the needs of the industry. If the two could work together, these institutions become information centres and one stop shops for all needs of the farmers.
Krishi Vigyan Kendras need to promote good agricultural practices and encourage farmers to grow more cash crops and expand to new horticultural products.
If industry-ready information can be shared for farmers at these institutions, in a language that he understands, it could be yet another support system which can be set in motion for the circular economy.