Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals

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ISAP Monthly E-newsletter, Volume 8, Issue:5 (FEB, 2015)


- ISAP Activities

- Who’s who in Agriculture?

- Science & Technology

- News Highlights


ISAP, the parent body of IAP, which also started as an electronic group in 2001 and achieved the following highlights since then:
  • ISAP group and page on Facebook and linkedin cater to more than 100,000 professionals on a daily basis with thousands of posts every month and answers to huge no of queries and interactions generated through these platforms.
  • Reached 1500 Villages, 49 blocks, 27 districts in 15 States
  • Touched and transformed the lives of 5 lakh Indian farming families
  • Provided Entrepreneurship Development training to 3396 agri-graduates and incubated 1059 successful ventures
  • Trained 6611 BPL rural youth on vocational skills and helped them gain meaningful livelihoods.
  • Certified 467 agri-graduates under India Crop Certified Adviser Program
  • Satisfactorily answered more than 5 lakh farmer queries through our Kisan Call Centres (KCC) in Bhopal (MP) and Gulbarga (Karnataka)
  • Successfully established two 100 bedded rural hospitals in West Bengal
  • Successfully running multi-seater health helpline in Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh)
  • Set up 36 water treatment plants for village drinking water supply schemes in various states
  • Successfully running Community Radio Station "Kissan Vani Sironj" in District vidisha (M.P)
  • Created more than 100 farmer producer companies owned by @100,000 farmers across India

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ISAP Activities

FPO Promotion under Nation Food Security Mission (NFSM)

National Food Security Mission (NFSM) is a Central Scheme of GOI aims towards increasing production and productivity of cereals, pulses and commercial crops on a sustainable basis so as to ensure food security of the country. National Demonstration Project (NDP) is an initiative under National Food Security Mission, that aims is to bridge the yield gap in respect of these crops through dissemination of improved technologies and farm management practices. Under NDP of NFSM Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals has got the responsibility to promote Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs). ISAP has to mobilize 5000 farmers each in three states namely Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana, and form FPOs. As per the plan, 15 FPOs, each consists of 1000 farmers, are in formation state in the mentioned states.

Monthly Activities :-

The process of mobilization of target farmers is nearing completion and also, the election of Board of Directors (BoDs) of FPOs is nearing completion in all the three States. BoDs have been elected in the blocks of Manvi, Devdurga and Raichur in Raichur district of Karnataka, in Paithan and Gangapur blocks in Aurangabad distt of Maharashtra) and Bazarhathnoor block in Adilabad district of Telangana. These elected BoDs are being educated and assisted by ISAP’s field team on registration process. Based on a careful consideration of available options, it is proposed to register these FPOs under “Companies Act”.  The statutory compliances to be met include applying for Director Identification Number (DIN), Digital Signature (DS) etc. Besides this, these farmers are provided extension support. Regular sessions are being conducted to educate farmers to help them understand the advantages of economy of scale associated with FPO concept.  So far, a total of 535 group meetings and 132 trainings have been conducted under this program.

ISAP also organizes need based welfare programs in these areas through convergence. On Feb 15, 2015, ISAP organized a medical camp at Talamadugu,  Distt Adilabad. Nearly 75 people attended and were benefitted at this camp. Dr Mahaveer of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital, Adilabad was incharge  of the camp and was assisted by a Pharmacist. Also present at the camp were  Sarpanch Mr K. Raju. and Upsarpanch of Talamadugu. Technical support for organizing this camp was provided by Indian Society of Healthcare Professionals (ISHP).



Farmers Meeting with ATMA- BTM officer in Gangapur Block (Distt -Aurangabad) Farmer training on pheromone traps under  Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Glimpse of BoDs election at Paithan block of Aurangabad district of Maharashtra

Glimpse of BODs elections at Manvi block of Raichur district of Karnataka

BoDs meeting at Huzur block Training through Audio Visual Aid on NADP at Rampur block

Medical camp organized at Talamadugu, Distt Adilabad (Telangana)


FPO Promotion under MP Special Project

ISAP with support from Department of Agriculture, Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium has been promoting FPOs in four blocks of MP. The blocks are Gurh and Huzur blocks of Rewa district, and  Rampur Naikin and Majhauli blocks of Sidhi district. ISAP had been given the target of mobilizing 4000 small and marginal farmers for the project and to organize 1000 farmers under each FPO. The MP team of ISAP is close to achieving the assigned target and has so far mobilized 3665 farmers under 4 FPOs. The team has been conducting regular sensitization programs like village meetings, using video shows etc., to clearly convey the objectives of the project by the community members. Legal formalities of the registration of FPOs have been initiated. BODs have also been elected in all the four FPOs in democratic manner. Names have been assigned and got approved by Registrar of Companies for these four FPOs  The name are: “Vindhya Vikas Kisan Producer Company Limited” at Hujoor block of Rewa District, “Bhairav Kisan Nath Farm Producer Company Limited” of Gurh block of Rewa district,  “Sonanchal Kisan Producer Company Limited” of Rampur Naikin block of Sidhi district and “Majhauli Kisan Producer Company Limited” of Majhauli block of Sidhi district.  

Under agriculture extension services component of the project, exposure visit of 30 project farmers of Majhauli block, to Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Sidhi was organized on Feb’15. There farmers discussed and saw the demos on Good Agriculture Practices (GAPs) being done at KVK Sidhi.  The farmers exhibited great interest in methods and benefits of soil testing, organic farming, vegetable cultivation (olericulture), vermin-compost and poly house or protected cultivation of vegetables. The scientists also explained them about usage of certified seeds and change of seeds of pulses and oilseeds crops at regular interval.

Farmers Meeting with ATMA- BTM officer in Gangapur Block (Distt -Aurangabad) Farmer training on pheromone traps under  Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Glimpse of exposure visit of project farmers of Majhauli block to Krishi Vigyan Kendra Sidhi

Glimpse of project farmers of Majhauli block at KVK sidhi are being addressed by  agriculture scientists

OCPF-IFS Project, Rajasthan

ISAP has initiated OCPF-IFS project in the districts of Baran, Bundi and Sawai Madhopur (Rajasthan). Main objective of this program is to strengthen food and nutrition security and to improve livelihood of small and marginal farmers of Southeastern Rajasthan. Program is also aimed at building effective and cost efficient collaboration between producers, industry, governments, civil society organizations and other stakeholders for commodity based development. A total of 9600 farmers will directly be benefitted with this program.   

Monthly Activities :-

The month of February was a period of lull in so far as field demonstrations are concerned. The crops of mustard, chickpea and wheat made steady progress which was, luckily, eventless and surprisingly free from diseases or pest incidence.  There was a short period of two days when day temperature went beyond 300C which could have given rise to severe infestation by aphids in mustard and aphids as well as Helicoverpa in chickpea. It did not happen though. However, due to low temperatures, the growth of fodder providing species, viz., bajra-napier hybrid, azolla and edible cactus has been relatively poor.

Training of Farmer groups for FPO formation continued during this month and 18 such meetings were held in the 6 blocks. Also, identification of sites for setting up AVRC – the agribusiness– cum– community arm of FPOs  was intensified. So also, the sites for setting up demos for water harvest and recycling were explored. It seems that there will be no difficulty in locating proper sites for 6 AVRCs, 4 anicuts and 2 dugout ponds in the project area at the rate of one each per block.  The major motivation for water recycling is during the years of low rainfall and the need to have access to life-saving or yield-enhancing irrigation in late phase of a rabi crop.

116 demonstrations for growing of spring / summer season crops have been finalized.  Seed of cucurbit vegetables (including  watermelon and  muskmelon) along with other types of vegetables, viz., okra and for mungbean have been provided to farmers in 6 blocks. There is a high level of demand for growing summer / spring crops in the project area but the major handicap is the free roaming wild and loose animals and cattle, as the green fodder goes into short supply under natural conditions.  Also, there is extensive cultivation of mustard which vacates the field during mid- February to mid-march, thereby creating an opportunity for a successful summer / spring crop after mustard in areas having access to water. 

Mobile van at Tadkal HRD at Basavkalyan

Demo of coriander in village

Demo of potato crop in 


OCPF-AES Project Karnataka

In phase I, OCPF-AES project was started as Soil health improvement and yield enhancement program. In span of four years, project got culminated into institutionalization of project farmers into “Producer organizations” (FPOs) and integration of these FPOs into the existing market value chain. In 1st phase, ISAP has formed total seven (7) Farmer Producer Organizations in districts of Gulbarga, Bidar and Raichur.  In phase II, emphasis is largely on making these FPOs sustainable through market integration, infrastructure support and convergence with various schemes.   

Monthly Activities :-

A high-level delegation from Morocco visited the project area on Feb 5-6, 2015 The  team comprised  of    Dr Dahan Rachid, Secretary-General , INRA, Mr. Ouaattar Said, Director of Hassan II Agronomy & Veterinary Institute, Mr Saadi Janah, Academic Director, Polytechnic University Mohamed VI, Mr Amiri Said, HoD, National school of agriculture, Meknes (ENA).  This delegation also included senior officials of OCP Foundation viz., Mr Roudies Sidi Nawfel, Director, Agricultural Development Program, Mr El Alami Nabil, Director, Audit Department and Mr Rouini Imadeddine, Project Manager, Agricultural Development Program. This delegation visited OCPF-AES project areas in Bidar and Gulbarga districts (Karnataka). This team visited field of IFS farmers and interacted with them to understand the benefits derived by these farmers under IFS concept. Team also visited Agri Village Resource Centers (AVRCs) in Halbarga, Bhalki Tq, Bidar and Gudur, Afzalpur Tq, Gulbarga dist. The “ISAP Kisanfresh” an Urban Outlet to provide market linkage to the FPO was inaugurated by the team. At this outlet, FPOs sell their produce like pigeonpea dal,  jaggery etc., and SHGs sell their produce like papad, vermicelli, etc.

ISAP also invited the Team  members to  inaugurate  the Custom Hiring Service Centre (CHSC) at  Halbarga,  at Bhalki, in  Distt  Bidar. This CHSC will be  run by Jai Kisan Souharda Multi-purpose Cooperative, which is a FPO nurtured and promoted   under OCPF-AES Project.  In an unprecedented  upscaling of the Machinery Center intiative introduced during ISAP-OCPF AES project (2010-1013),  Karnataka government has set 169 such centers in the state of which, 11 such CHSCs will be run by Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) set up by ISAP in this regions. Each CHSC is provided agricultural machineries as per recommendation of farmers’ committee and district agriculture department , largely based on a pre-implementation to assess the requirement of the farmers in respective areas. The  machinery provided at these centres  include 50 HP & 39 HP  tractors, power rotovator, combine harvester,  JCB excavator and other need-based agriculture equipments  which will be provided to farmers on rental (custom-hiring)  basis , particularly those cannot afford to purchase  the  agri-machinery.

BoDs meeting at Huzur block Training through Audio Visual Aid on NADP at Rampur block
Inauguration ceremony of Kisan Fresh Outlet by OCPF team during their visit to India in Feb, 2015 the SHG and Farmers members were present on this occasion
BoDs meeting at Huzur block Training through Audio Visual Aid on NADP at Rampur block

CHSC office and machinery center : Inauguration by Mr. Krishna Bairegowda, the Agriculture Minister, Government of Karnataka


Maharashtra Agricultural Competitiveness Project  (MACP) Program in Vidarbha

ISAP is implementing MACP project in six districts of Vidarbh region including Bhandara, Chandrapur, Gondia, Gadhchiroli, Nagpur and Wardha. ISAP has a mandate to mobilize  more than 40,000 farmers  with a view to set up at least 80 Producer Organizations. These farmers are being provided training on proven cropping technique and Institution-building.  On Feb 10th, 2015, Sh Bhausaheb Barahte, Project Director ATMA convened and conducted a one day workshop at Vikas Bhavan, Wardha for the project farmers.  Representatives of nearly 215 CIGs attended this workshop. Select groups were given office kit by the ATMA officials. Ms Sheetal Makar (APD ATMA) and other senior ATMA officials were also present. The Agenda for the Workshop included information on group formation, group dynamics and advantages of Producer Organizations.

BoDs meeting at Huzur block Training through Audio Visual Aid on NADP at Rampur block
Workshop organized by ATMA at Wardha
Farmers Meeting with ATMA- BTM officer in Gangapur Block (Distt -Aurangabad) Farmer training on pheromone traps under  Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Mr Pitambar Awathale providing the stationary kit to Tulsi Mahila Uttpadak Gut, Deoli block, Wardha

ATMA stationary kit including file, pencils, gum, stapler, punching machine etc provided to FIGs


Success Story

Agri-clinic Agri-business Program

Ms Rajo Mandivi is a young enterprising girl from a remote village Sahgaw in District Kanker of Chhattisgarh. This young enthusiast did not let her indigence to ruin her dreams. She had strong urge of starting something of her own. Through peers, She came to know about ISAP ACABC training centre in Raipur (Chattisgarh). Although Raipur is more than 200 kms away from her native block, but determined Rajo had no second thought against undertaking this 2-month residential program. On successful completion of her training, she started a goatry farm with her own investment of INR 3 lakh. She also advises farmers on goat rearing. She is catering to 25 farmers from 4 villages. Her monthly income is INR 10,000 per month. ISAP wishes her luck for her future endeavors.



Science & Technology

Molecular sensor to determine quality and nutritional value of edibles

What’s in that drink? Futuristic device lets you find out

Want to know which watermelon is sweeter, whether an avocado is ripe, or what’s in that diamond? New pocket-sized molecular sensor reveals all.

Before buying fruit at the greengrocer, steak at the butcher or a nutritional supplement at the pharmacy, imagine taking a gadget out of your pocket, aiming it at the item and instantly seeing its quality, ripeness and nutritional value, plus a whole lot more data hidden at the molecular level.

That is about to happen. Come July, the Israeli company Consumer Physics will start shipping preorders of its futuristic SCiO, the world’s first consumer-grade molecular sensor. The sensor, a tiny spectrometer, allows you to get instant relevant information about the chemical make-up of just about everything around you, from foods to plants, medicines, diamonds and more, sent directly to your smartphone.

Do you know


Key facts about Soil

95 percent of our food is directly or indirectly produced on our soils. A shortage of any one of the 15 nutrients required for plant growth can limit crop yield. By 2050, agricultural production must increase by 60 percent globally – and by almost 100 percent in developing countries – in order to meet food demand alone. It can take up to 1000 years to form one centimetre of soil. Sustainable soil management could produce up to 58 percent more food.


Who’s who in Agriculture?

Charles Downing  (July 9, 1802 – January 18, 1885) - Born in Newburgh, New York Charles Downing was an American pomologist, horticulturist, and author.   His taste for horticultural pursuits was stimulated early by close contact with a nursery owned by his father, Samuel Downing. Even while attending an academy in the neighborhood he worked a portion of the time in this nursery. Circa  1850  he discontinued his association with commercial nursery and until the end of his career, devoted himself to extensive experiments with varieties of fruits. His research activities had much to do with placing nursery gardening on a scientific basis. The test orchard which he developed contained trees and grafts of 1,800 varieties of apples, 1,000 of pears, and other fruits in similar numbers. He had assisted his brother in the preparation of The Fruits and Fruit Trees of America (1845). He wrote many articles upon horticultural subjects under the initials "C. D." His work throughout, was conscientious and accurate and he was internationally recognized as an authority on pomology, horticulture, and tree growth.  Downing bequeathed his library of books and manuscripts to the Iowa Agricultural College Horticulture Department. His drawings and descriptions of apples and other fruits became a major source for the fruit sections of the 1903 American Horticultural Manual.


News Highlights

Traditional banana varieties to get boost

The National Agro Foundation (NAF) and the Tamilnadu Banana Producers Company Limited (TBCL), along with Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, signed an agreement on Friday to utilize the lab facilities and expertise of the NAF for producing several tissue culture varieties of native bananas such as  poovan and  rasthali.  Many of these varieties are not freely available and their market potential is huge across the country and abroad.
The TBCL has ambitious plans to arrange and distribute quality tissue culture seedlings of these varieties grown in various parts of Tamil Nadu. At a  programme held at the Centre for Rural Development at  Illedu village in Kancheepuram district,  Mr S.S. Rajasekar,  Managing Trustee of  NAF, outlined NAF’s history and how in the last 13 years it has touched the lives of nearly 25,000


Kinnow growers see 50% drop in income

Hit by oversupply of oranges from Maharashtra, growers on kinnow, a citrus mandarin fruit, in Punjab have seen almost 50 per cent plunge in their returns this season from potential markets.
Disappointed growers now want the Punjab government to come forward to rescue them from this “loss making” venture by providing subsidy on transportation of kinnow for supply to other states.
Growers in Punjab fetched Rs. 6-7 per kg for their crop in December as against Rs. 12-13 per kg they received last season.
Kinnow harvesting starts in December and goes on till March in Punjab.  Growers blamed the oversupply of oranges in their potential markets in other states this season, leading to crash in prices of Kinnow.  As a result of low demand, the overall price of  kinnow remained  low this year. .


Suitable onion varieties for Kerala

Onion farming in Kerala is set for a quantum jump as varieties suited to Kerala soil have been identified.  On-farm trials conducted by the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) for the past three years have led to popularisation of onion among the farmers in plains and coastal areas.
More than one lakh seedlings produced by KVK and distributed to farmers in 2014 November are now getting ready in the small holder rural homesteads and terraces in urban, peri-urban areas.


Rural technology park promotes indigenous technologies

Government of India is setting up such parks in five African countries.

Not many would be aware that the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), Hyderabad  has a well established Rural Technology Park (RTP). Here, several relevant and user-friendly technologies are showcased which are useful for improving rural livelihoods.  Training is given to interested budding entrepreneurs for their skill up-gradation. After training, they are also assisted, so that they can start their enterprises. The Institute has adopted more than 100 villages across the country where innovative ideas are implemented.


Preserving food stuff

Tee Wave, a technology partner with the Institute is working on this concept for preserving vegetables, fruits and fish.  Unlike traditional motors and appliances which run on high electricity, these appliances run on very low power DC motors.  Hence, these are very useful in remote areas where electricity is a problem. For crops like soya, Saraswathi Mahila Gruha Udyog, a sort of self help group, has been created which is manufacturing a lot of products like soya milk, papad and soya powder.
For more information interested readers can contact Dr. M.V. Rao, Director General, National institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, email :, Mobile : 09703440004.


Import duty issue
Atallah said that to work around the issue of high import duties in India, particularly for wines (upwards of 152 per cent)  and  on refined olive oil (15 per cent) that Lebanon wanted to export, the two Governments are working on a Memorandum of  Understanding (MoU). This, he expects, will be finalised soon along with simplified visa procedures.
“Customs duties here work out to nearly 220 per cent for us and we’re hopeful of that changing since India is a significant market with a large elite that appreciates good wine,” said Zafar Chaoui, Chairman, Lebanese Wine Makers Association.
Chaoui said that despite only nine million bottles being produced each year, Lebanon exports nearly 45 per cent to more than 32 countries at prices ranging between $5 and $50.
India’s exported $69.41 million worth of agricultural goods to Lebanon in 2013-14 while importing commodities amounting to $0.47 million. 


India, Lebanon to lower import duty

Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh has urged Lebanon to invest in Mega Food Parks and cold chain infrastructure in India and promote information exchange on processing techniques for fruits and vegetables.  He met a delegation led by his counterpart Akram Chehayeb.
The two discussed measures to enhance bilateral agricultural trade and to trade “agricultural items such as fresh potatoes and tomatoes, durum wheat and sugar  in which India has potential to export,” according to an official statement.

“Lebanon is looking to export honey, olive oil, wines and fruits like apples and grapes. Poultry is another sector where exports can be increased,” said Henri Atallah, one of Chehayeb’s Advisors.


Mysuru farmers get ready to reap benefits of ‘superfood’
Madappa, a farmer in H.D. Kote taluk’s Bidarahalli village, had been growing cotton and ragi in his fields for years.    About three months ago, he experimented with Chia, a crop reckoned to be a rich source of  Omega-3 fatty acid, proteins and dietary fibre.   Madappa is already being offered around Rs. 18,000  to Rs. 20,000 per quintal for the crop grown on one acre of plot.   The amount is about three times what he would earn from ragi and cotton.    With new-age health and wellness concepts weaning the diet-conscious away from staples like rice and wheat to high protein and gluten-less food, farmers in the Mysuru region are embracing ‘superfood’ crops like Chia and Quinoa.
Staple crop    :   Chia seed, a staple crop of Mexico, is considered good for general health as it possesses properties that protect the heart and regulates one’s appetite.   Quinoa, a pseudo cereal, also originally from South American countries  like Peru and Bolivia,  possesses very low glycemic index, which is recommended for management of Type 2 diabetes,  says Ram Rajasekharan,  Director of the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI).
The institute has introduced the crops for cultivation for the first time. Farmers’ leader Kurubur Shanthakumar said about 60 farmers in Mysuru district has grown Chia and Quinoa in more than 100 acres of land.

Potato prices fall,  but not for consumers

Even as the market has witnessed a considerable fall in the price of potato due to arrival of new crop, traders in retail market are still fleecing consumers due to lack of regulatory and monitoring mechanism.
Potato prices have declined by more than 50 per cent in the last one month after several months at an elevated level due to increased arrival of the new crop. But in retail market, the price of the vegetable is double the wholesale price.
While the wholesale price of potato at Kuberpuri in Aiginia is in the range of `500 to `600 per quintal, the vegetable is being sold at `10 per kg in the retail market of the city. The retail price of the vegetable should be `7 to `8 per kg at best taking into account the transportation cost.
Potato was sold at `18 or `20 per kg before arrival of the new crop a couple of weeks back. The price of the tuber started softening as supply gradually picked up. There is a good flow of potato from neighbouring West Bengal which had put an embargo on its transportation for a considerable period of time last year.


Big prices for Alphonso mangoes

The prices of Alphonso mangoes are set to leave a bitter taste in your mouth. The first batch arrived at APMC market in Vashi at the end of January and sellers have set a price tag of Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,500 for a dozen.
According to members of fruit merchants welfare associations, 140 to 150 boxes arrived. But business has not picked up as there are no buyers for the fruit, which has arrived much earlier compared to the past couple of years.
Dr Mahesh Bedekar, Thane-based medico, who hails from Konkan region, said that mango is a seasonal fruit and early arrival of the crop is nothing but due to artificial ripening of the product. "There are people who can afford the fruit at such high prices. But citizens are not opting for the early crop because of the artificial ripening," he said. According to doctors, consumption of fruits artificially ripened can lead to allergies, stomach infections and in some cases even respiratory problems.timesofindia


Several trials

The trials to identify suitable varieties for the plains and coastal areas were initiated under the leadership of Dr. Jalaja S. Menon, Horticulturist, KVK Thrissur three years back.    Dr.Jalaja took the bold initiative to launch onion farming in the state said that the research attempts on the crop began in 2011. After preliminary trials to explore the feasibilty, nineteen varieties cultivated in different parts of the country were screened for adaptability.
The first trials were in experimental plots and then it was extended to farmers' fields.
 (Dr. Jalaja S. Menon is Horticulturist, KVK Thrissur, mobile: 9446141724, phone: 0487-2374755.)


Current focus

“We are also focusing on “Make in India” theme. The idea is to identify critical gaps and address them by enhancing the quality and marketability of the products having an eye on market demand.
“As the Indian market itself is so huge, rural producers can  tap it and in the process,  create enormous value for their enterprises.  This is a very important step, especially in creating opportunities for the rural youth across the country and also addressing the current unemployment scenario,” says  Dr. M.V.Rao, Director General, NIRD.
For example, the Institute is promoting the concept of harnessing solar energy at a big level. Solar street lights have become very popular in all the villages adopted by the Institute.   Lights have been installed in all these villages with community involvement.  “Earlier a solar street light used to cost more than Rs.20,000, but thanks to innovative designs, the cost is now reduced to less than Rs.4,000 and several such lights have been installed in remote villages in Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Maharashtra,” says Dr. Rao.


More apple storage for Himachal Pradesh 

Following the recent increase in apple output in Himachal Pradesh, the state government is planning to set up more controlled atmospheric (CA) storehouses (where the carbon-oxygen ratio can be maintained and the temperature can be controlled and adjusted accordingly) to keep the produce safe for longer periods.
Farmers, who are now selling their produce cheaper at peak times, have been demanding cold storage units for the last 10 years to prevent the fruit from getting spoiled.  Dr R S Minhas, chairman, Himalayan Organic Agriculture Research and Development (HIMOARD), explained, “We want to supply fruit to the market, but are not fetching good prices. Hence we are unable to manage the market.”
The Himachal Pradesh Horticultural Produce Marketing and Processing Corporation (HPMC) has decided to set up the units before the onset of the 2015 apple season, so that cultivators could safely store their produce when the market conditions are not conducive.
Further, after receiving good response to the CA stores from farmers and private players, HPMC has decided to convert its existing cold storage units - located at Rohru and Oddi in Shimla district, and Pattikuhl in Kullu district - into CA stores. It would also commission a modern apple pack house at Reckong Peo in Kinnaur district. It would be functional before the onset of the next apple season.
“The Adani Group of Companies has installed two CA storehouses, while HPMC has installed one. The latter is planning to install two more stores. There are 4-5 cold stores in Himachal Pradesh,” Dr Minhas informed.
He stated that if stored in a CA storehouse, apples would have a shelf life of about 20-25 days, whereas stone fruits would differ from crop to crop. “For instance, the shelf life of peaches and plums is 5-7 days, while that of cherries is 4-5 days and that of green almonds and pears is 10-15 days,” he added.


Setting up global market centre for coconut 

A proposal for setting up an international market centre in Kochi for coconut was put forth at the Asia Pacific Coconut Community (APCC) meeting which began here recently. The meeting discussed the issue and is expected to take a decision soon.
Making a presentation at the APCC’s 18-member ministerial meeting, Coconut Development Board Chairman T.K. Jose said that the APCC accounted for 90 per cent of the world coconut production, but the farmers were forced  to sell the produce in a buyers’ market where the prices were decided by a buyers’ cartel.  An international centre would focus on issues of production and marketing  with a view to improving the price discovery mechanism.
Kochi would fit the bill as the city had commendable information technology infrastructure for setting up a communication  network to exchange information to member countries. Kochi, with a port of international standards, was capable of handling massive quantities of cargo which could be helpful to countries intending to transport cargo.
The international airport at Nedumbasserry, near here, would facilitate air travel as well as cargo movement. The city hosting the headquarters of the Coconut Development Board and the Coir Board, too would benefit the coconut producing countries to find ways to have a better marketing arrangement and improved pricing for value added products.
Mr. Jose said a Trade Study Committee could be set up to suggest methods to promote coconut trade. Abolition of double taxation would be an important factor in easing the trade barriers. India had agreements with over 80 countries to avoid double taxation. The country was the second largest consumer market in the world, he said.




“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all.” 

- Wendell  Berry

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