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Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School Excel Generators provide the vital back-up Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad Sweeter prospects for sugar No engine for this car Nuclear power at the nucleus New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… Fortune for Indian Airlines ONGC at KG Basin The nuclear option Solar, solar everywhere … MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital Align crops to agro climate endowments… Marketing expert Balagopal is no more Tatas moving out of urea production... IPL type auction for VCs? Preserving for the future Tatas moving out of urea production... Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities Muffled voices for merit… No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu Delhi is distant… All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya The brown list of Venkitaramanan Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... Another Indian music maestro at the UN Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan Breaththrough in malaria control Demise of a media baron... TN – agglomerate land holdings without alienating ownership A proud Madrasi Tribute – UCAL Selvan… Sweet news for TN sugar mills Adharma of opposition politics Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ Build close rapport with business leaders CII projects higher growth… Cement prices continue to rise… A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science Plummeting profits of PSBs Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu An enemy’s enemy is a friend B H Kothari - a tribute An inexplicable neglect Boy, can you beat these? SoA @ 80 Fuel for thought Valli, they are more marginalised When Ratan Tata visited SRM Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel More Shakti to resource mobilisation... Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model PPP mode for upgrading Corporation Hospitals Of course, Gujarat is vibrant For whom the bell tolls? A think tank for Chennai Tribute – M V Murugappan CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Protest masters... Contrarian cousins A glass full of corruption China invests in India Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt GNS - 100: our first subscriber When small is no larger beautiful.. Poor quality of university VCs TGS- The king storyteller CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. Shipping woes of Chennai companies The sea- saw battle continues... Towards speedy justice Delhi returns to BJP Recognition to role of NBFCs.... When online building permits work…. Moily’s bold thrust Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform to the lack of interest on the part of these to focus on original research. This despite the much lower costs of such research in India. 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Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW Computation of GDP – conundrums continue Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Mu Sigma – is no more The why of tax incentives Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara More Shakthi to Das’ elbow The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ Put expensive assets created to use... The rise and fall of Annamalai University Modi storms Silicon Valley Funding the un-funded Editor's Notes Haul over the coal Things happen by accident and not by design... Welcome GST Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! Sri Lanka votes for change Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles Paytm karo... More heat than light Modi and the lady The balancing act A rich pool of talent not utilised…. Delhi Chalo... Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V Revving up the manufacturing sector London, London Narayan Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu Shanti and Sadhana through Music F C Kohli - his concerns all embracing Banning booze... Polls and promises TIAM turns a full cycle Pharma – overdose of copying Kulandai was a giant Cutting the nose to spite the face S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more Editor's Says The rise and rise of KCP EEC at the National Media Centre CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector Tough task taking states together Road development slows down Solar thermal shines… Small units prefers to remain small... Alexa – Talking Wikipedia Parliament in paralysis... Medical costs hit the roof... Noble nonagenarians... Should we change the official year? Secularism and anti-Hinduism Dr C Rangarajan returns to Chennai Where is Rajaji? When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's Wise Presidents How Air-India loses customs... A welcome initiative by the judiciary Remembering Indira Sivasailam... Convulsions in The Hindu When the President was rendered homeless… Rahman at CIC PC’s preference for professionals Revive development banks... Strengthen the base... The Jan Dhan bonanza Streamlining mandatory third party cover Wanted: a second airport for Chennai Readers' Mail Quality education through the PPP mode Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy Quality silica from Neyveli Which side are you, Montek? He continues the focus on social amelioration IPL - no surprise this scam A professional at the helm of IRDA... Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik Making ‘my Amaravati’... Kinetic Karnataka IAS invades NDDB... GM Technology at last! Gas is the way forward Bihar elections - the Rajaji formula worked Music happens Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami Make standards certification mandatory... He saved millions from starvation... Increasing non co-operation of state leaders Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS This scant respect for Law Come elections, come advertisements... The Gulf aviation boom TELANGANA at last…BUT There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal No Maha Koottani in TN...
 
A yen for wastage…

A decade ago, McKinsey report mentioned that a third of fruits and vegetables produced in India are wasted through lack of attention to handling these. The report stated that this wastage is equivalent to the total consumption of such products in the UK. Involved with the Agriculture Consultancy Ma-

nagement Foundation (ACMF) promoted by IE to improve productivity of agriculture, I have watched with dismay that such wastages continue to abound in the farms; in transporting the produce from farm gates to the wholesaler; from the mandis to the retailer and finally to the consumer. Cold chains, much bandied about, are a far cry in a country where power shortages are rampant, pervasive and frequent. There is also the consequent high tariff for power, which makes cold storages so much more expensive and unaffordable by the average farmer. One solution is the quick adoption of techniques followed in developed countries. China has done this effectively, inviting large multinationals to extend technology for achieving quantum jumps in productivity of crops like potato; more importantly, in establishing a highly sophisticated system of handling the produce.

The liberalisation of retail trade is expected to attend to this. But the familiar paralysis of governance in Delhi has not enthused large retail chains to set up shop in India with any sense of urgency. Several regional leaders including Arvind Kejriwal are against liberalisation of retail trade. Hopefully, a new government at the Centre by mid 2014 would have sufficient power to focus on such vital issues.

Even while I express concern over this issue, I noticed more callous wastage in that haven for efficiency, the USA. I visited an apple orchard near Boston. There are several of these large private orchards spread over vast areas. They raise a large variety of apples. Adopting scientific practices, they produce in profuse quantities. Of course, they suffer from the problem of high cost of labour to manage these. Mechanisation, which is pervasive in most other aspects of US industry and  agriculture, has not been possible for plucking such fruits.

Private orchards resort to making money through tourism offering the opportunity for visitors spend time at the orchards and pluck the fruits.  For an entrance fee of $ 14, the visitor is provided a bag. He/she can pluck and fill these with apples and pears.  Tractor-trailer rides with hay seats take the visitors (for an additional fee) through different parts of the orchards raising several varieties of the fruits. Instructions are also given on the method of plucking the fruits.

All this is exciting. But, sadly, I noticed humongous wastage by amateurish plucking. On a rough estimate, I found more than half the produce was wasted.

There are well-organised orchards in India where attention is paid to reducing such wastage. Reliance Industries offers an excellent example. In Jamnagar, along side its two world-class refineries, the company has set up a sprawling mango orchard. Thousands of mango trees are raised on scientific basis under the direction of expert scientists and managers. The trees are pruned to a height of less than 10 feet in beautiful canopy shape. A lot of research inputs are made to extend the season as also expand variety and improve quality. The normal wastages seen in traditional orchards of tall trees suffering bird and squirrel bites are avoided. In quick time, the company established a flourishing export market for mangoes.

The lesson is clear: as in other aspects of the economy, agriculture needs science, technology and management. That is possible only by agglomeration of thousands of small land holdings. Punjab and Rajasthan have amended land acts permitting lease of land for 15 years and more. It’s time other states follow this.

 

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