Despite the fear of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has set a production target of ₹30.73 Crores worth of food grains for the year 2021-22. This includes the production of more than ₹15 Crores of food grains during the Kharif season alone.
Harvesting of Kharif crops begins in September of every year. A proper plan for post-harvest management needs to be in place to achieve the expected production of Kharif crops.
What are Kharif crops?
Kharif crops are grown during the monsoon season in India from the month of June to October. Their sowing time varies for different states depending upon the arrival of the monsoon. For example, in southern states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala, Kharif crops are grown towards the end of May and in northern states like Haryana and Punjab, their seeds are sown in June. Major Kharif crops grown in India include rice, cereals, bajra, maize, jowar, paddy, cotton, soybean, sugarcane, groundnut, and pulses.
Post-harvest management of Kharif crops
Usually, after harvesting, most of the crops are damaged due to temperature and environmental extremes. However, the adoption of efficient post-harvest methods can reduce this to a large extent. Post-harvest management is required to reduce ripening, preserve quality and extend the shelf-life of Kharif crops. Some of the best practices include technological implementations for temperature reduction and modification of the atmosphere during storage.
The grain kernel we eat is grown on a plant with an inedible hull surrounding it. During the primary processing, this outer layer (hull) is removed by threshing or winnowing. In the case of rice, threshing can result in cracks and attacks by insects. However, the use of machines for peeling off the hull can greatly result in reduced loss of food grains.
After harvesting and before reaching the warehouses, transportation conditions are needed to be checked. Extra care is required while transporting mature harvest for storage or threshing. Hence, proper moisture management and storage conditions need to be adopted to prevent loss during transportation.
The post-harvest system of Kharif crops should be in favor of all the people involved from the farmers to the consumers. It should ensure minimum loss and maximum return.
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