India is one of the largest agricultural producers in the world. It produces rice, wheat, cotton, sugarcane, groundnut, spices, fruits and vegetables in huge quantities. However, it lacks sufficient post-harvest management facilities that are essential for Indian agriculture. After production, agricultural produce undergoes various post-harvest processes before reaching the consumers. Every stage in the post-harvest process results in some losses which ultimately impact the value of distribution. Therefore, proper post-harvest facilities are need of the hour.
Importance of post-harvest management
According to CIPHET’s 2018-19 annual report, post-harvest losses are one of the biggest challenges for India. It shows a 6% loss in cereals, 8% in pulses, 10% in oilseeds and 15% in fruits and vegetables. The shocking part is that the annual value of total losses is nearly ₹ 1 lakh crore. Although these losses can be lessened by adopting appropriate post-harvest management practices.
Steps involved in post-harvest management
- Cleaning and sorting
- Washing and drying
- Marketing and distribution
Post-harvest practices like sorting and grading, packaging, storage and transportation, etc. are vital to keep the quality of agricultural produce intact. It helps in maintaining the appearance, quality, texture and flavour of the product. Apart from that, post-harvest management processes keeps the food safe and extends the shelf life which is the most important aspect of any produce after the harvest.
Role of technology in post-harvest management
Technology plays a vital role in the reduction of post-harvest losses. It comprises a better infrastructure and machinery for handling, packaging, storage and transportation etc. There are many things like thermal processing, preservation techniques, drying processes and chemical and biological reactions that enhance the storability of produce. Adapting such techniques could avoid post-harvest losses along with providing better quality food to consumers. It also ensures better returns to the farmers. According to some reports post-harvest technology could create rural industries as well.
Since it is clear that technology can help India to reduce post-harvest losses, it’s important to acknowledge its potential. One can use technology in other domains too. For instance, commission agents (aadathiyas) involved in mandi business can use ChargeERP – a revolutionary mandi accounting software that saves 90% of their time. This advanced cloud-based online accounting software makes mandi accounting super easy.
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