India is an agrarian country and features among the largest agriculture producers in the world. Along with this achievement, it produces a large amount of agricultural waste as well. Disposal of farm waste, crop residues and even food waste has always been a tough issue for us. Although people consider agricultural wastes as a non-product, the reality is that such wastes can be beneficial if processed properly. It can even create a bio-economy. Let’s check out a few measures that can change the current scenario.
Measures that can help:
Various measures can be taken to overcome this challenge. Currently, government agencies like ICAR and others are trying to enable an ecosystem to fight against the problem of food wastage. Below are some examples of such initiatives.
Handmade paper from jute waste
Handmade papers can be made from jute fiber with a blend of other natural fibers. It involves a pulping process with chemicals like caustic soda and lime, etc. Since handmade papers generate minimal pollution, they can help in conserving resources.
Microbial protein from corn cobs
Microbial protein can be made from corn cobs – the central cylindrical part of maize. They are a healthy source of carbohydrates and vitamins when consumed as food or feed. It is important to mention that a large amount of corn cobs are generated from agricultural and industrial activities.
Biochar from agricultural waste material
Biochar can be made from agricultural wastes and weeds using the pyrolysis method. It is a kind of thermochemical treatment of organic products where they are exposed to high temperatures. It involves the incomplete combustion of biological materials in the absence of oxygen. Biochar is helpful in soil fertility and crop yield.
Production of enzymes from groundnut shell
As we are aware that groundnut shell is one of the strongest sources of cellulose which is extremely difficult to decompose. However, with the help of a certain type of fermentation process, it can be utilized as a substrate. Farmers can earn near about ₹ 20,000 from processing 100 kg of groundnut shells.
Pectin from citrus fruit residues
Pectin can be produced from fruit peels and waste generated by the citrus processing industries. It is a natural starch found in fruits and vegetables which is used as an essential ingredient in jams and jellies. It is one of the best ways to utilize agricultural waste. It can be an additional source of income as well.
Bioreactors to recycle food waste
As per a FAO report, around 130 crore tonnes of food products get wasted every year. Waste dumps and burning emits various harmful gases and causes significant air pollution. Using bioreactors with the microbial consortium, food waste recycling could get better. It can be used for making compost from temple waste, kitchen waste and other segregated biowaste from cities.
The Indian government is keen to overcome the problem of agricultural waste in our country. The Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme (CISS) has also been helpful in curbing the problem. Under this scheme, 100% assistance is provided to state governments and agencies to set up fruit and vegetable market waste/agricultural waste compost production units.
It’s worth mentioning that technology can play a vital role in curtailing the problem of agricultural waste. Many start-ups in India are trying to tap this opportunity. Few are working on waste management and some are dedicatedly improving the agriculture supply chain. ChargeERP is one among them that is shaping the lives of commission agents (aadathiyas) who are an integral part of Indian mandis. This advanced cloud-based online accounting software has made mandi accounting effortless.
With ChargeERP, commission agents (aadathiyas) can efficiently manage their day-to-day mandi activities. It has many unique features that not only save their time by 90% but also ensure safe transactions. Using this technology, commission agents can perform many other important tasks like generating bills and reports and making daily sale entries along with collaborating with their team members.