Neglected Agriculture Sector: The Curse of Wastage
Posted in Operations & IT Articles, Total Reads: 3738
, Published on 11 June 2011
Liberalization and modernization has led to a rapid development and progress in the manufacturing and services sectors but still the agricultural sector is neglected and not effectively covered by them. Until and unless revolutionary and drastic changes are brought about, the full objectives of such a reform cannot be achieved. Whatever measures are taken to improve this sector, productivity improvement should be given top-most priority to achieve the desired results and for all-round economic growth. Unless revolutionary changes in technology of production and of marketing in agriculture are brought around, the reform process will not be complete.
Over 70% of our population lives in rural areas and agriculture is the main provider of employment for them. But, firstly Industrialsation lures them away from their fields and they run towards industrial townships to earn a living and join the unorganized sector. Moreover, fragmentation of land-holdings occurs in successive bequeathals and large farms are fragmented into smaller holdings when passed down to the new generation. This further reduces the level of productivity. Even though India ranks first in production of pulses, groundnut, tea, jute and second in rice and sugarcane, it is far below many other countries in the ranking on productivity. Besides increasing the productivity, we should learn how to handle what we produce more efficiently and also avoid colossal waste that is taking place by providing better storage and other facilities. According to a report, wastage in storage, transportation etc of food-grains is upto 15 million tons per year. Other reasons for wastage and damage to food-grains are pests, fungus, rodents, pilferage etc which can be controlled with a little more effort.
Alongwith food-grains, with improvement in seed quality and fertilizers, fruits and vegetables production is stepped-up considerably by Indian farmers in recent years and are exported to Middle-East, Western Europe etc. But lack of the required infrastructure for proper storage, handling and processing of fruits and vegetables again leads to wastage. In India, Only 2% of our fruits and vegetables production is processed whereas countries like Malaysia process 23% and Thailand 20% of their production annually. Therefore it is very important not only to increase production and but also reduce waste.
Continued success of India in the industries and service sector has been achieved due to the competition being heated-up. Similar success is yet to be achieved in the agricultural sector, which also has a major ‘foreign-exchange’ earning potential. Contrary to public perception and belief, the rules and regulations of W.T.O regarding exports of agricultural products, are quite favorable to countries like India and this opportunity should be explored to the fullest.
Whatever is the method of production or productivity, marketing or processing, it is utmost important to avoid wastage, pilferage or any such losses in agriculture, this is, by far, the most crucial sector of economic progress and social well-being of our nation.
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