We need to build post-harvest capacity to reduce the losses of our farmers. For that, we need to promote efficient harvesting techniques, storage, and transportation facilities. With enhanced post-harvest capacity, farmers will be better positioned for bargaining a fair price and increase their incomes. This will help intermediaries and other stakeholders as well. For example, we can have a storage marketplace or cold chain marketplace from where farmers as well as millers, traders and retailers can store as well as find agricultural products at a competitive price. This model can work for tomatoes, potatoes, mangoes, rice, etc. If we can link these infrastructures and information with a national data hub or network, the exchange of information or transactions between stakeholders can be done at lightning speed. Decision-making at the policy level will be much easier for ensuring the country’s food security. Both public and private initiatives are required in this regard. Government’s extension service can directly work with farmers. However, farmers alone may not be able to reduce post-harvest loss. Intermediaries and local businesses can provide post-harvest management services to farmers. Government can set up related infrastructures such as storage and cooling facilities and lease them out to the private sector. Alternatively, the government can provide land, policy support, and tax holiday while the private sector can build the facilities under the PPP model. Policy should be amended in a way that stakeholders can store agricultural products to prevent losses at the time of excessive supply in the market. Moreover, we need to extend the research to develop varieties that incur less or no post-harvest loss i.e. by extending shelf-life and natural preservation capacity.
Under SDG 12.3, we need to halve per capita food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses by 2030. With our collective effort in post-harvest capacity building, we can achieve it.
Dr. F H Ansarey
Managing Director & CEO