December 19, 2011 admin

India loses Rs 90 thousand crore in post harvest: Dr Sehgal Two day national seminar on post harvest begins at CIPHET

Ludhiana, December 19:“Post harvest losses are estimated to be around 30 percent in India. If we reduce even one percent loss that would save Rs 900 crore,” the statement was made by Dr V.K Sehgal, Head Department of Mechanical Engineering at Punjab Agricultural University, who was also the chief guest, here at the inaugural of two-day NHB and NABARD sponsored National Seminar on ‘Post Harvest Packaging, Cold-Chain Logistics and Instrumentation Techniques’. More than 30 scientists and researchers from across country are taking part in the seminar.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Sehgal said that desired progress could not be made in reduction of post harvest losses in fruits and vegetables. “Every year we face losses of around Rs 90 thousand crore in post harvest due to poor handling, processing, packaging and storage etc,” he said, adding that technology has moved very fast in others sectors including telecommunication. He urged the need to invest in better transportation and processing to reduce the post harvest losses. 
Saying that network of facilities are required to be created to address this problem, Director
CIPHET Dr R.K Gupta said that spoilage of food need to be checked at various stages in the food chain. He also informed that CIPHET would be taking over mega project on health foods and soon a state of art food testing laboratory would be established in the institute.
Dr P.K Srivastava, Dean College of Agriculture Engineering and Post Harvest Technology, Gangtok, Sikkim, said that as per his estimate post harvest losses in north east states would be as high as 50 percent. “The transportation is time consuming in these states and this amounts to huge wastage,” he said, suggesting to find locally suitable solutions for every region.
Emphasizing that weakest link in post harvest losses is missing cold chain logistics infrastructure, Dr S.K Nanda, Project Coordinator (PHT), said that ministry of food processing was now taking number of measures for supporting infrastructural growth. “Government is offering one crore of subsidy for setting up a cold store,” he added.
Dr Deepak Raj Raj, Head Transfer of Technology Division at CIPHET and also convener of the Seminar, attributed faulty handling of storage for major losses. Stressing that technologies are available, he said that these need to be tailored according to local conditions. Dr T.K Goswami, Professor at IIT Kharagpur, lamented that post harvest losses were almost at same level that they used to be decades back.
Manager NABARD C.R Abhavarjan elaborated on various funding schemes including National Project on Organic farming and Rural Innovation Fund under NABARD schemes
Dr Sangeeta Chopra, Senior Scientist at CIPHET, coordinated the deliberations. Senior members of faculty and institute staff was also present on the occasion. The two day seminar would focus on post harvest handling and pre-packaging technologies, design, optimization and application of packaging and instrumentation techniques and distribution, storage, transportation quality assurance and shelf life enhancement of food.

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