Monday, 17 October 2011

Agro processing, the growth engine of agriculture sector



On the other day, when I was buying some fruits from local vendor, I could see few imported fruit products from countries like America, Thailand and Saudi Arabia.
 In the fruit shop, American Apple, packaged Tamarind from Thailand and Date palm from Saudi Arabia were prominently displayed and sold in higher prices compare to local produce.
 Of course, that was not the first time, I saw the imported fruit products from other countries but this time I was co-relating with our local fruits to imported products.
I was thinking especially about Tamarind, the fruit we give little importance has come all the way from Thailand and sold in exorbitant price compare to locally available Tamarind which fetches pittance compare to value added Tamarind from Thailand.
Similarly, Apple and Date palm from America and Saudi Arabia; how they have got to every country and places, helping the producers and marketers in economic returns.
 Whereas, the local fruits how they have long been overlooked over the years. Had they been processed, packaged and marketed, there would have been huge opportunity in terms of economic returns and employment generation.
 The growth of agriculture sector would have been better, if agro processing were prioritized and implemented efficiently.
But, present situation does not look very promising; the local fruits especially Pineapple and Jackfruit have never been fully utilized for harnessing their full potentiality consequentially, these once abundant fruits have started declining in the state.
But, there is still huge market potentiality of local fruits either in processed or fresh form in the local, national and international markets.
One small example would give a clear idea as to how these local fruits commands huge opportunities; in Tripura, a whole Pineapple fruit of queen variety is sold in hardly three to four rupees during season whereas, in Bangaluru(then Bangalore) one piece of Pineapple is sold in two to three rupees.
This price variation reflects the huge opportunity and indicates the chances for further exploring this wide gap of regional price variation.
Similarly, a medium sized Jackfruit is sold locally in ten to fifteen rupees whereas; same sized fruit fetches more than one hundred rupees in neighboring Bangladesh.
 But, these fruit crops have never been harnessed for full potentiality and more importantly, Jackfruit has never been given its due as fruit of importance.
 Although, Jackfruit is considered to be the wholesome fruit having it utility starts from tender stage to ripened stage.
In the season, these fruit crops rots in the orchards, footpath as if, these were produced such a huge or surplus quantities that it finds no buyer; it is a seer inattention that these growth engine faces.
We are pursuing in several fields for future endeavor rather than utilizing the best resources available and harnessing the best opportunities. Of course, this pace of dilly-dallying in agro processing is not the case only to the Tripura alone; it is the overall scenario of India.
In India, agro processing is meager two to three per cent whereas, a small country like Thailand is making huge difference in this sector.
In the World, Thailand, Brazil, Philippines and America commands maximum in terms of agro produce processing.
 In my opinion, agriculture sector supported by strong agro processing units would be the next growth engine in India by creating huge employment opportunity and earning substantial share in the national and international markets.
The next growth momentum is waiting to happen but for this to happen, we have to take pro-active steps and work concertedly for minimizing the wide gap between agriculture produce and agro processing sector.

2 comments:

  1. yes it is true that our country have less processing unit and also we are unawere about the processing unit.thats why we have given less value about our local fruits say for e.g tamarind.when we visit our local market we hardly buy tamarind unless n untill our mother cannot say.Few days back when i visit one local shop i found some packets of tamarind, pulm,berry etc.written in burmese language and i asked the shopkeper what is this ! He said this is acher from burma and offered me one packet of tamarind packet.I tasted it was awesome and I bought two packets each Rs.10/-.We have hardly buy the raw tamarind from the market but when it comes by processed we bought becos it taste goood.So i think that the processing unit is very much important.Our govt. should take postive steps for opening more agro processing unit so that it will benefit to the agri farmers for the good price in the market and also help new comers .thank you.

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  2. Thanks for raising the concern of local food producer of not only Tripura but also any other places around. According to me the key reason why the local producers are bleeding is the ‘Middle Man’ who grips the lion shares of the producer’s honest effort in the field of food production.
    Concern of food processing unit is justified but none of the Government’s processing units or storage units are functioning throughout the year which lead to huge lose for the poor farmers.
    Now the best option is to sell their agri product at the price determine by the ‘Middle Men‘ so to protect their total lose determined by Government’s processing unit or storage unit.

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