Why Processed Food Production Important for Indian Farmers
India has been recognized as the largest manufacturer in the world for several agricultural commodities including wheat, rice, pulses, mango, banana, potato, cashew nut, sugarcane, tea, and onion. Due to this highest production, India exports agricultural merchandise to the whole world. No wonder, that India is a leading exporter in terms of Agri produce.
But the problem is that India only prioritizes exporting raw materials. Very little attention has given to the value addition and the food processing sector.
Now it’s time for India to move forward in the supply chain. The demand for processed/value added food has increased with the busy lifestyles of people. So in India, there is a high opportunity for farmers to get a higher income by adapting to the processed food industry.
Higher Postharvest Loss in India
One of the biggest problems in India is found to be the postharvest loss of agricultural commodities. The monitory value of the postharvest loss is approximately about 40% of total production in India while 31.6% (Source: www.thehindu.com)of India’s population suffers from moderate or severe food insecurity. The highest postharvest loss (18%) is reported for fruits and vegetables.
Why this much loss is happen every day? There are so many reasons for this. Lack of practicing food processing and value addition technologies is one such critical reason for postharvest losses. So it is better to introduce food processing and value addition techniques to farmers via responsible government organizations.
Food processing and value addition
This will help farmers to increase the value of their products and get more money for the same product. For example, instead of selling raw mangoes as it is, we can make juice, slice and add some chili powder, and make some chutney. Sometimes you may get more than double the raw price for your value-added product. Also from one raw produce, you can come up with highly diversified value-added processed food types.
Also, the processed food industry reduces postharvest losses while increasing the postharvest life of agricultural produce. In the food processing industry, sometimes we use food preservation techniques such as salting, concentrating, adding sugar, etc. These methods help to increase the shelf life of agriculture commodities.
Since we can preserve our foods by processed food production, we able to sell them during off-seasons. So the price will be much higher than usual. Furthermore, during food processing and value adding, we can use different flavors, different colors, and different fragrances. So the demand from children can be increased.
If we can export different value added processed foods from one raw ingredient, we will able to boost our export earnings, and our export income will be diversified into many fields.