IEP Chandigarh, September 29
An MoU has been signed between the Haryana Government and the University of Birmingham for the establishment of the Centre of Excellence for Crop Post-Harvest Management and Sustainable Cold Chain in the state.
In the presence of the Haryana Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister, Sh. J.P. Dalal, Additional Chief Secretary, Dr. Sumita Misra, signed an MoU at Birmingham (UK) today.
The present state government is implementing many schemes to make the farmers of the State happy and economically well. Under the able leadership of Chief Minister, Sh. Manohar Lal, the state government is continuously running several welfare schemes in the interest of farmers. Starting a new initiative, Haryana has also launched Mukhyamantri Bagwani Bima Yojana for horticulture farmers. Besides this, the state government is also continuously encouraging farmers to adopt crop diversification to promote horticulture crops.
The Agriculture Minister, Dr. Sumita Misra and Director General, Horticulture, Dr. Arjun Singh Saini are in Birmingham to attend the Cold Chain Summit at this University on September 29 and 30. They will also visit various institutes which are involved in the establishment of this Centre of Excellence.
Sh. J.P. Dalal said that this Centre of Excellence will be a milestone for the reduction in post-harvest losses, updating the knowledge of stakeholders including farmers, use of eco-friendly and farmer-friendly technologies in supply chain and Research and Development as well, resultantly there will be a big boost for diversification towards horticulture in the State.
Sh. J.P. Dalal addressed the participants in the Cold Chain Summit and stated that Horticulture in Haryana at present has around 7 percent of the total gross cropped area in the State.
To encourage diversification into horticulture and increase the income of the farmers, several new programmes and initiatives have been taken up by the Haryana Government. He emphasized reducing the post-harvest losses which are around 7 to 18 percent, he said.
He informed that 393 horticulture clusters have been formed, 13 integrated pack houses have been established, 50 another are under establishment and in the next five years 500 more integrated pack houses shall be established.
He said that Haryana will be the most advanced state in the organized supply chain of fresh fruits and vegetables and linking farmers directly with the market and so far 59 MoU with the agri-sector companies have been executed by the FPOs.
Sh. J.P. Dalal said that the cold chain itself is an energy-intensive application, often relying on diesel for off-grid and on-vehicle cooling. Therefore, future development must harness the portfolio of renewable energy resources, new thermally focused energy systems, and innovative thermal management. It is needed to establish integrated pack houses, and create pre-shipment treatment facilities such as irradiation, Vapour Heat Treatment (VHT), and Hot Water Dip Treatment (HWDT) to strengthen the supply chain.
Further, Sh. J.P. Dalal focused on capacity building and awareness of different stakeholders including policymakers, senior executives, consumers and staff involved in the cold chain.
Dr. Sumita Misra stated that support to the small and marginal farmers is essential for reduced wastage at the farm gate level, Improving the Financial capacity of small and marginal farmers on access to finance for purchasing equipment and supporting post-harvest product storage though the creation of on-farm integrated pack houses.
She focused on developing an ecosystem to promote clean green energy, and cold chain systems to prevent food loss between harvests to retail.