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Remembering Indira Sivasailam... TELANGANA at last…BUT He saved millions from starvation... Solar thermal shines… Delhi returns to BJP ONGC at KG Basin More Shakti to resource mobilisation... An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... Tax agriculture London, London Narayan Make standards certification mandatory... The nuclear option EVM is tamper-proof A think tank for Chennai Mu Sigma – is no more Come elections, come advertisements... Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan Delhi Chalo... Build close rapport with business leaders Music happens Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Kudos to NDTV... The why of tax incentives F C Kohli - his concerns all embracing Delhi is distant… Gas is the way forward Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet Making ‘my Amaravati’... Editor's Notes A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Modi and the lady More heat than light China invests in India Nuclear power at the nucleus Muffled voices for merit… Why this malaise in medical education? Things happen by accident and not by design... TIAM turns a full cycle Poor quality of university VCs WTO Meet: resolved to meet again West Bengal: mindless malignancy Medical costs hit the roof... No engine for this car For whom the MIDS bell tolls? Secularism and anti-Hinduism Revving up the manufacturing sector Banning booze... Recognition to role of NBFCs.... New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! Paytm karo... The Swadeshi Trump Cutting the nose to spite the face EEC at the National Media Centre Vibrant Gujarat Editor's Says Adharma of opposition politics Shipping woes of Chennai companies When Ratan Tata visited SRM Welcome focus on core competence Should we change the official year? Strengthen the base... A glass full of corruption Silver Years of Madras Musings Kulandai was a giant Which side are you, Montek? Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model An enemy’s enemy is a friend PPP mode for upgrading Corporation Hospitals Where is Rajaji? Auto components surge… Parliament in paralysis... Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL Solar, solar everywhere … Polls and promises A friendly business group When the President was rendered homeless… Intellectual of rare qualities Sweeter prospects for sugar Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School CII projects higher growth… Computation of GDP – conundrums continue …and of a popular trade leader Permanent secretariat for TN GIM IPL - no surprise this scam Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel This scant respect for Law Tribute Mersal magnified S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks Tribute – UCAL Selvan… Increasing non co-operation of state leaders Shaming of Tamils by Tamil farmers at Delhi Streamlining mandatory third party cover Convulsions in The Hindu Tatas moving out of urea production... Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated TN-leverage strength of BHEL, NLC... Welcome changes that testify to Jayalalithaa’s return to health Delhi is distant Noble nonagenarians... Bihar elections - the Rajaji formula worked Robber barons everywhere Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS Dr C Rangarajan returns to Chennai The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu Gay abandon in pricing TN – agglomerate land holdings without alienating ownership Excel Generators provide the vital back-up Towards speedy justice Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. Fuel for thought Wanted: a second airport for Chennai Road development slows down Where a state respects its litterateurs… Quality silica from Neyveli Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... Valli, they are more marginalised Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu TGS- The king storyteller GNS - 100: our first subscriber Readers' Mail Russi Mody – a tribute A rich pool of talent not utilised…. A professional at the helm of IRDA... Not just in-laws (and outlaws); they’ve renowned academics at the helm! Tribute – M V Murugappan Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform Sweet news for TN sugar mills Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... Tough task taking states together Telangana in top gear… Airlines in India: cost and space Discoms deserve better… A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science The balancing act Why land prices zoom in TN? Sri Lanka votes for change to the lack of interest on the part of these to focus on original research. This despite the much lower costs of such research in India. The industry which thrived on the protection of a closed economy and the advantage of a vast domestic market, has failed to organise its evolution on healthy lines IPL type auction for VCs? Multi-faceted Venkat An inexplicable neglect Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara A yen for wastage… PC’s preference for professionals Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V The few handicaps... Haul over the coal Return to king coal for urea... Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? When online building permits work…. Tatas moving out of urea production... Plummeting profits of PSBs Protest masters... Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... The brown list of Venkitaramanan Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria A proud Madrasi S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal Boy, can you beat these? Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt Waning interest in public discussions… Demise of a media baron... Modi storms Silicon Valley Alexa – Talking Wikipedia Five star activism stalls development activity Kinetic Karnataka Small units prefers to remain small... The Jan Dhan bonanza L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… Rahman at CIC The rise and fall of Annamalai University No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu Funding the un-funded IAS invades NDDB... Of course, Gujarat is vibrant Marketing expert Balagopal is no more A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Shale gas and its shallow future Building loyalty through the stomach Wise Presidents He continues the focus on social amelioration All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya Shanti and Sadhana through Music Align crops to agro climate endowments… R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital GM Technology at last! For whom the bell tolls? Breaththrough in malaria control The power-full Hindujas Revive development banks... Contrarian cousins Another Indian music maestro at the UN Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik More tributes to GR Roaring Ro-Ro facility The star of Spencers is no more A more liberated TN… Preserving for the future Fortune 500 review When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's B H Kothari - a tribute The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways When nations steal growth from one another… No Maha Koottani in TN... TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector The rise and rise of KCP Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna How Air-India loses customs... Welcome GST L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles Engineering seats go abegging Don’t seem to feel the pulse… The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ More Shakthi to Das’ elbow Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai Maximising the micro pricing … Lalu’s envy, India’s pride Moily’s bold thrust Quality education through the PPP mode Pharma – overdose of copying Cement prices continue to rise… Land reclamation from sea appears cheaper! Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami Fortune for Indian Airlines Put expensive assets created to use... When small is no larger beautiful.. A welcome initiative by the judiciary CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra SoA @ 80 CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad The sea- saw battle continues... The Gulf aviation boom
 
A yen for wastage…

A decade ago, McKinsey report mentioned that a third of fruits and vegetables produced in India are wasted through lack of attention to handling these. The report stated that this wastage is equivalent to the total consumption of such products in the UK. Involved with the Agriculture Consultancy Ma-

nagement Foundation (ACMF) promoted by IE to improve productivity of agriculture, I have watched with dismay that such wastages continue to abound in the farms; in transporting the produce from farm gates to the wholesaler; from the mandis to the retailer and finally to the consumer. Cold chains, much bandied about, are a far cry in a country where power shortages are rampant, pervasive and frequent. There is also the consequent high tariff for power, which makes cold storages so much more expensive and unaffordable by the average farmer. One solution is the quick adoption of techniques followed in developed countries. China has done this effectively, inviting large multinationals to extend technology for achieving quantum jumps in productivity of crops like potato; more importantly, in establishing a highly sophisticated system of handling the produce.

The liberalisation of retail trade is expected to attend to this. But the familiar paralysis of governance in Delhi has not enthused large retail chains to set up shop in India with any sense of urgency. Several regional leaders including Arvind Kejriwal are against liberalisation of retail trade. Hopefully, a new government at the Centre by mid 2014 would have sufficient power to focus on such vital issues.

Even while I express concern over this issue, I noticed more callous wastage in that haven for efficiency, the USA. I visited an apple orchard near Boston. There are several of these large private orchards spread over vast areas. They raise a large variety of apples. Adopting scientific practices, they produce in profuse quantities. Of course, they suffer from the problem of high cost of labour to manage these. Mechanisation, which is pervasive in most other aspects of US industry and  agriculture, has not been possible for plucking such fruits.

Private orchards resort to making money through tourism offering the opportunity for visitors spend time at the orchards and pluck the fruits.  For an entrance fee of $ 14, the visitor is provided a bag. He/she can pluck and fill these with apples and pears.  Tractor-trailer rides with hay seats take the visitors (for an additional fee) through different parts of the orchards raising several varieties of the fruits. Instructions are also given on the method of plucking the fruits.

All this is exciting. But, sadly, I noticed humongous wastage by amateurish plucking. On a rough estimate, I found more than half the produce was wasted.

There are well-organised orchards in India where attention is paid to reducing such wastage. Reliance Industries offers an excellent example. In Jamnagar, along side its two world-class refineries, the company has set up a sprawling mango orchard. Thousands of mango trees are raised on scientific basis under the direction of expert scientists and managers. The trees are pruned to a height of less than 10 feet in beautiful canopy shape. A lot of research inputs are made to extend the season as also expand variety and improve quality. The normal wastages seen in traditional orchards of tall trees suffering bird and squirrel bites are avoided. In quick time, the company established a flourishing export market for mangoes.

The lesson is clear: as in other aspects of the economy, agriculture needs science, technology and management. That is possible only by agglomeration of thousands of small land holdings. Punjab and Rajasthan have amended land acts permitting lease of land for 15 years and more. It’s time other states follow this.

 

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