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