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