Spoilage Rates

India Agriculture Spoilage Data Per 2010 FAO world agriculture statistics, India is the world’s largest producer of many fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, major spices, select fresh meats, select fibrous crops such as jute, several staples such as millets and castor oil seed. India is the second largest producer of wheat and rice, the world’s major food staples. India is also the world’s second or third largest producer of several dry fruits, agriculture-based textile raw materials, roots and tuber crops, pulses, farmed fish, eggs, coconut, sugarcane and numerous vegetables.

India ranked within the world’s five largest producers of over 80% of agricultural produce items, including many cash crops such as coffeeand cotton, in 2010. India is also one of the world’s five largest producers of livestock and poultry meat, with one of the fastest growth rates, as of 2011. India exported about 2 billion kilograms each of wheat and rice in 2011 to Africa, Nepal, Bangladesh and other regions of the world. Aquaculture and catch fishery is amongst the fastest growing industries in India.

Between 1990 and 2010, Indian fish capture harvest doubled, while aquaculture harvest tripled. In 2008, India was the world’s sixth largest producer of marine and freshwater capture fisheries, and the second largest aquaculture farmed fish producer. India exported 600,000 metric tonnes of fish products to nearly half of all the world’s countries. Lack of cold storage and harvest spoilage causing over 30% of farmer’s produce going to waste, India lacks cold storage, food packaging as well as safe and efficient rural transport system.

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Even in food grains the loss is reckoned at 5-10% on account of insect infestation and inadequate storage. Types of Food Spoilage Food spoilage and contamination are defined as those adverse changes in quality caused by the action of specific conditions or agents that induce physical and chemical changes and also includes micro-organisms, insect, bird and rodent pests. Mechanical damage is also instrumental in spoilage. Bruises and wounds are such defects, which frequently cause chemical and microbial spoilage.

The primary causes of food spoilage include the following: • Biological – these include micro-organisms like bacteria, yeasts and molds, and other agents like insects, rodents and birds • Chemical – these include enzymatic or non-enzymatic reactions • Physical – these include breakage, bruises, crushing and cut or otherwise dismembered surfaces Figure 2 depicts the “Food Pipeline” and summarises the physical and biological ways of occurrence of food loss. Meat and Poultry Processing The production of meat is steadily increasing with an annual production of 4. million tonnes, which is contributed mainly by pigs followed by sheep, goat, buffalo and poultry meat. Meat producing industry in India is largely confined to the unorganised sector and there is very limited upgradation of technology. The constraints are absence of farms for rearing meat producing animals and absence of cold-chain facilities. The market for scientifically and hygienically produced meat products is expected to grow rapidly due to constantly developing urbanisation. As a result of changing lifestyles, the21 demand for ready–to–cook food is growing rapidly.

Overall very little of meat production is scientifically produced, processed and packaged as branded products. Most meat consumed in India is in fresh form. Less than 1% of meat is processed into value-added products like sausages, ham, bacon, luncheon meat, kababs meat balls etc. Figure 6 gives the production of meat and meat products. Lack of cold chain demand makes the cold chain infra costly (more demand – more competition – lesser price), the additional cost (in comparison with non cool chain products) eventually gets loaded on the products serviced through high cost cold chain.

Now, if supposedly some inferior product is available at a lesser price, very few in India shall buy a superior product serviced through cold chain, particularly when product in question is considered “fresh” only when it comes outside the controlled atmosphere (read cold store). Remember – fresh peas here sells @ Rs 150 a kg during off seasons against frozen at Rs 50 Kg. You need to have customers. Therefore, I am of the view that future demand for cold chain in India shall be driven not by fresh foods but by foods and pharmaceutical categories which compulsorily requires cold chain.

Ready to eat frozen products, frozen vegetables, imported fruit etc comes to mind here. If these categories grow in India – infra to handle this shall automatically grow. Increased growth of cold chain shall drive down the cold chain price for more adopters to follow, reducing the cost. I can foresee a strong correlation between cold chain growth with growth of microwave ovens. At the end of the day it is all about markets. It is not only the demand of right products that hinders the growth of cold store industry in India, services too share equal blame

Few years back we built a world class cold storage infra for potatoes and apples at the only clock auction market for fruit and vegetables in India. This cold stores had all the modern bells and whistles like pallets, forklift, screw compressors et al. Know what happened. Third party apple storage for trading at this store turned out to be a non-starter as apple trading in India is based on samples for small lots which could not be drawn out for inspection by traders as quickly as they are drawn out in an ambient environment or a traditional cold store.

Moral of the story. Trade’s service demand dictate the cold storage needs. FTA agreements July 23, 2012 – The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today met with representatives of the Canada-India Business Council in Montreal, where he highlighted the launch of a fifth round of negotiations toward a Canada-India trade agreement.

A Canada-India joint study concluded that a trade agreement between the two countries could boost Canada’s economy by at least $6 billion. Reference: http://www. thestar. com/news/world/article/1176287–india-s-wheat-left-to-rot-due-to-lack-of-storage http://anilchopra. com/blog/personal/why-cold-storage-industry-is-not-growing-in-india/ http://smallb. in/sites/default/files/knowledge_base/best_practices/RoleofplasticsinconservationofFoodResources. pdf

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