Pawar calls for private-public effort to tap horticulture

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New Delhi, May 12 (UNI) Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today called on private sector and government agencies to work together to tap huge potential of horticulture sector beset with massive problem of post-harvest waste.

Inaugurating the Fruit and Vegetable Summit here, he said crop diversification in the last few years has led to fast rise in horticultural production to 185.2 tonnes.

But he said ''the sector is constrained by widespread fragmentation in the supply chain, low productivity levels, and huge post harvest losses arising out of inadequate storage, cold chain and transport infrastructure, logistics and supply chain management.'' These problems, he said, led to very little value addition in the area of exports and food processing. ''In India less than 2 per cent of fruits and vegetables are processed as against 65 per cent in the US, 70 per cent in Brazil, 78 per cent in the Philippines, 80 per cent in South Africa and 83 per cent in Malaysia.'' It is, therefore, essential to develop techniques which reduce post harvest losses, do value addition and improve quality of products to take advantage of rapidly expanding internal and external markets, he added.

He also underlined the need to stimulate private investment, especially in infrastructure, marketing and research and development, with the objective of catering to the needs of processing industry and exports.

Secretary Agriculture and Cooperation, Dr P K Mishra, said agriculture is on the come-back trail in the last 3 years and is poised for the second green revolution. Horticulture sector will contribute significantly in this revolution, he added.

UNI SAA AK CS1752

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