September, 06, 2018

Reducing Post-Harvest Loss In Indian Agriculture


For our maiden ‘On The Spot’ blog article, we spoke to Somatish Banerji, a Manager at Intellecap and part of the Agriculture practice for the Advisory team.

The ‘Reducing post-harvest losses in India’ was an extremely significant engagement with the RF in terms of influencing Intellecap’s agri-ecosystem related thinking.

Q1) Tell us a bit about the last project (PHL for RF) you worked on in Intellecap?

We worked with the Rockefeller Foundation on a research engagement to support the Foundation in deepening its understanding of opportunities for addressing post-harvest loss (PHL) in the Indian agricultural sector. The study aimed at assessing existing agriculture sector priorities, the strategic relevance of post-harvest loss, and potential approaches for addressing the problem. The research culminated in the form of a set of reports decoding various dimensions of the PHL landscape and articulating insights around existing best practices and whitespaces in the post-harvest value chain, and potential intervention opportunities for PHL reduction.

Q2) What was the most critical statistic that you came across, related to the project ?

According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce of India, India loses approximately INR 926 bn (US$ 14.33 bn) on account of Post-Harvest Loss. Crop worth approximately US$ 19.4 mn is wasted on a daily basis in India due to rejection at the farm gate and delays in the distribution process.

Q3) What was your most challenging moment/time during the project?

More than any particular moment, the entire process of trying to connect the dots to paint a holistic yet nuanced picture of the PHL landscape in India was intriguing. The landscape analysis called for triangulation and reconciliation of a lot of information and different perspectives coming in from the combination of in-depth secondary research and a series of interviews with key agricultural sector stakeholders across the public, private and NGO sectors.

Q4) What is your biggest takeaway from this project?

Dynamism in the post-harvest space is expected to drive efficiencies across key value chains, leading to PHL reduction and improvements in smallholder farmer livelihoods. However, there is variance in the level of momentum observed in each phase of the post-harvest value chain. While significant policy momentum is observed in the storage and processing phases, private sector innovation is concentrated in the harvesting, primary processing and market linkage phases. Given that agriculture is a state subject, state-level commitment is needed to successfully implement Central policies and regulations.

Q5) What are you most excited or optimistic about ?

Working in development sector consulting and particularly at Intellecap, has been an exhilarating experience which has helped me become innately passionate about contributing towards ushering in sustainable socio-economic transformation at the grassroots.

I am excited about continuing to work on fascinating international research and consulting assignments around inclusive business strategies and market based approaches in agriculture and other sectors.

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