Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech spoke about giving a boost to farmers’ welfare via Krishi UDAN and Kisan Rail schemes
The government is aiming to double the income of farmers by 2022 and these schemes are part of the same initiative.
India’s food storage and transport problem
India is the second largest producer of vegetables and fruit but
25 per cent to 30 per cent of it is wasted due to
inadequate logistical support,
lack of refrigerated storage,
supply chain bottlenecks,
poor transport and
underdeveloped marketing channels.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) puts this figure at around 40 percent.
The monetary worth would be around $8.3 billion.
India is estimated to use more than 230 cubic kilometre of fresh water annually (enough to provide drinking water to
100 million people a year) for producing food items that are ultimately wasted.
Govt data on wastage List of agricultural products and their cumulative loss (%)
Cereals: 4.65 to 5.99
Pulses: 6.36 to 8.41
Oil seeds: 3.08 to 9.96
Fruits & Vegetables: 4.58 to 15.88
Poultry meat: 6.74
• Much of such perishable produce is sent via trucks, which are not equipped with any sort of a temperature control.
• Thus by the time it reaches its destination, the produce dries up and farmers do not get good value for their produce.
Indian Railways will set up Kisan Rail to ensure that perishable goods are transported quickly. Under this service, refrigerated coaches will be added in
Express and Freight trains for the transportation of perishable goods from the producer to the market. The scheme will be started through Public Private Partnership (PPP).
• The Kisan rail Yojna can reduce food wastage
• It will build a seamless national supply chain for perishable goods like milk, meat, fish, vegetables and fruits.
• The Kisan Rail will bring down the handling of the produce from seven times (in cargo flight) to four times (in rail).
• This will also bring the cost of reaching the market for producers.
As per agriculture ministry data.
- West Bengal was the leading producer of vegetables 2018-19
- So one of the key beneficiaries of this scheme is expected to be the vegetable and horticulture sector of Bengal.
- Right now, 18%-25% of the vegetables, fruits and flowers is wasted during transportation in W.B.
- Andhra Pradesh was the leading fruits producer (horticulture) Banana, mango and sweet lime, tomato are exported from Andhra to other parts of the county
Already in the works
• Railways procured new design of Refrigerated Parcel Van with
carrying capacity of 17 tonnes for transportation of highly perishable goods.
• The procurement was done through Rail Coach Factory Kapurthala.
• At present, Indian Railways has nine Refrigerated Parcel Vans available.
• These Refrigerated Parcel Vans are booked on a round-trip basis
and are charged at 1.5 times the freight of normal parcel vans as per the category of the train.
• Railways also has to its disposal 98 ventilated and insulated containers (Reefer) with a carrying capacity of 12 tonne each which were procured via CONCOR.
• Work is also ongoing on for temperature-controlled perishable cargo centres at Ghazipur Ghat, Raja ka Talab in Uttar Pradesh and New Azadpur in Delhi as part of a CSR initiative by CONCOR.
Krishi UDAN will be launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation for international and national routes.
The Krishi Udaan scheme will give farmers better access to both domestic and international markets and may turn out to be especially beneficial for farmers belonging to northeast and tribal areas.
• This scheme aims to effectively connect them to domestic and global markets, thus helping them realise the true value of the produce.
• It will also help boost their income and increase their competitiveness in the market.
There is not much issue for Railways in running the refrigerated vans.
But they need cold storage warehouses at both the source and destination stations for effective delivery. Similar case for air transport.