As one of the central industries of the country, the agriculture sector remains a critical organ of the
economy, contributing about 18% to India’s GDP. At a time when the sector is undergoing structural
changes, Agri-logistics will play a key role in elevating the sector to greater heights and solving
the fundamental issues that it now faces in the face of the pandemic. Taranjeet Singh Bhamra, Founder
and CEO, Agnext casts light on the food supply chain in light of the pandemic, future trends in the
agri-logistics space, impact of the farm laws and how Agnext utilises technology to solve food quality
issues and much more. Excerpts follow:
- What are the immediate steps that should be taken to prevent any disruption in the food supply chain in light of the second- wave of the pandemic?
To avoid future disruptions in the supply chain digitising the processes by adopting new-age technologies has become imperative. Technology intervention has become the key determinant in ensuring sustainability in the supply chain no matter what the situation. Given the present scenario where we are in the second wave of COVID-19 it’s high time that all the food trade happens with transparency, speed & trust which is possible by automating the processes using newage technologies. This is the right time for the agri-sector to adopt and implement these tech-enabled solutions for smoother transactions.
2. What are the techniques that you recommend for curbing food wastage while infusing automation into the process?
In India, nearly 40% of the food produced is wasted every year due to fragmented food systems and inefficient supply chains — a figure estimated by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). Here, the production is less of a problem than wastage because of the poor quality assessment and post-harvest management of the agricultural produce.
This has been a problem for decades, and is worsening with time. It was only when the COVID-19 pandemic came along in 2020 that it started to be taken up as a serious issue. To surpass this ever-existing problem, infusing rapid food assessment technology into the food value chain at procurement, trade, production and consumption level will help the stakeholders monitor food quality, hence chances of food getting wasted will be minimised. Also, during storage, proper monitoring of ambient conditions is crucial to avoid losses and enhance food shelf life. There is a need for smart sensors that can provide alerts on temperature, humidity or any other parameter that would lead to deterioration of food quality.
We at AgNext are bridging agricultural sustainability and food safety issues by innovating technologies for agriculture value chains and digitising the food quality. Our AI-enabled solution Qualix can help assess food quality at each transactional point in an easy and cost-effective manner. It is high time the element of quality and traceability are embedded firmly into the food chain management system. Given the present times, it should be practised in a rigorous manner and established as an integral part of the food system.
3. In your opinion, how will the New Agri Farm laws impact the agri logistics and supply chain segment as a whole?
The 3 farm bills brought in 2020 will completely transform the Indian agriculture by creating a competitive market environment.
- The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, has paved the way for the investments towards infrastructure building in the agricultural storage segment.
- The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 will boost the private investments in the contract farming sector which reduces farmer expenditure such as APMC taxes & transportation and nullifies the market risk to the farmers.
- The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, ends the monopoly of APMCs by creating more channels for the farmers to sell their produce even outside the APMC market.