India is the second largest food producer in the world. However, India losses about 35% of that production due to a lack of knowledge and technology in Agriculture. Both are readily available in the Europe, so what are we waiting for?
Huge Mountain Of Food produced in Agriculture
While the Indian IT industry ranks with the rest of the world, Indian Agriculture is still miles behind modern production standards. Despite the lack of knowledge and technology, India traditionally produces a huge mountain of food. Only China produces more. Approximately 60% of Indians, more than 700 million people, work in Agriculture. Most of them are farmers with a small plot of land – there is hardly any large-scale Agriculture.
More Than Rice
The main Agricultural products in India are rice, cotton, ginger, cardamom and wheat. Thanks to the enormous variety of climate zones – subtropical, tropical, temperate, dry – there are ample opportunities to grow all kinds of fruits and vegetables, both for the Indian market and for export. In West India, for example, cultivation of grapes is done on a large scale in supermarkets in the Netherlands. In the Himalayas, apple is grown mainly for the internal market. Also, India offers cultivation areas with good soil quality and sufficient access to water.
The Deccan plateau – the large region connecting Pune, Nashik, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Coimbatore and Kholapur – offers a large Agricultural area with a temperate climate. The Deccan plateau has a fairly consistent climate with moderate temperatures. The minimum night-time temperature is 16°C in winter and the normal maximum temperature is 30°C, with the exception of April and May when night-time temperatures are minimum 22-23°C and maximum 35-38°C. The climate in the north of the country, in the foothills of the Himalayas, has a somewhat seasonal character. Here there are several microclimates.
The north of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Upper Pradesh, Orissa and Bihar, all low countries are very hot from March to September with monsoon from mid-June to late August. Rajasthan is mainly desert climate with high temperatures from March to October; the north has relatively cold winters (above 0°C). Punjab has hot summers and cold winters. Potato cultivation (Indians are not only rice eaters, but also very fervent potato eaters) takes place here from November to May. Kodaikanal and Ooty (Tamil Nadu) provide a favorable climate for coffee, tea, vegetable and flower growers. Kerala in the east has the mountain range Western Ghats, which connects to the mountain range Kodaikanal, with Munnar as its center. This area is known for tea cultivation.
Himachal Pradesh in the north of the country offers a similar climate. Farmers in this region want to make the most of the climatic and soil conditions and grow all kinds of “Western” vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, lettuce, colorul peppers, celery, Brussels sprouts, European carrot, parsley, leek and mangetout. A significant area in the state already grows vegetables of European origin. However, the location of northern states are in hilly areas, making logistics often challenging. Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh consist mainly of tropical dry areas, some 300 meters above sea level. From June to September there is plenty of cultivation here, after that the rain is often too capricious. The main production is rice, bananas, coconut, ginger and cardamom. Kerala also has a large humid coastal area where sufficient water is available.
Cultivation in India is often still very traditional. There are hardly any glasshouses made of glass: glasshouse foil is usually useful for protecting crops. Nevertheless, India has made progress with regard to cultivation aspects in Agriculture and the use of foil, shade and net greenhouses. The supply industry now has equipment and facilities (greenhouses and other cultivation requirements) that are made in India. However, income from production is modest and growers do not make large investments in crop production. Nevertheless, interest is growing in technology such as fertigation (fertilization and irrigation), automation, substrate growth, semi-automatic climate control, modern cultivation techniques, data registration, etc.
According to researchers at Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, India throws away billions of euros worth of fresh fruit and vegetables every year – about 35% to 40% of total fruit and vegetable production. Although India is one of the largest producers of fruits and vegetables, it is yet to explore its exports potential. Agtech aims at rationalizing supply chains and improving Agricultural efficiency in India. It has an approximate potential of 170 billion US dollars.
Thanks to the growing attention for a healthy lifestyle, the demand for high quality products is increasing in India. The demand for organic products is also growing strongly. According to a report by Assocham and EY, India’s organic food sector is growing by 25 percent per year to a market size of over 1.2 billion euros by 2020. Officially, India has the highest number of farmers active in organic farming (835 thousand), but the country accounts for less than 1 percent of global organic production (worth approximately 80 billion euros). In terms of total area under organic farming, India ranks 9th with 1.49 million hectares. However, regulation is not good in India’s organic sector and it is also non-transparent.
Online Food Retail
The demand for high quality and organic products is driven by the young population, their growing disposable income and the trend of eating out. The restaurant industry is booming and the interest in foreign cuisines and products is enormous. In addition, online food retail is developing tremendously in India, partly due to new legislation for foreign parties. Earlier this year Amazon.com got the permission from the Indian government to offer local products and packaged foods through online and offline platforms. Amazon is competing with leading Indian supermarkets such as Lulu and Godrej Nature’s Bass chain online food retailers such as Grofers, Big Basket and Supr Daily.