Simon George President Cargill India

"In a country where agriculture supports majority of our population, we need to pull the right levers to reduce possible impact on the economy.  What we definitely don’t want to have is a food crisis on top of a health crisis and an economic crisis."

Covid-19 is a multi-faceted global crisis. From the food industry perspective, we need to examine its implications along two dimensions: demand and supply. While rebuilding consumer confidence and shaping demand is a long-term task for food industry, we need to ensure a robust supply response is in place. In a country where agriculture supports majority of our population, food industry need to pull the right levers to reduce possible impact on the economy. What we definitely don’t want to have is a food crisis on top of a health crisis and an economic crisis, said Simon George President, Cargill India.

“We must cooperate globally to ensure food moves from where it is grown to where it is needed. It is important to ensure open borders as it relates to food and agricultural products. This means refraining from export: import restrictions, and where possible, reducing tariffs to control cost escalation of essential products that can inhibit trade and negatively affect both the farmer and the consumer. Trade restrictions can disrupt global food supply chains” Simon said. “Countries promoting self-sufficiency to ensure food security for their citizens, may result in some disruption if we restrict free flow of trade for a sustained period. Edible oil which is a major import item for India has not been interrupted so far, but within the country, we have witnessed stark contrasts in food demand and supply. Images of farmers overloaded with stock, leading to food waste due to their inability to get the produce to the agri-markets (mandis) or get the right price and on the other hand customers lining up at supermarkets to stock food items being met with empty shelves have been observed.”

With these new ways of operating coming into play, it is the right time for agri reforms. The government has recently announced reforms in the agriculture sector including the amendment of Essential Commodities Act (1955) - no stock limit shall apply for storage unless under exigencies; formulation of central law to provide farmers choice to sell at attractive prices beyond “mandis”; barrier-free interstate trade; Agriculture produce price and quantity assurance; legal framework will be created to enable farmers for engaging with processors, aggregators, large retailers and exporters in a fair and transparent manner. Risk mitigation for farmers, assured returns and quality standardisation shall form an integral part of this framework. These measures will surely help improve agriculture competitiveness and result in better remuneration to farmers in India.

With the Rs 10,000 crore scheme for the formalization of Micro Food Enterprises (MFE) under ‘Vocal for Local with Global outreach’ vision, 2 lakh MFEs, Farmer Producer Organisations, Self Help Groups and Cooperatives would be supported in technical upgradation to attain food standards, build brands and marketing.

The agri-infra fund is also a good development considering the huge amount of post-harvest losses that occur. The success, however, depends on good execution of the intent. This will assure regular and quality supply of the raw materials to the agro-processing industry, resulting in better realization for the farmers as well as offering wide-ranging food products to the consumers

With Covid related restrictions, export documentation has recently moved to the digital platform from hard copy. To ease flow of commodities across borders of import-export destinations, digital documentation including – Preferential Certificates should be widely accepted. All major export destinations including ASEAN countries should be intimated by Indian government that they are only issuing digital certificates and importing
countries should not stop consignments for lack of hard copy certificates.

Another key aspect is to recognize and issue common Sanitary/Phytosanitary (SPS) standards and certificates in order to facilitate smooth export of food and feed products. Consistency in ‘critical and essential’ definition across district, state and country borders is key to avoid different interpretations. This will ensure that all critical points of the supply chain are functioning in conjunction, to continue feeding the world.

Indian government has been aware and quite receptive to understanding on-ground challenges and making necessary amendments in rules to support the production and distribution of essential food items. However, labour shortage continues to be a major concern with massive reverse migration of workers from cities to villages. Industry is providing safe accommodation to workers at plant sites where possible, but this has been tough due to the sheer lack of availability as well as the associated stigma. This has had an impact on the marketing of Rabi (winter) crop and may even spill over to the planting season of the Kharif (summer) crop. Farmers will face challenges due to this, throwing them out of gear. There will be increased labour demand from manufacturing locations across the country with increasing production requirements. This needs urgent attention and the government needs to build confidence and allay any fears with the labour, for them to return to their place of work.

This pandemic has put global food supply chains under an endurance test, and it is far from over. As we move into restart mode with the reopening of the economy, we need to prepare ahead. Prepare to bring our people back to work safely, stabilize the food supply chain, meet business demands, build new operating models, grow consumer confidence and create new distribution methodologies. If we can drive such an integrated response, we will eventually emerge stronger from this.

 

ALSO READ

1.  Smaller brands gain during Covid-19 lockdown

2.  Online grocery market on growth curve

3.  Plant-based proteins to displace conventional products

4.  DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences Launches Bonlacta Dairy Enzyme

5.  Innovative Nutritious Beverages from a Single Process Line

 

Managing IPR

Managing Intellectual Property

Managing Intellectual Property

“Managing Intellectual Property” is a series of articles on intellectual property rights in the trade related matters. The series covers various dimensions of IPR, pertainign to the food processing industry, in the form of simplified legal text with suitable cases studies. We hope the series will benefit the food processors, policy makers, executives, managers, researchers, traders and other stakeholders in the processed food industry.Read More

Current Topics

Current Topics

‘Current topics’ provides the rapid advances in the food processing sector that have taken place in the recent past. The series is being contributed by Dr. V.H Potty – our editorial consultant and Deputy Director (Rtd), CFTRI. He is the doyen of food processing industry in India. We feel that an intensive review of the major issues concerning food processing industry would be of great value to our readers.

Read More

Recent Development

Recent Development

New developments in the sphere of processed food industry take place every now and then, which results in the overall development of the entire food sector. Dr. Rajat K. Baisya — our editorial consultant, and professor of marketing and strategic management at department of management studies, IIT Delhi — keeps a keen eye on these developments in food processing sector as and when they happen. The series has recently passed its 200 mark in its print version.
Read More

Cold Chain

Cold Chain Management

Keeping in view the importance of freezing and cold chain in food business 'Processed Food Industry' has decided to introduce a new series of article ‘A to Z of Frozen Food Operation’. The series is contributed by O S Gautam — a known food consultant and Director, Delicacy International — is being presented here. We hope our readers will be benefited by his experience and give us their feedback.
Read More

Supply Chain

Supply Chain

“Managing Supply Chain & Marketing of Food Products” The purpose of initiating this series of articles is to discus some important dimensions of food processing industry, which can be of some help for decision makers at various levels in food business. This series looks into macro-economic policy parameters, which affect food consumption and retailing patterns and consumer behaviours. We will also evaluate various micro-level developments in processed-food-industry world and their impact on food business, food retailing and consumer behaviour.
Read More

Events

 
 
anutec-india-2020
Copyright © 2019 All Rights Reserved | Designed & Developed by Netnovaz Web Solutions