Ms. Brundha A R on “Effect of cold chain management on millets”

Ms. Brundha A R is a Senior Research Fellowship at CSIR-CFTRI in Mysore,Karnataka.

Millets are the backbone for dry-land agriculture. They are hardy, resilient crops that have a low carbon and water footprint, can withstand high temperatures, grow on poor soils with little or no external inputs and thus it termed as the ‘miracle grains’ or ‘crops of the future’. They are often the last crop standing in times of climate change, making them an excellent risk management strategy for resource-poor marginal farmers. It is nutritionally superior to wheat and rice owing to their higher levels of protein with more balanced amino acid profile, crude fiber and minerals such as iron, zinc, and phosphorous. Millets can also provide nutritional security and act as a shield against nutritional deficiency, especially among children and women.

However, value chains remain poorly developed in terms of storage ¬facilities at the farm level, transportation, and food processing units, especi¬ally in case of the perishables. Due to this, farmers incur higher losses compared to wholesalers, processors and ¬retailers. Indian agriculture seems to have hit the frontier in intensive margin.
Post-harvest food is one of the many direct ways in which value distribution between the consumer and producer is affected. This is defined as the measurable quantitative (decreased weight or volume) and qualitative (unwanted cha¬nges in the cosmetic features of food and reduced nutrient value) losses along the supply chain that can occur at any stage, starting from the time of harvest till the end uses. With about 80% of the Indian farmers being small and marginal, the post-¬harvest losses have first-order effects on them. Beyond post-harvest losses, poor storage facilities compel smallholder farmers in India to sell their produce at low prices soon after the harvest. About 60%–70% of the foodgrains produced is stored at the household level in indigenous storage structures were do not guarantee protection against major storage pests, deterioration, shrinkage, spoilage, moisture and time (duration), leading to a high percentage of grain losses.

Therefore, cold chain supply management is very important during post-harvest management. The technical issues like food loss is nestled in the economic issue of farmers -incomes and overall welfare. Thus, there is a need for proper assessment of farmers’ risk-taking behaviour for policies and investments in technologies and practices for mitigating post-harvest loss, which will drive efficiencies across the entire value chain, leading to improvements in farmers’ income. It can be said that as market forces move towards creating more differentiation, the movement towards greater use of post-harvest systems should gather pace.

Speaker says “I’m passionate about research in food product development and developing protocols to test the impact of nutrition. And also my academic training has empowered me to understand and contribute towards food and nutrition by extending the shelf life of the product”. To know more view