As reported in the March-April 2016 issue of Cold Chain, CII National Task Force on Cold Chain Development has initiated a project titled ‘Strengthening of Post-Harvest Value Chain Management for Development of Mango Industry in Andhra Pradesh’. The project is the outcome of the many commodity-specific post-harvest value chain studies initiated by the Task Force. This project aims to catalyse investments in post harvest cold infrastructure and create brand value for mangoes from Andhra Pradesh. It also aims to provide a platform for buyers and sellers to come together to chalk a way forward for sustainable production of processed mango and build the capacity of farmers and processors on new technologies and practices. The project launch workshop, presided over by Chiranjiv Choudhary – Mission Director & Commissioner of Horticulture, Government of Andhra Pradesh, brought forward several key issues that are critical to the sustainable development of the mango sector in Andhra Pradesh, and laid down the foundation for project implementation. As an immediate outcome of the workshop, three working groups were formed for focused deliberations, chalking out actionable tasks and providing guidance for project implantation. These groups are on production, post harvest and marketing. The group on production and post harvest felt that it was important to interact with farmers to have a better understanding of the challenges faced by them, so that meaningful interventions could be selected for targeted implementation on the ground. For this, an interactive workshop with farmer groups along with members from the group on production and post harvest was organized by CII FACE along with the Department of Horticulture, Government of Andhra Pradesh at Chittoor on June 21. About 35 farmers from Siddeswara Fruit Growers Association, Suvidha Farmers Company Ltd. and Balaji Farmer’s Association attended the workshop. During the workshop, farmers shared the insight that quality of mangoes produced in the region was deteriorating over the years, and suggested that the focus should be on improving the quality. They were willing to take up grading and sorting of mangoes on their farms based on the training received, and requested assistance in transportation. It was proposed to organise training and capacity building programmes on crop management practices, pest and disease management, packaging, grading and sorting, assistance in soil testing, drip irrigation, etc. under the project. To initiate the training programmes, farmer groups were requested to identify farmers within their groups for on-farm training. Members of the group on marketing met at Hyderabad on June 21. They felt that for greater impact, the focus of the project should be on branding the selected mango varieties from Andhra Pradesh. Considering the uniqueness of Suvernarekha and Banganapalli mango varieties, it was suggested that these varieties should be selected for complete value chain development. Two clusters were proposed to be selected around the existing pack houses available in the state. Farmers in these clusters would be trained on global GAP practices, and efforts would be made for farmer certifi cation so as to boost the export potential of these varieties. Successful implementation of the project in these clusters could later be replicated in other locations in Andhra Pradesh. For cost-eff ective transportation to Singapore, Malaysia and Dubai, container shipments were proposed to be explored. These interventions would form the basis of the project implementation roadmap. A two-day workshop with members of the three groups is being held in August for sharing the outcomes of the group meetings. Members would deliberate and come out with a consolidated action plan, which would form the basis for the project implementation roadmap. Another initiative taken by the Task Force this year is the introduction of CII Cold Chain Awards. In order to promote cold chain infrastructure in India, CII Food and Agriculture Centre of Excellence has instituted the CII Cold Chain Award, supported by the National Centre for Cold-chain Development (NCCD), Government of India. The objective of the Award is to honour individuals and organisations for preeminent and outstanding contributions in the field of cold chain management, including emerging entrepreneurs in technology innovation, innovative business models, logistics and policy systems. This will also help create greater awareness on existing sustainable practices, scope for replication across value chains, and boost competitiveness through best practice sharing. Professionals seeking to achieve excellence in the cold chain sector will also benefit from this exposure. The annual Award aims to create a platform for cold chain projects to gain more traction from both public and private sectors, attract investment that will enable improvement in services and overall efficiency of the supply chain. Cold chain management needs to be strengthened in collaboration with various stakeholders (cold store owners, aggregators, farmers’ producer organisations, cooperatives, associations of cold store owners, federations, retailers, innovators, cold chain logistics providers, etc.). The cold chain awards intend to promote and recognize implementation of the necessary reforms to integrate the domestic market
both vertically and horizontally, and provide farmers with the freedom to sell their produce whenever, wherever it is more profitable for them.