Estimation Loss of
due to Non-availability of Post
Harvest & Food Processing
Facilities in Bihar & UP
ASET, New Delhi
Government of India
The study „Estimating loss of horticulture produce due to non-availability of post
harvest and food processing facilities in Bihar and Uttarpradesh‟ was commissioned by
the planning commission to the Association for Social and Economic
The study has attempted to analyse various aspects of post harvest losses as well as to
quantify the exact losses of horticulture produce dueto lack of post harvest storage and
processing facilities. This study has also focussed on huge employment potential of
this sector.And, at last remedial measures have been suggested to minimise
unwarrantably high rate of loss of these produce.
The final report is outcome of the effort of many people.The ASET has got substantial
support from different sources. Though, it is not practically possible to name each of
them, I can not resist temptation to name few of them. First of all, I must express my
gratitude to Dr. S.P.Gupta, member, Planning Commission for his interest in this study,
right from beginning. In same whiff, I must say that this report would not have got its
present shape without valuable suggestions of Mr. S.G.Raoot, joint adviser,VSI. We
are also grateful to Mr. P.K.Agrawal for his cooperative attitude and responsiveness,
which helped us in accomplishing this study in time.
At last but definitely not the least imporant contribution to this study was made by the
numerous researchers, farmers and the people of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, who helped
in conducting field surveys and gave invaluable information, that is backbone of this
We are also thankful to Ajit Kumar Jha and Kuntal, who helped in tabulation of the data
collected by the field surveyors. In this regard I want to give my special thanks to
Suman and Kanika for their support in course of this study.
Executive Summary iii
1. Importance of Horticulture 2 2. Horticulture and Employment 3 3. Horticulture in Bihar 5 4. Horticulture in Uttar Pradesh 11 5. Reasons of post-harvest loss 18 6. Conclusion 29
7. Recommendations 30
8. Annexure 34
There is no link between production of horticulture produce and its demand in the market. Main reason behind this occurrence is lack of commercial awareness. As a result, main objective behind cultivation of horticulture is- particularly of small and marginal farmer- self consumption. For commercial and other purpose, they rely mainly on other crops, such as wheat, paddy etc.
Traditional sugar cane grower farmers of Uttar Pradesh, though want to switch over from sugar cane to horticulture, but lack of market is constraining them.
Horticulture producers of both states are in a very bad shape because of excess production, therefore central and state, both governments should act in resonance and make urgent efforts to export surplus produce.
Whole orientation of farmers in both states is towards production. Their negligent attitude towards post harvest losses, lack of quality consciousness and absence of food processing units and unavailability of modern cold storages are responsible of huge post harvest losses. Cold storages of both states have been built primarily for preservation of potato only. Therefore, other horticulture products can not be kept there. Therefore, modern cold storages should be built and old one should be upgraded, so that other products also can be kept there. Most of the cold storages of both states are of a big size and generally located in a city centre , therefore, small sized cold storages should be built near agriculture field itself. This will reduce transportation cost and as a result more farmers will be encouraged to use this facility. Post harvest loss of horticulture produce vary between 5-39 per cent of total production. In case of brinjal, cauliflower, guava, chilly and papaya post harvest loss was found lower. Main reason behind this phenomenon was lower level of production. On the contrary in case of mango, onion, tomato and potato, loss was too high.
Lack of quality consciousness on the part of horticulture producers increase post harvest losses, on the other hand lack of the same, saves many produce from complete wastage because consumers purchase them on a relatively lower price. Thus, though it reduces quantitative loss of horticulture produce, it is hazardous for human health.
Biggest obstacle in the proper functioning and development of cold storages and food processing industries is poor power supply in states. Therefore both governments should increase power supply.
This study is based on the field survey that took place in selected districts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh between 15th March and 18th June, 2003. Total 1085 farmers, 9 horticulture officers, 35 cold storage owners/managers and 11 senior executives of food processing industry were interviewed by five sub-groups of investigators, comprising 2-3 investigators in each sub-group. So far coverage of the study is concerned, 11 important horticulture produce were selected for this purpose. Selection of districts, blocks and villages were made by sampling method. After selecting districts from both states same method was adopted to select blocks and villages out of them. From each districts 80-100 farmers were interviewed for this purpose. This includes marginal, big and small, all three kinds of farmers. Besides, collecting data from farmers and other concerned officials, researchers‟ on the site observations and noting have also been included.
In this study, the term „loss‟ has been used to indicate any change in the availability, edibility, wholesomeness or quality of the food that prevents it from being consumed by people, which ultimately results either in complete wastage or monetary devaluation of the produce. Since prime focus of this study was estimation of loss not of production, therefore, anomalies in production figure can not be ruled out.
Since the amount of loss has been estimated and has not been obtained by actual measurements, some arbitrariness and inaccuracy can not be completely ruled out. Though, given the size and spread of sample, it can not have any serious impact upon our conclusion.
Often, there is the temptation to cite “worst case” figures to dramatize the problem, to avoid it, only average occurrence of wastage has been calculated.
Last and not least important fact is that this study is an extensive study of districts, not an intensive of any particular district. Therefore, this data may not be much useful for any particular district separately.
Estimating loss of Horticulture Produce due to non -availability of
Post Harvest & Food Processing Facilities in Bihar and Uttar pradesh
“.... opportunities for foodgrain export will gradually diminish. Fruits and vegetables are the
food of the future.” Dr M. S Swaminathan, eminent Indian scientist .
Post-harvest huge losses of fruits and vegetables is a matter of grave concern for India‟s agriculture sector. But this is a general phenomenon and it is happening in almost every developing countries and this also used to happen in developed country as well. An additional constraint to improving this situation is that in most developing countries including India, the number of scientists concerned with post-harvest food losses is significantly lower than those involved in production research. In the early days of horticulture in most developed countries, heavy losses occurred in much the same manner as they do today in India. Increasing industrialization in technologically advanced nations gradually brought about improvements in crop handling. Elaborate harvesting equipment replaced the crude harvesting tools. Collection centres were strategically established in major producing areas. Containers were remodelled to add more protection to the produce. Commercial storage plants were installed and grade standards adopted. Engineers and economists became more and more aware of raw material behavior. Concomitant advances in Refrigeration Technology in the developed countries have made possible establishment of cold chains for the entire post-harvest and handling operations. At the institutional level post-harvest research was initiated. And a number of packing houses were installed, coupled with the development of intensive training programmes. The improvement of product quality and reduction in post-harvest losses became the main concern of producers, middlemen, marketing specialists and consumers. Today, enormous volumes of quality horticultural crops produced in technologically advanced countries are made available to millions of people through improved post-harvest handling. Thus, historically and by necessity, post-harvest technology is part of the normal development processes in agriculture. These handling procedures are not fully recognized in less developed countries. Here agriculture may be characterized as disjointed. Production is not linked with marketing. With perishable crops like fruits and vegetables, storage, packaging, transport and handling technologies are practically non-oxiatant, Hence, considerable amount of produce are wastage. In Uttar Pradesh, according to an estimate, surplus production of potato is to the tune of 4 million ton. No one knows that what will be the fate of this extra four million, because new Potato crops has started to come into the market.
Appropriate production practices, careful harvesting and proper packaging, storage and transport all contribute to the good produce quality. Once a crop is harvested it is impossible to improve its quality. The horticultural crops, because of their high moisture content are
inherently more liable to deteriorate especially under tropical conditions. Moreover, they are biologically active and carry out transpiration, respiration, ripening and other biochemical activities, which deteriorate the quality of the produce. Losses during post harvest operations due to improper storage and handling are enormous and can range from 5 -35 percent. Post harvest losses can occur in the field, in packing areas, in storage, during transportation and in the wholesale and retail market. Severe losses occur because of poor facilities, lack of know-how, poor management, market dysfunction or simply the carelessness of farmers. Proper storage conditions, temperature and humidity are needed to lengthen the storage life and maintain quality once the crop has been cooled to the optimum storage temperature. It is distressing to note that so much time is being devoted to the culture of the plant, so much money spent on irrigation, fertilization and crop protection measures only to be wasted about a week after harvest. It is, therefore, important that post-harvest procedures be given as much attention as production practices the stages from planting until the product a roach the consuming public must be a mutual undertaking between the growers and those who will handle the products after harvest.
Importance of Horticulture Sector
Horticultural crops not only provide us with nutritional and healthy foods, but also generate a cash income to growers. It has full potential to become an alternate cash crop for sugarcane grower farmers of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar .
On the other hand, all countries are veering towards self-reliance in foodgrains. This trend may well augur the gradual diminishing of foodgrain exports. On the other hand, the demand for fruits and vegetables is steadily increasing. And India has the unique distinction of being able to grow almost all fruits and vegetables. However, export-oriented production is still at the planning stage: most Indian producers have yet to adopt world standards of quality. So far as its contribution to Indian economy is concerned, fruits and vegetables are grown only on 7 – 8 per cent of gross cropped area but contribute more than 18.8% of the gross value of agricultural output and 52% export earnings from total agricultural produce.
During the last few years, considerable emphasis has been given to this sector: Accordingly areas under fruit production increased by 172% from 1961 - 1993, productivity per hectare was nearly doubled, leading to an increase in production to the tune of 320%.
Though, huge employment and export potential of horticulture has been fully recognised by the successive governments, still it is not getting the kind of priority it actually deserves. As the Tenth Plan draft acknowledges that the „ horticulture sector contributes about 24.5 per cent
towards agriculture GDP from only about 8 per cent of the cultivated area‟. It further says, „ besides, providing nutritional and livelihood security and helping poverty alleviation and employment generation , this sub-sector sustains a large number of agro – industries, which
generate huge additional non –farming employment opportunities‟. Despite all these
admissions, in practice while Rs. 22467 crore was allocated to agricultural sector in Eighth Plan , only Rs. 1000 crore was earmarked, out of that for horticulture. In Ninth Plan also situation could change only marginally. While total allocation to agriculture sector was almost doubled from Rs.22467 to Rs. 42462 crore, out of which amount allocated to horticulture sector was raised from Rs. 1000 crore to meagre Rs. 1400 crore
Higher Export Earning Potential
Fruits and vegetables have been shown to earn 20-30 times more foreign exchange per unit area than cereals due to higher yields and higher price available in the international market. In spite of the large scale production, India‟s fresh produce has not made major dent in the international trade so far, except for spices, cashew nut and recently grapes. This is primarily due to the fact that horticultural crops were treated as one of the several means of land use of secondary importance, with food grain crops receiving prime attentions and consequently heavy investments.
Horticulture Scores in Employment Generation
The average labour requirement for fruit production is 860 man days per hectare per annum as against 143 man days for cereal crops. Crops like grapes, bananas and pineapple generate much larger employment roughly from 1000-2500 man days per hectare per annum .
The vast opportunities for investment in fruits and vegetable processing units exist. It is established that fresh agri-produce loss reduction is cheaper than equivalent increase in production so far as economy, energy and impact on environment is concerned. Theoretically, one per cent post-harvest loss reduction of horticulture produce is expected to save Rs 230 crores annually.
If the consumption level shoots up from the current 100 gm of fruit and 200 gm of vegetables per capita per day to at least the recommended dietary level of 140 gm and 270 gm respectively by 2010, the domestic market for fresh fruits and vegetables could be as large as Rs 50,000 crores at today‟s price structure.
Status of Post – Harvest Handling of Horticulture Produce in Bihar
Insufficient allocation of money in proportion to its contribution to GDP and generation of employment opportunities, is reflected in inadequate infrastructure for horticulture produce . Initial indication of this survey points towards complete negligence of horticultural infrastructure facilities in some districts of Bihar, while in other parts , situation is comparatively better. It was found that, while there is only one cold storage in Saharsa , that cater the necessity of all neighboring districts‟ horticulture producers. Though it caters the necessity of local horticulture producers to some extent, it can not fulfil the necessity of far -
flung rural areas of even saharsa district, forget necessity of other adjoining districts. Another important point regarding horticulture sector of this region has been noticed that main purpose behind production is not a commercial one but self-consumption. Main reason behind this mindset is their traditional bias towards other crops. Generally, a particular community called „Kujra‟ only produce vegetables for commercial purpose. Level of low commercial awareness
among farmers about the importance of horticulture produce is also one of the reason. When surveyors went to the villages and asked about cold storage facility, some of them were not even aware of that existing facility. But some of the farmers who were aware of it , but were not willing to use this facility because only cold storage of that area was situated in the city centre and distance between the city centre and the village (production centre of the horticulture produce), given the bad transportation facilities, actually made it unattractive for the horticulture producers to keep their produce in cold storage. Even farmers of saharsa district, on average will have to carry their produce from 10 to 50 kilometers to keep their horticulture produce in that cold storage. If farmers of the neighborhood districts decide to use the same facilities, on average they will have to carry it from 30 to 125 kilometers. And all this will only add to the cost of their produce and that will ultimately result in either low profit or no profit at all.
Lack of capital also force farmers to ignore the use of cold storage, even when available and effectively managed. Many growers depend on almost daily sales for their income and hence may be forced to accept a lower price immediately, rather than to store their produce in the anticipation of a higher price. There is also the storage rental price which the farmer may not be willing to pay unless he is thoroughly convinced that he will not only recover his investment, but will also profit.
Another problem is the lack of access to the big market. Since most of the horticulture produce of these areas, do not have direct access to the big cities, as a result either they produce for self-consumption or for local market, size of which market is very small. As a result, only a fraction of farmers are involved in commercial production of fruits and vegetables. Main horticulture produce of these districts are Mango, Litchi, Banana, Guava , Brinjal, Potato, Cabbage, Tomato, Lady finger, Cauliflower, Parval etc.
Our researchers found that sometimes some horticulture produce, because of its perishable nature and lack of storage and processing facilities, are being sold below cost of its production. According to our estimate, total loss of horticulture produce in these districts may vary between 25 –33 per cent of total horticulture produce, due to improper handling of harvest and post-harvest management techniques resulting in a loss of thousands of crore every year. Though, post – harvest handling of horticulture produce is better in Muzaffarpur, Begusarai and Hajipur, still a lot of scope for value addition and processing exist. According to our casual estimate for these districts , it may vary between 25 – 30 per cent of total horticulture produce.
As far as state of the horticulture produce in other and comparatively developed districts of Bihar is concerned, over the years losses have been reduced sharply because of phenomenal increase in total number of cold storage and processing units as well. Though, barring few, most of the processing units are of small size. They have advantage of a big nearby market of Patna and of comparatively better transportation facilities as well. But frequent power cuts and loadshedding is a cause of concern for them.
Another stumbling block on the path of development of food processing industries is deteriorating law and order situation. As a result, it is very difficult for an entrepreneur to decide to invest in any industry of Bihar. Even many cases of capital flights have been noticed. Therefore, before taking any other step, secured and terror free environment should be created.
Survey of Post- Harvest Wastage of Horticulture produce in Bihar
Horticulture Survey of Supaul
Geographical Net Sown Net Sown Estimated No. of Cold Storage
Area Area more than land under
(sq.km.) (000hect.) once horticulture
2374.82 183 153 17 Nil
Table N0. 2
Name of Fruits & Total Estimated Total Estimated Total Estimated
Vegetables Production Wastage Wastage
(in ton) (in Per cent) (in lac Rs)
Mango 130050 38 3000
Banana 8200 18 29
Litchi 2150 22 24
Papaya 675 15 2
Guava 8450 19 98
Cauliflower 7555 21 22
Brinjal 12576 11 32
Onion 4750 29 21
Tomato 8575 38 55
Chilly 875 5 7
Potato 36075 32 222
Total Estimated 3512