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2018-06-16 23:18:45

UK universities to explore space technology and partnerships to uplift farmers’ livelihood in India

Two UK universities are in exploring space technology to uplift farmers’ livelihood in India with partners in India.

The main goals are to:

- Build consortium with industry, academia and government partners for possible use of cryogenics in cold supply chain

- Maximize value in agri-food supply chain to help farmers raise their income

Sheffield University Management School (SUMS) and Hull University Business School (HUBS), two leading management schools in the United Kingdom are exploring possibilities to use space technology such as cryogenics to build robust agri-food cold supply chain infrastructure in India.

As a part of their future research agenda, SUMS and HUBS in partnership with Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), STFC Food Network+ and the University of Sheffield Sustainable Food Futures (SheFF) of the United Kingdom will be organizing an international workshop in New Delhi, India from 17-19 June 2018.

Pawanex Kohli, Chief Executive and Advisor of India’s National Centre for Cold-chain Development will flag off the workshop titled “Sustainable Agri-Food Supply Chain in India”, whereas Professor Ramesh Chand from NITI Aayog will be presenting the closing remarks for the workshop.

Dr Sonal Choudhary of SUMS and Rakesh Nayak of HUBS are principal investigators and co-investigators of this research initiative, which aims to develop new technology using Cryogenics and find ways to optimise the cold supply chain in agri-food sector in India.

Dr Choudhary, who is an assistant professor at the University of Sheffield said, “this is a unique and innovative research initiative where we are bringing in multiple stakeholders and multidisciplinary research team comprising of leading industry players, farmers representatives, academicians and policy makers from India and the UK to identify and understand the challenges faced by the agri-food sector and formulate strategies to mitigate those challenges and maximize value for all the stakeholders.”

The workshop, which is funded by the STFC Food Network+ and SheFF, will be participated by representatives of Amazon India, The Linde Group, The Science and Technology Facilities Council of UK, Khushigram, Go4Fresh, Mother Dairy Fruits & Vegetables, EPMCR – an IIT Madras incubated company, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Optel Group, GeoTraceability, Jadavpur University, Schedulers Logistics, and Farmfresh-Handpicked (FFHP) Vegetables & Fruits and Khushigram (fast growing Farm to Fork and Integrated Sustainable Initiative).

The co-investigator and lecturer at University of Hull Rakesh Nayak said, “we are building a strong consortium of researchers from multidisciplinary background coming from cryogenics, engineering, management and social sciences to investigate value chain problems in the agri-food supply chain sector in India and build future agenda to derive solutions in terms of new technologies, policies, infrastructure, capacity building, up skilling to maximise value for all the stakeholders.”

Khushigram Founder & MD, Khushi Social & Green Networks Pvt Ltd Ajit Kumar added, “this is an excellent development and will hopefully boost the farm and food sector by strengthening the systems and increasing efficiency and decreasing losses. We are trying to work in Natural & Organic Farming, Ready to Eat and drink Healthy and Nutritious Food, snacks and beverages, Smart Food Lab, Packaging, Logistics and Vehicles, Supply Chain, Training, Marketing, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Incubation and Technology. As our business if of Sustainable Development Goals and recreating and reviving happy villages, we are proud to contribute.”

The workshop will build a platform to review current practices at farm, distribution, logistics, warehouse and retail resulting in value loss. The perspectives of stakeholder will help in identifying the scale of problems and challenges associated with lack of cold infrastructure, policy implementation and supply chain design leading to food loss and wastage from farm to fork level. Whilst assessing the impact of emerging technologies such as Cryogenics, modified atmosphere packaging, IoT and Blockchain, it aims to explore possibilities how innovative collaborations and technological applications can be used improve the existing agri-food cold value chain.

The time and aim of this innovative workshop purely aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision 2022 for doubling farmers’ income in India, and aims to uplift farmers livelihood by raising their income through value maximization – while stopping post harvest losses.

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