Busting India’s
‘Food Scarcity’ Myth

India is among the world’s leading producers of milk, food grains (cereals and pulses), and fruits and vegetables. In addition to these products, our country also produces ample quantities of sugarcane, cotton, fish, and poultry. That India has a food scarcity problem because we do not produce enough is a myth.

In 2019-20, India’s total production of food grains reached a record high of 296.65 million tonnes and total horticultural production peaked at an all-time high of 320.48 million tonnes.

The real crux of India’s food scarcity issue is its fragmented supply chain that makes the entire agricultural ecosystem complex for all stakeholders. It takes anywhere between 7 to 11 steps for food to travel from farm to fork i.e., from the farmer to the consumer!

Moreover, the lack of seamless information flow between stakeholders of the agri-value chain poses a major hurdle. Timely and accurate information must be available to all market participants in order to avoid high levels of food loss. The limited demand visibility with food producers results in disrupted supplies, volatile prices, low remuneration for farmers, and uncertain supplies and prices for discerning consumers.

According to a UN report, an estimated 931 million tonnes of food was wasted globally in 2019 with India alone losing food equivalent to the total amount consumed by Brazil.

To rejuvenate the country’s food economy, India needs to reimagine a tech-driven supply chain that:

  • Ensures all market participants are seamlessly interconnected on a single, unified tech platform that facilitates real-time information availability.
  • Provides integrated Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Language (ML) analytics tools that optimize the entire supply chain, and
  • Automates a major chunk of the supply chain for enhanced productivity and faster and more agile handling of perishable products.

An integrated ecosystem for all stakeholders

An integrated tech platform is pivotal for supply and demand planning at both macro and micro levels. Such a platform will serve as an ecosystem not just for farmers and consumers, but also for other stakeholders like processors, Warehouse Service Providers (WSPs), logistics providers, and retailers.

By bringing all the stakeholders on an integrated tech platform, not only will we create a cohesive, transparent ecosystem, but also boost efficiencies by eliminating inaccuracies in demand and supply planning.

Leveraging such a platform will help:

  • Farmers use the available long-term forecasts to grow crops based on a scientifically anticipated demand, and short-term forecasts to understand the forecasted market prices that will help them decide exactly when to harvest.
  • Millers and processors plan their processes that are tightly aligned to consumer demands on one side and supply frequencies from farmers on the other side.
  • Logistics players develop a cohesive view of what needs to be transported and when.

This real-time visibility significantly improves planning and ensures that all stakeholders are working in tandem.

How AI/ML analytics integrated within the platform works

Long-term demand forecasting models will help farmers grow the right crops based on the forecast and the soil content. Several models around growing techniques and packaging practices can also help them accurately predict product yields and enhance their income.

Retailers can leverage the embedded analytics models for consumer insights to understand what commodity sells in a particular community and stock the relevant products accordingly. With advancements in technology, we can even go to the extent of predicting which variant of rice or fruits and vegetables is more likely to be consumed on which street! These detailed insights help retailers stock the right Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) that not only improve their earning capacity but also avoid wastages of slow-moving stock.

For the supply chain players, predictive analytics is core to demand planning. They can use the forecasts and supply information to run network optimization as well as reduce Food Miles thereby minimizing food loss.

Once enough information is fed into the tech platform, it becomes easy to analyze how much produce can be generated from a particular region as well as the consumption pattern in surrounding regions to make a sound decision. The same insights can then be shared with the farmers to make informed decisions.

Automation for an uninterrupted supply chain

When one deals with food and perishables, there are two critical elements from a logistics perspective – ensuring that the product moves from the source to the consumer in the shortest possible time, and minimizing the physical handling of the product as every human touch reduces the shelf-life of the product.

Automation is not just a strategic lever but an important cog in the seamless management of the entire food supply chain. While we have seen the use of automation in food processing, it still remains sluggish in the rest of the supply chain, barring a few new-age players.

Automation has delivered phenomenal results in sectors such as the automotive and electronics industry. This could make way for frugal engineering solutions that ably support the complex cost structures in the food industry.

There are several use cases for automation in the food supply chain such as robots assisting in base-level functions of moving boxes or crates of produce along conveyor belts, automated systems for grading, sorting, and dispensing precise quantities of grains as well as fresh produce into packing machines. Companies such as Ocado are building such solutions for developed markets. However, similar solutions are required for emerging markets at cost structures more suited for these markets. Besides increasing productivity, these solutions reduce effort and errors and improve ergonomics, factors that are as important in emerging markets as they are elsewhere.

Automation can also be used in sorting and grading processes based on the quality of food grains and fresh produce. Examples include IoT-integrated decision conveyor systems that automatically match the supply crates to specific customer orders and allow produce to seamlessly flow through fulfilment centres without any human intervention.

Three is the key

From a process maturity viewpoint, food tech, and especially agri-commerce is just evolving from a diagnostic stage to a better-defined predictive and prescriptive model. Once this transition is completed, opportunities are immense not only in reducing food wastage but across different elements of the supply chain.

The three key elements – an integrated tech platform, embedded analytics, and an automated supply chain – must seamlessly interconnect to truly get to the core of solving India’s food scarcity issue. WayCool is consistently working towards it and redefining India’s food supply chain to ensure food security.

Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are mareked*

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Efficient Water Management Sustainable Water Management AI in Agriculture Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav supply Agritech Cold Chain interventions in Export value chain Groundwater Erosion Climate Smart Agriculture Role of AI in the agriculture Nutritional Day Miyawaki Urban Forest agritech ecosystem Banana Supply Chain Water in Agriculture food security Artificial Intelligence OARS Environmental sustainability zero hunger banana cold chain Supply Chain Management WayCool’s Food OS Future of Agriculture Farming Practices Food flag Food Safety WayCool Brands News Sustainable Supply Chain Carisma Potatoes Women Entrepreneurs Cultivating nutrition future of food ESG Ready to Cook Foods Test Cat Food Miles Precision Agriculture Total Quality Management Start with Soil food tech Dr Aswath Damodaran Madhuram National Safety Day How to save ground water Role of Modern Technology in Agriculture India's retail market food supply chain GEMBA ground water for agriculture Global Economy WayCool Workplace Safety ground water management Agriculture Today mom & pop stores Censa home grown brands Cross Docking Startups Nurture Young Minds, Develop Safety Culture sustainable farming practices Use of new age technologies in agriculture Retail Tech solution Digital Agri Tech global consumer products WayCool Food OS Workplace Safety Green Initiatives ISO 22000:2018 Indian Retail Sector Zero Dump Wastage food and agri supply chain Outgrow Food and Agri Supply Chains Earth Day Food Safety Management System Tectonic Shift In Indian Retail Sector Lean Supply Chain Grain Grading Retail Tech Tectonic Shifts Regenerative Farming Practices SAP 4 HANA Impact of Robotics and Automation in Retail Sector Machine Learning Grain Grading System for Future Co2 Emissions Food Economy Climate Smart Practices WayCool Migration WayCool’s homegrown brands food supply chain in India Grain Chain Green Energy World Water Day Cross Docking in Supply Chain Management Business Performance Consumer Brands Farming Methods Food scarcity myth Solar Energy Outgrow Material Handing Process in Supply Chain Management Sustainable goals consumer packed goods nutrient-rich produce National Farmers’ Day Renewable Energy Technology-based Irrigation Management Waste Water Management WayCool SAP HANA Case study food freedom sustainable food system Regenerative Farming WayCool’s integrated value chain for banana yelakki - A case study