Nov 7, 2016

Tips from Top - "Management of agro business and key challanges faced" by Mr Mihir Mohanta, GM, Mother Dairy, Fruits and Vegetables division

Tips from Top organised a seminar by Mr. Mihir Mohanta, GM, Mother Dairy, Fruits and Vegetables Division. The Topic of the seminar was “Management of Agro Businesses in India – A Key Perspective”.
Mr. Mohanta started the seminar giving a brief about challenges faced in supply chain management during planning, costing, implementing, physical movement of goods from one place to another, etc. This was cemented through an example of horticulture train, an endeavour by the Government of India. The train that was considered to be a boon for transportation of food and vegetables was marred by lack of planning, ignorance in demand estimation, and inconvenience in loading on part of farmers.
Further talking about the F&V industry, Mr. Mohanta briefed us that although footfall of customers is soaring in this sector, but the risk to return ratio is very low. Reasons being fruits and vegetables are perishable items, have price volatility, and have uncertain demand. Also the supply chain is marred by factors such as seasonality, cyclicity and climate.
Mr Mohanta further stated that India is one of the highest producers of many F&Vs in the world but is unable to capitalize on this opportunity due to low processing rates of the items. India produces fruits and vegetables in superior quantity and variety. Yet people have access to only a minute proportion of it due to the inefficient storage facility and logistics. In a gist traditional logistics is still not completely efficient in transportation of goods. Also the cold storage facilities available in India are fragmented. Some of these options are costlier and hence can inflate the price of the commodity. Innovation and research in this area is the need of the hour.
The other adversity faced by F&V industry in India as per Mr Mohanta is the gap between prices paid to the farmers and the market price of items. This exists due to the lack of uniformity in the markets and market offerings in India.
The government plans to increase the engagement of small and marginal farmers through social reforms. However, it should understand that the engagement of farmers can be increased by understanding the demand of the consumers. The consumer demand is about quality, variety, convenience, etc. The government must try to bridge this gap.
 The other issue discussed is that of proper planning of harvest. India reports to have more than 30% of harvest losses. Yet the farmers have not been able to develop the means of incorporating ideas to reduce the losses.
The session ended with an insightful video on how Mother Dairy is working in the ground level with the farmers to rip the benefits of modern agricultural sciences and supply chain as well. It was indeed a knowledge gaining session about the various aspects of supply chain specifically pertaining to Indian Agriculture.

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