The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is providing C$5 million (€3m) in assistance to help implement a food security project in India, designed to prevent the spoilage and wastage of stored food crops.
As part of the proposed project three Indian agricultural universities - University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad and Bangalore and the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, are set to collaborate with the McGill University, Canada to develop scientific techniques to preserve foodgrains and vegetables, said S.A. Patil, Vice-Chancellor, UAS, Dharwad.
The main objective is to develop appropriate storage techniques and post-harvest technologies to preserve food grains and vegetables and commercialise them on a large scale at the farmers level, Patil said. Apart from getting their faculty trained overseas, the three Indian agricultural universities would also exchange technologies with the McGill university, he added.
"Efforts would also be made to adopt the post-harvest technologies, developed by McGill University, by modifying them to suit to the Indian needs and implement here," said Mr Patil.
The five-year project is expected to be fully implemented next year. During the current year, various foodgrains and different varieties of vegetables, which need better storage techniques, were being identified, Patil said. "We have identified about 14 different varieties of vegetables and foodgrains grown in areas of North Karnataka under the jurisdiction of the UAS, Dharwad."
The international assistance to the proposed food security project assumes significance as significant amounts of foodgrains and perishables like vegetables and fruits are still wasted in India annually due to lack of scientific post harvest practices and storage techniques.
It is estimated that nearly 10-20 per cent of the foodgrains and nearly 30 per cent of the perishables like fruit and vegetables produced in the country are lost annually for want of better preservation techniques and infrastructure adequacies.