Maharashtra, India’s richest state, wastes a large chunk of the fruits and vegetables it produces due to the lack of agro-processing capacity, a report said.
The state, where a farm crisis triggered by a drought has seen several farmers commit suicide, processes just about one percent of the fruits and vegetables it produces, said the report by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
The report said that up to 40 percent of vegetables and 30 percent of fruits – both perishable – are wasted after the remaining is consumed fresh, according to the Indian Express.
The newspaper quoted unnamed government sources as saying that huge investments are needed to set up basic infrastructure and cold stores that could be linked to farms in remote parts of the vast state.
The NABARD report said that the world agriculture trade was shifting towards processed foods and agro processing holds the key for sustainable growth.
Maharashtra, produces an average 145 lakh tonnes of food grains, 50 lakh tonnes of oil seeds, 769 lakh tonnes of sugarcane and 88 lakh bales of cotton annually.