Author(s): Sashikala Parimia and Samyadip Chakraborty
Forecasting based studies highlight that Food production crisis is going to worsen in India by 2030 and by 2050 it would become very critical. India, which currently is the second most populous country in the world, will need 60 percent more food production and also drastically prevent food loss by 2050. Although there are technologically advanced mechanisms to reduce the wastage of harvested fruits and vegetables, farmers are concerned about spillover of products during post-harvest supply stage. Along the various stages of movement and storage along the supply chain, large portion of harvested fruits and vegetables get wasted. The study explores and analyses the factors affecting food wastage in post harvesting of fruits and vegetables at three stages: i). when the fruits and vegetable items are with farmers, ii) procurement and storage phase with wholesaler/ cold-storages and iii) wastage at retailer level. The study narrows down on key factors and empirically analyzes the impact of a) productivity and quality standards, b) awareness linked knowledge, c) quantity related aspects, d) efficiency and wastage related aspects and e) transportation linked aspects, on post-harvest loss of fruits and vegetables in the state of West Bengal with the help of 335 respondents along key stages of agricultural supply chain. The study results suggest the key factors that that are affecting the post-harvest wastage of food and thus portrays a ready to refer guideline and framework that might help in creating the nuanced understanding regarding the overarching goal of minimization of food wastage through identification and analysis of the factors, significantly impacting the post-harvest wastage of food.