ISLAMABAD: Chairman FPCCI Standing Committee on Horticulture and Agri Production, Ahmad Jawad has urged the government to extend financial and technical support towards efforts aimed at controlling increasing post-harvest losses of major crops.
Talking to officials of Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) who called on him here on Sunday, Ahmad Jawad said in a hungry and increasingly competitive world, reducing post harvest food losses is a major agricultural goal. He said that for highly perishable commodities, such as tomatoes, dates, strawberries and peaches, as much as 30 per cent of the harvested crop may be lost to post harvest diseases before it reaches the consumers.
He said that it is time government must focus to bring down wastage & losses in fruits and vegetables by setting up food processing units in the country in production areas with the help of international agencies like JICA. “I believe half of Pakistan food wastage is equal to the total food consumption of the UK”
“As Pakistan food processing industry has the potential to uplift the farmer, bring down inflation, turn into a hub for skill training, and earn revenue”, he noted.
Jawad said “Ministry of National Food & Security must ensure that in the coming years, the wastage is turned into processed food so that the farmer can get a better price and he does not have to throw away his yield. I believe the processing industry is like a catalyst,” he added.
There is a dire need to process food when it is surplus and supply it back to the market at a reasonable price. This will ensure checking inflation in perishable products such as onion and in tomatoes.
Jawad also told our food processing sector can also act as a hub for skill training where even illiterate people can be trained, creating a huge employment opportunity, as investments are made to save food.
In country like Pakistan, low cost, economically feasible technology such as on-farm low cost storage (structures) hydro cooling, MAP, CA storage seems to be appropriate, he added.
Similarly better produce handling and management would ensure regular market supply and the consumers will enjoy the affordable prices. This will also help promoting export of high value perishable commodities to other countries.
In this regard a well coordinated R&D programme on produce handling and marketing at national level is, therefore also essentially required; he remarked.