Post-harvest storage and transit losses – ‘silent killer’

abhayBulk handling & bulk transport can economize & maximize returns in the feed industry.

Did you know that India loses over 17 million tonnes of foodgrains every year by way of post-harvest storage and transit losses? Amounting to six percent of the annual production, valued at over Rs. 50,000 crores, it is enough to feed one third of India’s poor! A similar ‘silent killer’ is also prevalent in the feed industry where handling, storage and transit losses are generally ignored and overlooked.
Way back in 2000, the National Policy on Handling and Storage of Foodgrains laid out a road map to cut storage and transit losses between the farm and the consumer.

The steps outlined were:

  • Declare foodgrains storage as infrastructure.
  • Encourage mechanical harvesting, cleaning and drying at the farm and market level.
  • Transport grains from farm to silos in specially designed trucks.
  • Construct chain of silos at receipt as well as distribution points.
  • Encourage the private sector to build grain storage capacities which can be rented to the government for grains procured by government agencies.
  • Encourage the private sector to develop infrastructure for the integrated bulk handling, storage and transportation of foodgrains.

Towards this end, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and the state-run Warehousing Boards have taken several steps, such as establishing metallic grain silo complexes and modern grain storage facilities. However, what is urgently needed is a co-ordinated effort to develop systems and tools to provide a complete package which, in addition to modern storage facilities and storage silos, also includes the Bulk Handling and Bulk Transportation of foodgrains. These initiatives can easily be incorporated in the feed industry also.
Bulk Handling of Grain & Feed
Precision-engineered pneumatic systems are inching their way into the bulk handling of materials. These robust systems offer a plethora of advantages like:
Only one person is required for the total operation, thus putting an end to labour costs and management hassles.
No need for augers, sweeps, shovels and other mechanical tools prone to maintenance overheads.
Helps maintain excellent grain/feed quality and minimize damage due to handling.
Higher loading/unloading rates as high as 80-100 tonnes/hour which results in quicker turnaround and shorter handling time.

No bagging/unbagging required, leading to reduced labour and packing costs and efficient handling of materials.
No transit losses. No spillage. No spoilage. No pilferage. Quicker handling. What more can we ask for?
Bulk Transport of Grain & Feed Bulk Tanker
Bulk Tankers are used quite extensively to transport milk, petrochemicals and cement premixes across the length and breadth of our country. The urgent need now is to inculcate the use of Bulk Tankers in the grain and feed industry also. This is the norm in all developed countries and the immediate need of our country.
Unimaginable benefits can be reaped by shifting the focus from ‘Bags’ to ‘Bulk’. Bulk Tankers can revolutionize material handling and movement by:
Quicker handling: With loading by gravity and unloading pneumatically, the entire two-way process can be executed in minutes.
Massive labour savings: The tanker driver can accomplish loading/unloading effectively and efficiently, all by himself.
No bags required: Frees up working capital.
Cleaner handling: No transit losses and no contamination as the bulk tanker is completely sealed and self-cleaning.
No empty returns: Bulk tankers can be used for a variety of products with multiple compartments for two-way trips.
Fantastic ROI: Thanks to cost savings in labour, packing materials and time, the bulk tanker can pay itself off within 3-6 months!
Hence, the time has come to embrace the advancements in systems and technology and to invest intellect and efforts towards not only modernizing the bulk storage facilities but also in bulk handling and bulk transport of grains. This, when replicated in the feed industry, could economize and maximize returns in an industry where the handling and transport are still done traditionally.

India should waste no further time. This simple and commonsensical system and technology can dramatically change the face of the country. Is there anything more worthwhile than preventing our colossal wastage of food and feedstuff?