India – Agriculture and potato
Agriculture contributes to 13.7% Indian GDP while employing 50% of the population. There has been little progress in streamlining the process since Indian independence in 1947. The various stakeholders are fragmented, disconnected and inefficient. Some of the key issues are – lack of Governance,lack of private capital and involvement, primitive technology and inadequacy of infrastructure (roads, energy, storage facilities).
India stands among the leading agricultural producers in the world, particularly when it comes to potatoes, one of India’s favorite food. India ranks third in the list of major potato producing countries of the world, producing around 25 million tonnes of potatoes (8% of the world’s total production). The traditional supply chain for potato production is as follows:
Climate Change in India and its impact on potato supply chain
India happens to be one of the most vulnerable countries when it comes to climate change. A warming of 0.5 degC is likely by 2030 and of 2-4 degC by the end of the century. Moreover, increased precipitation is expected with extreme rainfall events, flooding and fewer rainy days.
Potato production has a complicated relationship with climate change. The production is projected to increase with increases in local average temperature over a range of 1 to 3 °C, but above this it is projected to decrease. Increased CO2 levels are likely to enhance the photosynthetic rate and reduce water consumption. However, the harm due to expected erratic rainfall overweights the above benefits since “Indian agriculture gambles with monsoons”.
SV Agri, founded by Hemant Kaur and Ganesh Pawar in 2008, provides end to end value chain for smallholder potato farmers in India by delivering necessary inputs at all points of the value chain. It is a relatively small company, operating 125 franchisees in seven Indian states. The firm provides higher quality potato seeds, financing services, pesticides, fertilizers, technical solutions and equipment to farmers, highly technical and effective distribution and packing equipment.
How should SV Agri become resilient to climate change threat to potato production?
One of the biggest strengths that SV Agri has is being a pioneer in consolidating the potato supply chain in India and designing effective solutions at each step of the value chain. This gives them the edge of being able to design resources as they keep in mind the potential climate change impact. Since they are one of the very few companies focussed in this area, they have the potential to set an example for the entire industry moving forward in how to integrate climate change with the design of agricultural systems. They are addressing farmers by providing high quality inputs (seeds, fertilizers etc) from the start. In addition to a direct physiological effect on potato yield, climate change may indirectly affect potato production and productivity through the negative impact of pest and diseases. However, chemical control is emerged as management option for late blight of potato. Only 13.9 % of the respondent depends on chemical control. SV Agri is also tackling this by partnering with the best in agro chemicals industry to supply pesticides to small farmers.
Another component of the supply chain that gets heavily impacted is the change in consumption pattern due to the lack of year long availability of potatoes, particularly in India where storage facilities are at a subpar level. SV Agri offers cutting edge solutions to this problem – controlled bulk storage facilities with temperature regulation and air distribution system as well as box storage facilities for transportation. They are also providing process equipment and process automation to increase the utilization and reduce wastage. They also provide consulting services to farmers, thereby reducing variables in the conventionally highly uncontrolled environment which Indian agriculture is used to.
SV Agri is a relatively new fast growing company, with limited current outreach. They are at an early stage and are more focussed on growing rather than becoming more sustainable and resilient to climate change. While some of their offerings and designs address those issues, it isn’t their primary priority.
They should work towards making the chain more compact and less scattered. This would enable them to have a higher impact and also make the process more controlled for possible future technological changes and adaptations, both in terms of improving yield and catering to climate change.
Also, another part of the supply chain that can get heavily affected due to climate change is logistics and infrastructure (roads, transportation, power, telecommunication) which SV Agri has no focus on.
- How should SV Agri get higher market share?
- How should they finance additional technology, specifically centered around climate change?
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 http://svagri.co.in/potato-supply-chain Accessed 13 Nov 2017