Agriculture is the principal source of livelihood for more than 58 percent of India’s population and contributes 15 percent of the country’s GDP. The Green Revolution in the 1960’s put India on the path of food self –sufficiency. Since the 1990’s however India’s agriculture sector continues to lag global productivity levels.
The agriculture sector continues to be challenged by several factors such as land fragmentation and land holding patterns that perpetuate the marginal and subsistence nature of the Indian farm. The average size of the operational holdings continues to decline. More than 83% of farming households have landholdings of less than two acres, limiting access to technology, capital and markets. Soil degradation and water stressed cultivable land, continue to inhibit productivity while prevalent farming practices, add pressure to the environmental footprint of this sector.
Lack of post-harvest infrastructure and weak value chain linkages have resulted in post-harvest losses that are in the region of 30% for fruit and vegetables. Rising per capital income, and shifting consumption patterns from cereal to include fruits, vegetables and milk contribute to spiraling food inflation levels. Food processing levels continue to be very low at 2% , offering limited levels of value addition.
Increasing agricultural production with limited natural resources in a sustainable manner for ensuring food and nutritional security, creating a vibrant food processing sector and providing assured incomes to farmers are a key national priority.
It is in this context that CII announced setting up of the CII – Jubilant Bhartia Food and Agriculture Centre of Excellence (CII-FACE). The Centre will endeavor to build capacity while leveraging technology and innovation to improve productivity and the environmental footprint of agriculture. It will focus on introducing efficiencies across the supply chain, right from the farm gate to the end consumer.