Investing in innovation and infrastructure in the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables
Investments in traceability innovations and cold chain infrastructures can reduce post-harvest loss in the fruit and vegetable sector.
January 28, 2021
Fruits and vegetables are essential for human nutrition. But they’re also beneficial to the food system: the fruit and vegetable sector can help benefit global efforts to generate environmental sustainability, increase biodiversity, and improve the livelihoods of farmers and employees along the value chains.
IYFV 2021 aims to raise awareness on the important role of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition, food security, and health, and in achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The campaign encourages a holistic look at the fruit and vegetable sector as an integral part of the food system. To address some of the food loss and waste issues particularly pertinent to the sector will require investment in areas like traceability, cold chains, and transportation infrastructure.
Digital technologies trace fresh produce to its source
Innovation, improved technologies, and infrastructure are critical to increase the efficiency and productivity within fruit and vegetable supply chains to reduce loss and waste — a substantial challenge considering the high perishability of fruits and vegetables. That’s where focused investment in digital innovation can help.
Digital innovation makes it possible to track and trace fresh produce from production to consumption. More large-scale retailers are adopting traceability protocols, creating new market opportunities for producers who can comply with the retailer’s quality and safety standards. Traceability also reduces losses and waste and makes the value chain more transparent, something consumers increasingly value.
Further, new traceability practices that use digital technology help ensure food safety and quality, optimize supply chains, and reduce loss by making spoilage problems readily detectable. Traceability also helps mitigate and manage risks associated with food safety recalls.
One increasingly popular method of traceability is blockchain, because it connects all the stakeholders’ digital records and events in a tamper-resistant format. The information can be accessed at any point from anywhere, yet it cannot be edited or deleted.
Increases in trade have also been made possible through innovations in distribution technology and logistics that have cut transport costs and delivery times. Fresh produce is now available and affordable year-round in many places.
Cold chain investments for fruitful trade
Up to 50 percent of fruits and vegetables produced in developing countries are lost in the supply chain between harvest and consumption. India is the second largest producer of fruit and vegetables after China, yet it struggles with excessive waste in its supply chains.
Most farmers in India cultivate less than four hectares and sell their produce to the local mandi, which distributes to a vast informal network of 15 million kiranas, the small-family-owned retail outlets where most Indians purchase their food.
This short domestic supply chain from farm to mandi to kirana to table is critical given that India has only enough cold chain capacity for 10 percent of the perishable food it produces.
India’s cold storage and transportation network needs to increase its capacity by 61 million metric tons at an investment of more than $10 billion, not including annual costs for management and maintenance.
Investing in innovation and infrastructure to solve these challenges helps ensure that fruits and vegetables are available, accessible, and affordable to everyone — fundamental if we hope to achieve food security and combat malnutrition around the world in the years ahead.
Traditional rice farming techniques in India are becoming environmentally unsustainable. Direct Seeded Rice (DSR) is an alternative resource-efficient technology that minimizes the environmental impact of rice farming while improving farmer livelihoods. Corteva Agriscience’s integrated rice farming program helps farmers better understand and realize the benefits of DSR. Rice farming in Asia Rice is the staple food […]
The Mosaic Company is working to equip farmers with the tools to harness the fertility power of soil health. Through new products like the Sus-Terra Fertilizer and partnerships with BioConsortia, Sound Agriculture, and AgBiome, The Mosaic Company is forging a new future for fertilizer technology that enhances and utilizes soil’s natural ecological microbial biome. What […]
Deere & Company is not only working to improve productivity on the farm but also in the factory by bringing connectivity to rural America. Deere’s manufacturing facilities are very complex environments that rely heavily on internet connectivity and access. Advanced internet connectivity enables Deere & Company to fully embrace the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, […]
A coalition of researchers and scientists at Bayer Crop Science are working together to protect the world’s most popular banana variety from the Tropical Race 4 fungal pathogen. TR4, also named Panama Disease, is a new fungal pathogen threatening the future of the Cavendish banana, which accounts for 95% of banana production. Over 400 million […]
By 2050, the world’s population is expected to double and the demand for protein is expected to dramatically increase. Sustainable food production is critical to feeding people across the world with nutritionally important protein — something Smithfield Foods is taking to heart as the largest hog producer in the U.S. Smithfield Foods is continually researching […]