The perception of the sector has seen a marked shift from infrastructure focus to a process driven scientific warehousing. When we speak of best warehousing practices, our focus should be on process oriented methodology which will eventually turn the face of the sector.
The companies in varied sectors are adopting asset light model which lets them operate through leased infrastructure. The compilation of the model coupled with process efficiency will lead the way in agriculture sector required for the post harvest period. There are companies like SLCM (Sohan Lal Commodity Management) Group which has focussed on technological advancement for post harvest crop management in existing buildings on leased model. This has not only helped us in proving our scientific capability but also allowed us to efficiently use the ignored buildings for warehousing purposes irrespective of its condition. Being at the forefront of innovation & with experience of handling about 157 commodities, SLCM has created an in-house SOP ‘AGRI REACH’ that helps us to replicate the processes on any infrastructure agnostic of the geography, weather or the kind of crop & provide savings of 9.5% on the value of the crop handled. The ability of the group is proven by making a warehouse operational within 48 hours & delivers the same efficiencies.
Building infrastructure is not only a capital intensive task, but it increases the possibility of passing the cost to the end consumer. In this case, the end consumer is the farmer or someone from the similar fraternity who needs to store his crop post harvest safely. Looking at the current scenario, the farmer, who is struggling for even the basic facilities, is not willing or doesn’t have the capacity to travel for the purpose of storing crops to the designated warehouses as the costs incurred are high and may take a large part of his earnings. As the costs of daily needs are already inflated, he is compelled to do distress selling. Moreover, it is quite impractical to create warehouses in every remote corner, mainly because of the costs and also once the stored crop is moved out, the owner has to wait for the next storage period.
One other major aspect is that when the crops are imported, they are largely exposed for a long duration without wastage, even on voyages, irrespective of the infrastructure. It is ironical that we have not been able to ascertain the need of the sector or of the consumer and have not been able to mark the shift from infrastructure to technology based processes. Most of the Post harvest agri logistics Groups use outdated technology and systems which are incapable of meeting current and projected requirements. India has just awakened to the tremendous potential of technology-driven innovation in the burgeoning sector. There are very few agri warehousing companies in india that are receptive to the fact that technology can help them reduce costs and improve efficiency in their businesses and overall scenario.
While self sufficiency in food grain output is laudable, it is equally distressing to note that every year, an enormous amount of food stock gets wasted due to archaic procurement, storage and warehousing methods. Typical storage losses for agri products in India account for approximately 10 per cent of the entire goods. This results in huge burden on the economy because it leads to inflation as additional supplies could have helped cool down prices and two, this production can go a long way in providing food to millions of poor people in India at highly subsidised rates.