Many innovative agricultural production and marketing projects have been underway in South Asia, with intentions for increasing acess to fruits and vegetable crops and improving nutrition. These include greenhouse production, home gardening, intensive raised bed cultivation, linking farmers to markets, etc. But there is another part of the value chain or commodity system that is less likely to be researched or promoted -- innovative postharvest handling, storage, processing and distribution practices that ensure that the high quality foods grown on farms or in home gardens make it to the table and provide nutritious food for rural and urban communities.
Since the 1990s there have been several "Postharvest Technology" focused projects in South Asia that can provide some examples of small-scale innovative practices that link ag and food and support improved nutrition. Dr. S K Roy's 100% utilization concept was described in an earlier FSN online discussion (see p.15 in the proceedings).
Empowering women in the postharvest technology sector can promote improved nutition for them and their families. "Panchayat and Economic empowerment of rural women by hands on Training" by NagaLaxmi M. Raman* and Neeru Dubey .
A reference work that is full of examples of innovative processing practices for South Asia is:
Postharvest Management of Fruit and Vegetables in the Asia-Pacific Region
©APO 2006, ISBN: 92-833-7051-1
Food losses in South Asia are known to be on the order of 30 to 50%. Investments in time and money that are made to increase food production without paying attention to the postharvest practices that can reduce losses, add value, extend shelf life and protect foods from nutitional loss often will be wasted resources.