Food and Agriculture

Ensuring food is produced, available, and accessible in sufficient quantities at all times for everyone post COVID19 .

 The present crisis has put India’s food value chains and the policies governing them to test. Some of the challenges that food production and distribution faced during the crisis, such as labour availability, are likely to persist long into the recovery phase. It is therefore important to design policies and processes that enable faster recovery and ensure that the goal of doubling farmers’ income is achieved.   

 The projects under this topic shall aid the Government and the private sector make informed decisions w.r.t.: 

  • Ensure food value chains recover quickly 
  • Overcome immediate challenges in access to resources and markets  
  • Develop robust policies and supply chains (both government and private) that can withstand future shocks 

These require critical examination of all parts of the food value chain, starting from inputs for agricultural production to last-mile delivery for consumption.  


Projects under this topic are:

Project  1 : Analysis of paddy procurement operations in Punjab for Kharif 2019-20 

Faculty: Ashwini Chhatre, Aaditya Dar, Sarang Deo & Sripad Devalkar 

Project Brief: The trends of paddy arrivals in the past years exhibit significant variation in spatial and  temporal  patterns  of  arrivals  across  districts,  market  centres  and  months.  Variations  in harvest  dates,  connectivity  to  purchase  centres,  proximity  between  purchase  centres  and production dominant areas and size of purchase centres lead to the 15 days of major arrivals being  different  across  different  purchase  centres.  Further,  these procurement  windows  are marked by days of peak arrivals, with quantity received on the peak days being as high as 8 times the average quantity received per day in some centres. The need to maintain physical distancing requirements to prevent spread of COVID-19 infections during the procurement season posed a set of unique challenges to the normal functioning of agricultural markets. To meet this challenge, the GoP implemented a staggered procurement process to “flatten” the wheat arrival curve from 15 days to 45 days and control the number of people present in a purchase centre on any given day. To achieve this, the government implemented the following measures:

  • Control the number of farmers arriving at any purchase centre on a given day by issuing tokens to farmers and allowing only farmers with a valid token to bring their grains.
  • Open temporary purchase centres for operation to reduce the total quantity received in any given centre.

The government would like to i) document the impact of the procurement process implemented this Rabi season, ii) draw lessons from the current implementation to refine the process for procurement of paddy in Kharif 2020-21 and possibly as a regular procurement process in the future.

The project will involve understanding institutional and operational details of paddy procurement operations, collation and analysis of  historical data  on  arrivals,  purchases,  and transport of paddy from the various purchase centres for 2019-20. 

Project 2 : Analysis of wheat procurement in Punjab for Rabi 2020 and lessons for future  

Faculty: Ashwini Chhatre, Aaditya Dar, Sarang Deo & Sripad Devalkar 

Project Brief : The  trends  of  wheat  arrivals  in  past  years  exhibit  significant  variation  in  spatial  and temporal patterns of arrivals across districts, market centres and months. Most of the grains arriving at  a  given  purchase  centre  arrive  within  a  period  of  15  days.  Variations  in  harvest  dates, connectivity  to  purchase  centres,  proximity  between  purchase  centres  and  production  dominant areas  and size  of  purchase  centres  lead  to  the  15  days  of  major  arrivals  being  different  across different  purchase  centres.  Further,  these procurement  windows  are  marked  by  days  of  peak arrivals,  with  quantity  received  on  the  peak  days being as  high  as 8  times  the average  quantity received per day in some centres. The project will involve understanding institutional and operational details of procurement operations, analysing data on arrivals, purchases, and transport of grains from the various purchase centres, scenario modelling and interpreting results of scenario analysis to draw lessons for improving the design of procurement operations for other agricultural commodities. 

Project 3 :  Branding & Marketing strategy for Telangana Sona rice 

Faculty: Madhu Vishwanathan, S Arunachalam & Manish Gangwar 

Project Brief : Telengana Sona (RNR 15048) is a new paddy variety developed by Telengana State Agricultural university with characteristics such as fine grain, high yielding quality and blast resistance. It grows in a relatively shorter time (125 days vs the average of 150 days) and is suitable for cultivation in both kharif and rabi seasons. This variety produces short slender grains, has less broken percentage, good head rice recovery, and high yield potential making it a good premium variety for the farmer to grow. From the perspective of rice millers, it leads to less broken grain (wastage) after milling and for the end consumer of paddy, Telangana Sona, has the lowest glycemic index among all known varieties of paddy, and the composition of protein, carbohydrates, energy, niacin (vitamin B3) is also higher in comparison to other popular varieties of paddy. 

 Telangana government is promoting the cultivation of superfine variety of paddy, Telangana Sona, across the state. Currently, the Telangana Sona rice has a relatively small market and is primarily consumed within the state. With increasing incidence of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, the demand for healthier options to traditional diets is increasing. Given the health benefits of the new paddy variety and the push by government to expand cultivation, it is felt that with proper branding and marketing, the market for Telangana Sona rice can be expanded all over India and possibly other countries where rice is a staple cereal.  

 The project involves a) identifying key stakeholders for the paddy variety among consumers, distributors and manufacturers, b) assessing market size potential and c), exploring barriers to expansion with respect to consumers, competition and capabilities. Analysis will involve a study of relevant case studies, primary and secondary data collection, quantitative modeling and interpreting of results to create a marketing plan and branding strategy for Telengana Sona.