Home > FOSS in India Supporting Developments in Dairy and Grain

FOSS in India Supporting Developments in Dairy and Grain

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FOSS  opened a new sales subsidiary in India earlier this year. As the new company settles into place, In Focus asked managing director, Anurag Bhatnagar about ways in which FOSS can support food and agriculture production in the world’s second most populous country.

“It is a big question, but I’ll try to answer it,” says Bhatnagar in reference to main developments in the dynamic Indian food and agriculture sector.

For FOSS in India, the two main focus areas at present are in the developing grain and dairy industries. In grain for instance, improvements in crop yields in the region of 3-4% have been seen in recent years. “That’s actually a huge growth,” says Bhatnagar.

However, demand for quality control equipment is still limited. For main crops such as wheat and rice, there is a minimum support price decided by the Ministry of Agriculture, and most procurement is done on the basis of these prices rather than on quality. In recent years however, large corporations have started to drive progress towards quality-based payment systems. “We see this as an area for growth,” says Bhatnagar.

The related biofuel industry is still in its infancy, but with signs of impending rapid growth. The main issue is raw material. There is little chance of using corn or sugar cane for fuel because of demand for conventional consumption. India is looking to alternative sources such as the nonedible oil seeds obtained from a plant called Jatropha. Jatropha seeds are high yielding and well-suited to biodiesel production, and the plant grows well on arid marginal land. Although commercial planting of this oilseed is yet to take off, many companies are now working towards improving the acreage of this crop.

Dairy Industry Evolution

In the dairy industry, production is dominated by large cooperatives where established traditions and routines die hard. Change is at hand though with three states due to receive significant investment in dairy production through India’s next five year plan. Further development is being fuelled by private companies investing in their own dairy production facilities.

Evolution in the sector is also being driven by changing consumer habits with a shift to packaged milk and an increased consumption of dairy products like cheese. Quite a few varieties are now available and special cheese plants are being set up outside the traditional cooperative system, although consumption still only represents a small percentage of milk production.

Growing Importance of Analysis

Overall, Bhatnagar expects a steady growth in demand for analytical solutions. “Even though there will not be a huge investment in the processing side, improvements in the process itself will necessitate the use of analysis instruments,” he says. “We see a lot of potential for FOSS solutions to support growth in the food and agricultural sectors.”

The new company is headquartered in Mumbai with branch offices in Bangalore, Coimbatore, Delhi and Hyderabad.

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