Integrity across the
‘farm to fork’ chain
by D V R Rajiv Mohan, Vice President – Commodities, ITC Limited – Agri Business Division, Hyderabad, India he ‘Farm to Fork’ chain, encompassing production, harvesting, storage, processing, packaging and sales, has seen emphasis shifting from efficiencies and effectiveness to a plethora of areas like hygiene, food safety and sustainability. From being features of exclusivity in the food economy, these aspects have now become the basic
requirements. The global milling conference addressing grain production and distribution, food quality and processing while protecting the environment, aptly covered these areas which are extremely relevant given the current dynamics on both the supply and demand sides for the milling industry in India, further accentuated by the recent food hygiene and regulation related issues. As regards to quality and environment, the ‘Farm to Fork’ chain is beset with a host of complexities. Gone are the days when a fist full of grain verified for colour and odour sufficed the millers’ requirement and a bite with the teeth gave an indication of the moisture, today we have to contend with a host of contaminants – pesticides residues, heavy metals, dyes and additives and so on. On the environment front, pollution and contamination problems apart from energy related issues are to be addressed.
42 | October 2015 - Milling and Grain
How do we cope with this situation? Who takes the responsibility and what are the solutions? Firstly, Food Safety and Environment Protection needs to become a norm. It is no longer an exception but a necessity. Secondly, millers need to realise that the end product can be of the desired quality and safety, only when all legs of the chain are compliant to the norms of Food Safety and Sustainability. Finally, it has to be everybody’s responsibility across the ‘Farm to Fork’ chain to honour food quality and environment protection - farmer, miller and brand owner, all put together. Amongst the key reasons for this thrust on food safety, quality and environment protection are: • Customer health and well being • Food security for future – healthy and sustainable food chains • Preservation of bio diversity – ecological balance • Energy efficiency and conservation of natural resources • Managing the complexity of fragmented production and multiorigin sourcing • Global competitiveness – market access by bridging the gap with mature markets • Brand Equity and market standing Towards the goal of creating an absolutely safe and responsible food chain we need to focus on the agri value chain. Today we have a scenario where the international brands are either catering to the high end luxury segment or they are over dependent on