#2 — Assam’s seed library, Walmart’s entry into India & more

This week at the Food Innovation Program we are understanding supply chains and logistics. In India, we are drawn across extremes. Multiple challenges range from focusing on areas susceptible to hunger to feeding the demand of the growing middle class.

This Rabi season will see a more transparent movement of wheat from Punjab after harvest. Down south, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are seeing interesting movements towards better soil through permaculture and the tightening of policy on herbicide-tolerant crops. Safe food is still a luxury. NITI Aayog’s recently published Nourishing India advocates for consumption of traditional foods for not just a healthy body but a sustainable economy. Not too far away a seed bank in Assam is collecting heirloom rice varieties that can fight their way through climate change. Big investments in cold storage chains and Ag-tech signal small steps towards blu-tacking our fragmented system back together.

And as we see this week, similarities in end goals of safer soil, healthier meals, transparency and food access give us hope for a positive food future

Stay Inspired!

Anusha and Elizabeth

New Policy for Rabi Season
Times of India
Just in time for the Rabi season, the Punjab cabinet agreed on new policies for labour and cartage and transportation of wheat from mandis to the storage points starting 1st April. The new policy encourages transparency in the tender system.

Foodtech in the Eye of a Storm
Inc42 Ishan Singh, the founder of RevStart Incubation Center, writes about what we might expect in 2018 in Ag investment, opportunities in food tech and a big question on everyone’s mind — “to deliver or not to deliver!”

Seed Security for Food Security
Unique traits in heirloom varieties of rice from Assam collected by Mahan Chandra Borah have unique flavours aromas and nutrient characteristics. Out of the 250 varieties, some are even flood resistant and are very adaptive to climate change. Can understanding our traditional seeds be the answer to food security?

Global Gourmet Grows $10 Million

Livemint Rabo Equity, optimistic about the future of frozen food, invested $10 million through its India Agri Business Fund II exporter Global Gourmet. Global Gourmet supplies its products to retailers such as Tesco, McCain, Amul and MTR Foods.

The Promise of Permaculture

Village Square As countries develop, the share of the population working in agriculture is declining. Farmers are giving up on their lands and moving towards urban areas. In 2006 Supriya Gaddam and her husband Anil Reddy began buying land from these farmers and together with Narsanna Koppula started to convert these barren lands into a lush dynamic ecosystem. With 96 acres and growing, this farm is a benchmark for agriculture working with nature, empowering communities, and overcoming existing environmental challenges.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma

Deal Street Asia Omnivore Partners second VC fund get $46 million split over domestic and foreign investors. They look to invest in 18–20 startups in about 4.5 years. Prior investments included agricultural tech startups that impact over 5.2 million farmers directly.

Kill the Herbicides

The News Minute The Andhra Pradesh Government has restricted the usage of herbicides (especially glyphosate) in a recent noteworthy move. Environment activists believe that this would also curb the illegal cultivation of BT cotton.

e-commerce wars

Progressive Grocer By trying to acquire stakes in Flipkart, Amazon’s current e-commerce rival, Walmart is trying hard to gain a foothold in the Indian retail market. Grab some popcorn, while we witness this mega face-off between the retail biggies.

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Nutra Ingredients
National Institute for Transforming India (NITI Aayog)’s nutrition status report, sheds light on the effects of malnutrition in kids aged under 5. By highlighting stunting, wasting and anaemia as common problems, an accompanying document also discusses a few key strategies to combat malnutrition.

Suggestions or feedback? please drop us a note on edibleissues@gmail.com, we’d love to hear from you!

Originally published at tinyletter.com/edibleissues .