India, as we’ve seen in the last few issues, has an increasingly growing entrepreneurial ecosystem with startups focusing on innovation and technology. When we think tech, seldom do we move beyond Bangalore, Delhi or Mumbai. This week we’re looking beyond these cities into India’s largest state (by area) — Rajasthan.
Although Rajasthan may be consumed by over 70% of the inhospitable Thar desert it has created a fertile land for start-ups in agriculture and food tech.
Collaborations with Israel to improve ag tech and grow olives was just the beginning. Rajasthan has access to only 1% of India’s total water resources. Farms like Urban Kisan use 90% less water by adopting hydroponics to supply fresh food all-year-round.
Innovation in food production is not just for humans but for cattle too. Cattle Mettle is creating sustainable cattle feed from existing natural vegetation and farm-food waste.
Food waste in India predominantly occurs post-harvest due to inaccessible or poorly maintained warehousing. Startups like Apna Godom track down unutilized spaces and make them affordable and available for farmers.
With all this tech, tradition is not forgotten. Brands like Sattviko have merged heritage, convenience, taste, and nutrition promoting ayurvedic foods.
Less water and scant arable land have driven Rajasthan to innovate and create new visions towards food.
In this week’s issue, we see obstacles in food safety and policy. But these give us windows of opportunity to build an integrated food system, together.
Anusha and Elizabeth
Move out, move up
The Hindu: India should adopt a policy that encourages farmers to move to urban areas to deal with the agricultural crisis, says Shenngen Fan, the head of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Discussing how this move would help in urban farming and better usage of technology in agriculture, he also spoke about improving the non-farming opportunities for rural India.
Aadhaar is devouring India’s hungry
News Laundry: People from 12+ states gathered in New Delhi under RTFC (Right to Food Campaign) to fight against violation of their fundamental food rights. This was in wake of multiple starvation-related deaths, where victims were denied ration supplies due to lack of Aadhaar/biometric issues etc.
Future of Protein
Vegan First: GoodDot, the plant-based meat company, has now launched two vegetarian and vegan food trucks in Udaipur. Offering a wide range of plant meat-based dishes like Mock meat Tikka, these food trucks will soon be expanding to 5 more cities.
India’s seas are gasping for oxygen and this could affect fishing
Mongabay: India’s oceans are losing oxygen slowly and these zones are expanding due to rising temperatures. What does this mean for the fishes and fisheries that provide a livelihood for millions in the country?
In other news:
- We want a GM-free India, says this coalition in its latest letter to the FSSAI.
- Meet Happy Hens, India’s first brand of free-range eggs, where birds are treated more humanely.
- KFC is trying hard to find its feet in the food delivery game, with its stealth kitchens.
- Indian processed food manufacturer, Himalaya foods plans to open 500 vegetarian restaurants in India.
- Scientists in IIFPT are experimenting with a lactose-free millet ice cream which has 59% fewer calories.
Originally published at mailchi.mp on March 22, 2018
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