Note: This blog post was originally published on the MIT Public Service Center website. It’s the eighth post in a blog series sharing findings from a research project I’m working on throughout the month of January.
January 23, 2012
Paul Artiuch and Sam Kornstein are graduate students at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Throughout the month of January they are in India researching market-oriented approaches to reducing agricultural food waste. They will be sharing their project scope and some of their findings in this blog series.
Earlier this month, we visited Azadpur Mandi, the largest wholesale produce market in Asia. We found that while the marketplace is extraordinarily chaotic, it’s actually quite efficient, and little food goes to waste once it reaches the city. Since then, we’ve spent some time in rural areas, meeting with farmers, commission agents, traders, academics, and start-up companies. It’s become clear that some of the most significant causes of food waste in India include inadequate storage facilities, limited processing capacity, government program inefficiencies, and as well as some economic challenges related to cold storage and capital investment capabilities.
As we made our way down to West India through Rajasthan, we visited the central retail market in Udaipur as well as the wholesale market located at the city’s edge. These regional produce hubs also proved be to well-organized and efficient, and despite a lack of cold storage facilities altogether, there wasn’t much waste to be found.