Project Zaraat: Reducing Post-Harvest Losses and Uplifting Farmers in India

Jaganlal is a farmer who grows vegetables on his small farm. He harvests his produce and takes it to the local mandi to sell. He can’t store the vegetables because the cold storage facilities are far away from his place, and most of the time he can’t afford them. To prevent the vegetables from rotting and getting spoiled, Jaganlal sells his produce in Mandi, at a price that can barely meet his costs. Making profits and earning sustainable money seems like a far-fetched dream for a small farmer like Jaganlal.

Agriculture is a major sector in India, contributing significantly to the country’s economy and providing livelihoods to millions of people. However, one of the major challenges faced by farmers in India is post-harvest losses. 

Post-Harvest losses refer to the losses taking place after harvesting but before final consumption, the primary cause of which is a lack of proper storage and transportation facilities.

According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), India loses around 30%-40% of its agricultural produce due to poor post-harvest management practices. This amounts to agricultural losses of 93,000 crores per year. This not only leads to economic losses for farmers but also affects food security and availability.

To minimize the post-harvest loss and to make a difference in the agricultural sector, a team of young professionals commenced project Zaraat. Project Zaraat is an initiative by Enactus DCAC for the upliftment of small and marginal farmer communities. The goal of this project is to create a self-sustaining social enterprise that focuses on improving the supply chain management of agricultural produce. 

The project has set up solar powered portable storages in its communities, where the produce is stored in a controlled micro climate environment to prevent spoilage and damage. The project also provides training to farmers on proper harvesting, handling, and storage techniques, which can help reduce losses.

Starting from Chilla Village in 2021, Project Zaraat has now expanded to four other farming communities including 2 states – Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and continues to make a difference in the agricultural sector.

Staying true to its aim, Project Zaraat has reduced post-harvest losses by a whopping 60% and minimized energy consumption by 20%. Generating a revenue of more than 3.7 lakhs and directly impacting the lives of more than 250 farmers, Zaraat has now become a harbinger of hope for farming communities across 3 states.

This journey of Zaraat has been widely recognized for its profound impact by reputed platforms across the country including The Hindustan Times, Krishi Jagran, and more. Our efforts were further applauded by Mr.Anurag Kumar Singh, Deputy Manager at the Agriculture Skill Council of India. Enactus DCAC has also represented India at the Enactus World Cup 2022 held in San Juan, Puerto Rico with their flagship Project Zaraat.

Project Zaraat’s efforts toward reducing post-harvest losses and uplifting farmers in India are commendable. By creating a self-sustaining social enterprise that focuses on improving the supply chain management of agricultural produce, the project has made a significant impact on the livelihoods of farmers in rural areas. As India continues to face challenges in the agriculture sector, initiatives like Project Zaraat can provide innovative solutions and help build a more sustainable and equitable agriculture system.

Know more about their work: Project Zaraat Website

Vani Joshi

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