Food Production

Our obsession with scale: Time to rethink on local, decentralized food production

Can Centralised Food systems ensure a Sustainable Future for Our Food Supply?

Reports show that around 26% of the global greenhouse emissions can be attributed to modern production systems. Also, food supply chains account for around 18% of global warming. For example, your favourite chocolate hazelnut spread may have cocoa from Ghana, hazelnut from Turkey, palm oil from Indonesia and sugar from India. Apart from the problems of global warming, a significant chunk of nutrition is lost and a lot of preservatives and chemicals are added to increase the shelf life. The mass production system also makes little sense for countries like India with 86% of farmers with less than 2 hectares of land who are not able to make good bargains due to no scale.  

Future of food

“Today it’s not about how big you are, but how connected you are”

Aggregation and mass procurement might have made sense when the farming systems were distant and supply chain planning needed accurate information. But now as we move into the world of block chains, with good internet penetration in remote corners of India, decentralized production is the way forward. Apart from ICT, there has also been a lot of innovation in making efficient small scale processing technology. For example, there are a lot of small food processing machinery which can easily work on single phase in the remote rural corners. Access to information to farmers helps in adoption to organic farming for small and marginal farmers as natural farming reduces the input cost.  So is the stage all set to drive these local systems and change the face of food production systems

Encouraging Customers: What If They Made More Informed Food Decisions? 

The present food system frequently restricts what consumers can choose. This is about empowering customers to make educated decisions as much as it is about assisting farmers. In an ideal world, they would have access to ingredients that are chemical-free, premium, and fresh.
This is the role of decentralized production. Transparency is increased when production is dispersed across smaller communities. When combined with heightened consumer awareness, this transparency enables individuals to make knowledgeable food decisions. When making purchasing decisions, they can take into account variables like location, personal preference, and even their own values (promoting small companies and lessening environmental effect).

This trend is already underway. The demand for locally sourced and eco-friendly products has fuelled the growth of small-scale food artisans. Consumers are increasingly interested in supporting these local enterprises and understanding exactly where their food comes from. A survey conducted in March 2022 in India highlighted this perfectly: 70% of Indians preferred to buy locally produced products, with concerns about climate change being a major factor. Changes in the food system, along with growing consumer awareness, are creating a situation where informed food choices are not only possible but increasingly desired.

How HoYi Makes Informed Choices a Reality

HoYi means 'Yes' in Uttarakhand and some other regions of India. HoYi is a brand nurtured by GramSe Agritech, a social enterprise based out of Uttarakhand. HoYi works with small and marginal women farmers of Uttarakhand and co-creating amazing value-added, traceable products from freshly harvested produce. The brand is also solving the problem of market access to the women farmers in remote areas by making premium quality value added products from their produce. However, the country needs many more brands like HoYi to reach the new definition of scale!

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