1 Sept 2021

Drones to Deliver Vaccines?!?


In recent months, there was hype in the media about using drones – remote controlled small flying craft – to deliver vaccines. The banter got excited when a government agency invited drone operators to set up a pilot project for delivering medical supplies. It was promptly assumed drones would be to supply COVID19 vaccine to poorly connected rural areas, especially villages in remote mountain regions.

The premise for considering such a vaccine delivery mechanism inferred that many rural parts of India do not have suitable infrastructure and roads to enable last-mile connectivity. I was reached out, for opinion and guidance on how drones could safely bridge the gaps in cold-chain logistics for vaccines.

My immediate response was that the idea is inefficient at multiple levels and I saw no urgent purpose to use drones for delivering these vaccines.

28 Aug 2021

India's Policy Pathway to a Food System

Discussion Paper

‘Game changing’ policies, actions & initiatives of the Government of India that shaped the path for a sustainable Food System


The background to this paper is the United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021 (UNFSS) and a review of the 'game changing' interventions that were identified and documented in the five theme documents prepared for this Summit. In turn, it triggered a recap of the various policy actions taken by India in developing its current day Food System. It was seen that many of the initiatives taken in India have been along the lines that fulfil the criteria laid down by the UNFSS. 

The UNFSS has defined three primary criteria to prioritise ‘Game changing’ policies, actions & initiatives across the identified action areas.  These criteria are Impact potential at scale; Actionability (taking into account politics, capacity, costs, tools); and Sustainability (including delivering beyond 2030). Further, it suggests ‘game changing’ solutions should support towards gender equity, empowering youth, and create synergies. 

The concept of 'Food System' - the complex web of activities involving the production, processing, transport, and consumption of food - is about adopting a system approach to how we think and act in relation to food. Note, that while the Food System is inherently linked with agricultural activities, it does not include all of agriculture.

25 Jan 2021

Visoning the Cold chain in 2021

 Farming can no longer be relegated merely to serfdom functions of cultivation, rearing, harvesting or catching of produce. Production alone cannot be seen as a sufficient condition! The new favoured approach includes ensuring that the production off farms is translated into wholesome delivery at demand side. A long overdue emphasis on post-production activities is coming to fore. 

Production delivered, in-full, in-quality and in-time, is farming fulfilled; naturally demanding that agri-logistics be seen as a secondary agricultural activity. This is why, in case of high value perishables cold-chain is imperative. It is the sole means to safely handle and transfer perishable value in the post-production phase of their marketable life-cycle. Farm production, to varying degrees, is dependent on biological factors but once harvested, the perishable produce must connect with consumption and within a predetermined time-line. By perishables, I include in meaning all fresh produce with an inherent expiry – such as fruits, vegetables, meats, fish and milk. 

A surreal dream becomes a persuasive vision... when it is rooted in some tractable ground realities.