Food Supply Chain Needs to Empower Rural Societies

Original Post Source

In a bid to help augment the earnings of rural communities, the Ministry of Agriculture is trying to link the processing and packaging industries with the rural food supply chain. 
“Pre and post-production operations undertaken outside villages due to lack of infrastructure and skilled human resources, must now be transferred to rural areas,” said Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati, addressing a meeting on rural development.  
A food supply chain or food system refers to the processes that describe how food from a farm ends up on the table. The processes include production, processing, distribution, consumption and disposal.
Commonly, the production phase is carried out by farmers and their produce is sold to factory owners and retailers to undergo other stages of the supply chain. This means that rural communities do not reap the profits of the value added amounts in the process. 
“The sale of raw produce to factories must be avoided and farm products should be processed at the place of production so that farmers can directly benefit from the generated wealth,” Hojjati was quoted as saying by the Iranian Agriculture News Agency (IANA). 
Development of infrastructure would meet the wider needs of rural communities and also address their need for jobs and social upliftment, he said.
Further, the ministry is making efforts to create new productive capacities such as greenhouse cultivation and fish farming in cages to empower rural and nomadic populations. To do so, it has taken steps to identify the potentials of each region.
“The cultivation of medicinal herbs is for instance neglected and has huge capacity. It has been put on the agenda.”  Agriculture sector generates 32.5% of the total value added in the country and roughly 10% of the gross domestic product. 
Enhancement of the agricultural economy will not only help achieve sustainable development in rural areas, but also boost national development parameters such as food security and productive employment. 
Expanding technical knowledge, supporting nomadic communities and rural women, reforming the irrigation system and promoting syndicates are among other measures on the ministry’s agenda in the rural sector. 
Risk management policies and insurance coverage have been the key steps to help improve business practices in the rural regions. 
In terms of environmental protection, the ministry has conducted certain projects such as watershed management, curbing desertification and afforestation. 

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