Noida-based start-up takes commodities storage solutions to farmers’ doorstep

Agricultural start-up firm Arya Collateral Warehousing Services Ltd has come up with an innovative storage technology that can help set up storages at farm gates within two days. More importantly, it takes the storage to the doorstep of growers.

Noida-based Arya has been using this storage system called Hermetic Storage over the last five years on a trial basis even as the Food Corporation of India (FCI) or State procurement agencies are looking for such solutions that will end open sky storages such as cover and plinth (CAP) storage.

Union Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey told the media earlier this year that the CAP storage that leaves stored commodities at the mercy of rains, floods and rodents will not be used from this year.

Democratising storage

“Arya has been using this storage technology in field trials since 2016. We found Hermetic Storage to meet our needs when we were looking at innovative models to enable storage or creation of storage,” said Prasanna Rao, Arya Collateral’s Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The Hermetic Storage is a method of using sealed, airtight units or bags to control moisture and pests in stored agricultural commodities. It also helps in storing organic commodities without any use of pesticides.

Since the start-up works in the primary sector closest to the farm-gate, aggregation and storage of farm produce are pivotal value chain activities, he said. “However, the deeper you go into the villages of this country, the bigger the gaps in storage and warehousing. Hermetics democratises storage by taking storage to the doorstep of farmers,” Rao said.

Arya stores commodities in small gunny bags and places them in a big bag or tent-like structure that is safe and secure. Commodities stored in this storage are not affected by rains and floods. “This has been tested even in Chennai floods,” said the start-up CEO adding that till now the maximum period the firm had stored agricultural produce in the storage was seven months.

“So far Arya has implemented about 15,000 tonnes of hermetic storages across the country,” Rao said.

Advantages

Such storage has some advantages. “Hermetic storage can be set up at the farm gate. It is flexible, can be put up at short notice and at any place. Apart from versatility and mobility, the structure also provides for upkeep of the quality of commodities without any chemical intervention,” said Rao.

Also, this is the only available technology to store organically produced commodities across the world. The Hermetic storage does not use methyl bromide fumigation or water for spraying, thus contributing to climate smart efforts.

Inherent problems

However, there are inherent issues with the Hermetic Storage as it is currently procured through imports. “Hence, it is costly for Indian conditions,” said the Arya Collateral CEO, adding that his start-up was making efforts to make these locally available.

Rao did not disclose details from where the storage is being procured but indications are that it is being imported from the US and Europe. Since Hermetic Storage is imported, it currently costs ₹4.5-5 lakh for a system with a capacity to store 270 tonnes.

“The cost is a disadvantage as it is not manufactured locally. The system is not considered worthy of storage commodity finance,” the Arya Collateral CEO said.