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india 2013: initial reflection

As you drive down the streets in India, it does not take long to realize that the dogs on the side of the road are a microcosm for much of the country: An incomprehensible population density, they float in packs, and seem eternally happy despite what an average American may expect in sharing their living conditions. Continue reading

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milking the system — india days 5 & 6

January 9 & 10

At face value, the cooperative system of India’s dairy industry seems like an economically sustainable and just system: Individual farmers should have the power to make collective decisions. However, as demonstrated between our vastly contrasting visits to a dairy in Pune, and Schreiber Dynamix Dairies Ltd., also in Pune, the system literally can be milked. 

The two systems could not have been any different. Continue reading

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1% of india = a business opportunity — india day 4

January 8

In stark contrast to Sula Vineyard’s slight pessimism about the 1% market for wine in India, FreshTrop Fruit in Nashik has a different perspective: 1%, or even 0.5% of the population in India is a business opportunity. Even a small percentage of one billion is still a lot of people! Continue reading

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india’s disparity: from morning train station to region’s top vineyard — india day 3

January 7

I have seen countless horror photos of malnourished children and adults with arms the diameter of a broomstick, but never before have I stood face to face with them.

Because my group is so small — only eight students — our course coordinators opted to send us from Aurangabad to Nashik via train. The above was the sight we encountered in the train station that morning, just barely before 5am. Dozens of people buried under all of their belongings, trying to keep warm from India’s unseasonably cool weather.

I have only experienced a train once before, but that was last year in Italy. Continue reading

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a [real life] picture says a thousand words: india day 2

January 5

Our small group had the privilege of joining Naresh Jain, an associate at Bhakti Soya Pvt. Ltd, for a few hours filled with analyzing the value addition of soybean processing: from the agricultural product market to the soy processing plant.

The morning began at Jaina market, where we observed the process by which soybeans and other locally grown crops are sold. According to Jain, India’s market infrastructure is owned and operated by the government; Continue reading

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my textbooks definitely did not prepare me for this: India 2013

As a winter session course in Cornell’s International Agriculture & Rural Development department, I have had the opportunity to travel to India during the month of January to study their agricultural system. My particular group project is related to value addition of crops in India’s agricultural economy, and we have/will have the opportunity to see such first-hand. I plan to document a variety of reflections throughout the trip, as Internet access allows.  Continue reading