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Plans afoot to set up nationwide cold storage chains for fruits…
Chanakya, 1st Mar 2012, Posted in: blog, Grassroots Entrepreneurship, The economy!,

Annually, 25% of the of the 230 million tonnes of fruits and vegetables finds its way into the garbage cans – For a developing country like India, with aspirations of moving up the world economic pecking order, it is a hard fact to digest. The encouraging fact regarding this waste generating system is that there are positive signals coming out of the Union Agriculture ministry, with concrete plans afoot to invest in cold chain infrastructure for fruits in the upcoming financial year.

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An illustration of milk cold-chain is given below. A similar prototype can form the blueprint for the perishable food segment cold chain…

Image credit: www.emeraldinsight.com

Sensible collaboration

The union agriculture ministry has joined hands with ‘Fresh & Healthy Enterprises’, a 100% subsidiary of the government owned Container Corporation of India with the goal of forming a ‘Special Purpose Vehicle’ (SPV). This indigenous SPV is aimed at providing end-to-end cooling logistics for highly perishable fruits like Kinnow, Orange, Banana and Mango.

“The investment in each cold chain will range from Rs.70 – 100 crore depending on the location. The government’s stake will also vary from 40% – 55%. The details of this SPV is being worked out,”  said agricultural secretary P K Basu. These cold chain facilities will be created at logistically critical places like Lucknow and Nagpur which are vital for the storage and transportation of Mango and Oranges respectively. The government will gradually reduce its stake in these ventures after setting

Image credit: thinkmagic.com

The current capacity

As of now, India has around 30 million tonne cold storage capacity. The optimum requirement for minimizing any farm-to-market waste is around an additional 70 million tonnes of cold storage capacity. According to a parliamentary panel report – The post-harvest losses of fruits and vegetables have crossed a very dangerous level of 35% – with a monetary value of more than Rs.50,000 crore  per annum.

According to reports, Government has apportioned an investment of Rs.8150 crore on cold chain development with the intent of creating additional 9-10 million tonnes by 2012. The report also mentioned the setting up of  a ‘National Center for Cold Chain Development’ with members from government, industry bodies like CII, FICCI, growers and cold chain equipment manufacturers as stakeholders.

Realization, albeit late, is indeed  welcome on the part of the Indian decision makers. It is imperative that there is fruitful participation between the industry and the growers, creating a healthy environment for creativity-based solutions.

 

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