The food and fruit bowls of India Haryana, J& K, Himachal, Uttrakhand & UP require additional 35 Lakhs MT cold storage facilities
NewZNew (Chandigarh) : India’s food chain is among the most fragmented in the world. The food wastage estimates vary from 18-40 % as per the different studies carried out in this space. The lack of adequate cold chain infrastructure and the absence of a well-integrated food processing industry are responsible for this wastage. These two sectors are thus highly critical in term of taking India from langusihing due to this inefficient and wasteful food system to becoming a global food hub.
A recent report India: World’s Emerging Food Leader released by PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industries in association with Techno pack states the huge gaps in existing cold storage facilities and the required storage. The report highlighted the food bowls of India Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are too far behind when it comes to adequate cold storage facilities to prevent food grain from perishing. In Haryana the existing cold storage facility is 3.93 lakhs MT, however the required cold storage facility would be approx 8.04 lakh MT. The tropical fruits growing belts in the hilly areas of Jammu& Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand are also lacking in creating adequate cold storage facilities. in Jammu and Kashmir 7.37 lakhs MT cold storage facility required, in Himachal this figure is 4.87 lakhs MT. In Jammu the cold storage capacity is just 0.43 lakhs MT and in Himachal it is 0.20 Lakhs MT
Punjab is utilizing 13.18 lakhs MT cold storage facilities though the demand is slightly higher ie 13.45 lakhs MT.
Similarly the largest state of India Uttar Pradesh which is a major producer of wheat, rice and sugarcane lacks cold storage facilities. The gap prevailing in required and existing cold storage facility is over 20 lakhs MT in Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand.
The report further states that India has approximately 6,300 cold storage facilities across the country with a total capacity of 30.11 million metric tons (MT) till 2012. 60% of this capacity is concentrated in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal and Punjab. India’s cold chain industry is also fragmented and comprises 3,500 players operating in this space. Considering the current infrastructure India can store only about 10 % of its total production. One of the another reason the cold storage facilities are not able to fulfill the demand is most of the cold storage facilities in India are single commodity based and use outdated technology
Asper estimates 105 million metric ton perishable produce transported annually between different cities in India, but there are only 25,000 refrigerated vans in the country and 20,000 out of the total transporting only dairy products.
Mr Sharad Jaipuria, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industries said, “There is need to develop an economically viable solution which integrates food supply linkages from production centers. This will not only reduce food wastage but will also contribute to the food processing industry.”
The Cold Chain industry is very crucial for the growth of the food industry but is not growing at an adequate pace despite the demand due to being non-remunerative at present. Some of the key challenges faced by the industry includes erratic power supply, high land cost, lack of indigenous technology, last mile distribution, etc.
“There is need for creation of an additional 31 million MT of cold storage capacity in the country and therefore there is a huge opportunity for private sector investment in this sector.” Added Mr Jaipuria
The report stated there is a need to develop an economically viable solution which integrates food supply from production centre to consumption centres. This will not only reduce food wastage but will also contribute to food processing industry. The cold chain industry is very crucial for the growth of the food industry but it not growing at adequate pace despite the demand due to being non remunerable at present.