Need for a multi-pronged strategy to revamp cold storage facilities covering entire food value chain!!

India is among the highest-ranking countries in production volume for various commodities with annual vegetable production of around 85 million tons (9.1% of global production), annual fruit production of around 45 million tons (8.4% of global production) andproduce close to 100 million tons, accounting for nearly 17% of the global production[1].However, it has been recorded that the post-harvest losses in the agricultural sector alone are estimated at $14 billion annually of which vegetable & fruit loss accounts to almost 40% & dairy accounts to more than 10% of loss[2]. Necessary measures to preserve food in every stage in the value chain is required. The preliminary adoption can be in increasing the adoption & streamlining the use of cold chain systems (including pre-cooling units, refrigerated transportation, warehouses).

Most of the agricultural produce like vegetables, fruits or dairy products like milk are temperature sensitive and require specific temperature ranges to be stored and transported.Government of India has recognized the need to nurture cold chain industry and has introduced approximately 7,645 cold storages with a capacity of 34.95 million MT in the country (as on March 31, 2017). The current pace in which cold storage are growing (at the rate of 20-25% CAGR) is not enough to cope up the post-harvest losses of the produce. It has been noted that these units are able to store only about 11% of the country’s total perishable produce which is insufficient.

Cold chain industry in India is fragmented and requires investment in building technology enabled cold storage facilities to cover entire value chain. There are about 3,500 players present in the cold chain market in India which also includes some small players in large numbers trying to make it big in the industry. To address the issues in post-harvest losses, Government may therefore (i) partner with  private players for improving cold chain systems, (ii)focus on investing in increasing the cold chain by partnering with league players in logistics like Gati, Boxcold, Gateway Distriparks Coldman, Container Corporation of India, Snowman etc for developing cold storage units with desired technology to store produces& ensure they are transported without post-harvest losses; (iii)stock the produce in stacks instead of sacks during transportation(iv) installing solar panels over the transport to supply power for maintaining desired temperature (v) install refrigerator units in each panchayat level so that produce is stored until the transportation reaches their village to get them to city. Adopting these methods can increase the shelf life of the produce, reduce post-harvest losses, increase the returns on farm etc.


[1] India – Agricultural Sector

[2] India – Agricultural Sector



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