Cold Chain for Common Users
According to a report released by Technopak, a leading consulting firm, India’s food industry, which is currently estimated to be at approximately USD 100 billion will grow to USD 300 billion by 2015. Industry experts say total volumes of fruit and vegetable cargo flown out of India stand at around 70,000 tonne a year. India’s fresh meat export is estimated to be at around 30,000 tonne a year. Volume of pharmaceuticals and life science products flown out of India is to be around 50,000 tonne a year. Indian pharmaceutical exports have been set at $25 billion by 2014. For the period ending March 31, 2013, exports were projected to grow by 25 per cent to around ` 75,000 crore. However, shippers in India often face huge challenges owing to lack of basic infrastructure ie an integrated cold chain system. Analysing the demand side, some recent studies pertaining to the requirement of cold chain unveiled that the total value of the cold chain industry would be around USD 3 billion and it would grow at 20-25 per cent a year. The total value is expected to reach USD 8 billion by 2015 through increased investments, modernisation of existing facilities, and establishment of new ventures via private and government partnerships. Meanwhile, the Government has taken some initiatives to reduce post harvest wastage for the greater interest of the country. The Finance Minister in his budget speech for 2012-13 proposed to earmark ` 5,000 crore for creating warehousing facilities (including cold storages) from the allocation under RIDF. Moreover, during 2011-12, there was provision of ` 2,000 crore under RIDF VII for the first time. In 2012 the Government of India established National Centre for Cold-chain Development (NCCD) as an autonomous centre to work in close collaboration with industry and other stake holders. The objective was to promote and develop integrated cold chain in India for perishable F&V and other perishable allied agri-commodities. The objectives of the centre are also to recommend standards and protocols for cold chain infrastructure, suggest guidelines for human resource development and to recommend appropriate policy-framework for development of cold chain in association with the industry stakeholders. However, the need is to intensify the government efforts with a time- bound manner. It should also take serious efforts to engage not only the growers and exporters but also service providers (read third party logistics service providers), who have domain knowledge and eager to invest in cold chain infrastructure. A broad outlook with a goal of creating facilities for common users only can guarantee a strong and uninterrupted cold chain system in India.