New Cold Chain Pol­icy to ad­dress in­dus­try is­sues

Speak­ing at PHD Cham­ber’s Con­fer­ence on Fi­nanc­ing of Cold Chain in New Delhi, San­jeev Cho­pra, Joint Sec­re­tary & Mis­sion Di­rec­tor, Na­tional Hor­ti­cul­ture Mis­sion, Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia in­formed that within en­su­ing three months, the Go

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Ac­cord­ing to Cho­pra, there is a huge re­quire­ment of cold chain in­fra­struc­ture to main­tain the qual­ity of agro-based prod­ucts and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. The gov­ern­ment has ac­cepted ma­jor rec­om­men­da­tions of the Na­tional Cen­tre for Cold Chain De­vel­op­ment ( NCCD), which has been con­sti­tuted by the gov­ern­ment as well as in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Cho­pra em­pha­sised on the fi­nanc­ing of the cold chain in­dus­try and ap­pealed the bank­ing sec­tor to in­tro­duce dif­fer­ent mod­els in this sec­tor. He also main­tained that cold chain op­er­a­tors also will have to think about a vi­able fi­nan­cial model for ben­e­fits. “Fo­cus on high-value prod­ucts like cer­tain fruits and veg­eta­bles. There is huge do­mes­tic mar­ket for qual­ity prod­ucts. Only vi­able com­mer­cial projects should be the prime agenda,” he ad­vised.

Chaud­huri main­tained that apart from qual­ity fruits and veg­eta­bles there is a good mar­ket for fish and meat both in do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional mar­ket. “Gov­ern­ment will pro­vide all kind of sup­port top make the cold chain in­dus­try ro­bust,” he as­sured.

The con­fer­ence was also ad­dressed by Suman Jyoti Khai­tan, Pres­i­dent, PHD Cham­ber; RS Bedi, Chair­man, Task Force on Lo­gis­tics Man­age­ment, PHD Cham­ber; Sau­mi­tra Chaud­huri, Mem­ber Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia;

Pawanexh Kohli, Chief Ad­vi­sor, NCCD; Rakesh Gupta, GM, Pun­jab Na­tional Bank;

Amit Bhat­na­gar, VP and Re­gional Head­North, Agri­cul­ture Fi­nance Busi­ness, Ko­tak Mahin­dra Bank; Ravin­dra Sahni, As­sis­tant Vice Pres­i­dent and NSM-Ru­ral Ini­tia­tives, HDFC Bank; Vinod Asthana, MD, CRWC;

Pankaj Ku­mar, Di­rec­tor, Min­istry of Food Pro­cess­ing In­dus­tries; P Alli Rani, Di­rec­tor ( Fi­nance), Con­cor and CEO, Fresh and Healthy En­ter­prise; PN Shukla, Di­rec­tor, Gati and sev­eral other in­dus­try ex­perts.

He em­phat­i­cally said that there is a need to go be­yond cold stor­age-cen­tric con­cept. “Cold chain is not only about cold stor­age. Think about an in­te­grated and to­tal sup­ply chain (cold) for all per­ish­able and tem­per­a­ture-sen­si­tive prod­ucts to make the in­dus­try ben­e­fi­cial for grow­ers/ man­u­fac­tur­ers as well,” said Kohli.

Ear­lier, Bedi high­lighted the in­dus­try’s per­spec­tive. In his opin­ion, though there is a huge de­mand for fresh, qual­ity prod­ucts, the cold stor­age fa­cil­ity avail­able in In­dia is only for about 10 per cent of the pro­duce, re­sult­ing in post-har­vest losses of up to 30 per cent in the farm sec­tor. In 2012, In­dia had ap­prox­i­mately 6,300 cold stor­age fa­cil­i­ties, with a ca­pac­ity of 30.11 mil­lion met­ric tonne. Of the to­tal num­ber of fa­cil­i­ties, about 60 per cent are lo­cated in Uttar Pradesh, Gu­jarat, West Ben­gal and Pun­jab.

In­dia’s cold stor­age mar­ket has a mul­ti­tude of play­ers, with over 3,500 com­pa­nies in the value chain. Cold chain so­lu­tion provider com­pa­nies con­sti­tute 85 per cent of the mar­ket, while trans­porta­tion ser­vices, such as re­frig­er­ated trucks ac­count for the re­main­ing 15 per cent.

“In 2010, for the trans­porta­tion of per­ish­able prod­ucts, there were 250 reefer trans­port op­er­a­tors run­ning around 25,000 ve­hi­cles in In­dia. Of th­ese ve­hi­cles, 80 per cent were utilised for milk trans­porta­tion, leav­ing only 5,000 ve­hi­cles for other pro­duce,” Bedi high­lighted.

“Large in­vest­ments are needed to de­velop cold chain in­fra­struc­ture in In­dia and the third-party lo­gis­tic ser­vice providers in In­dia do not have the band­width to sup­port huge in­vest­ments into cold chain,” he pointed out.

Speak­ers and dig­ni­taries at the PHD Cham­ber’s Con­fer­ence on Fi­nanc­ing of Cold Chain in new Delhi.

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