Don’t let it per­ish; bring cold stores

ML Arora, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, Fresh and Healthy En­ter­prise Limited talks about the need for de­vel­op­ing a pol­icy for mul­ti­pur­pose cold stores, as item-spe­cific cold stores have been ex­pe­ri­enced to be eco­nom­i­cally un­vi­able.

Cargo Talk - - Interview - CT BUREAU

Talk­ing about the com­plete cold chain lo­gis­tics so­lu­tions, does FHEL use the lo­gis­tics ser­vices of CONCOR only?

In ad­di­tion to the lo­gis­tics ser­vices pro­vided by CONCOR, FHEL uses the lo­gis­tics ser­vices avail­able in open mar­ket from pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor en­ter­prises also wher­ever re­quired for re­fer trans­port to var­i­ous des­ti­na­tions in the coun­try.

Be­ing a CONCOR sub­sidiary, what added ad­van­tages does your company en­joy?

Be­ing a CONCOR sub­sidiary, FHEL is in a po­si­tion to use the wide net­work of CONCOR fa­cil­i­ties and of­fices spread through­out the coun­try for pro­cure­ment sell­ing their fresh fruits to the re­mote mar­kets like Guwahati and Agar­tala at quite nom­i­nal costs.

A lot is be­ing said and de­bated on the po­ten­tial that In­dia has to emerge as a ma­jor hub for trade for per­ish­able com­modi­ties. What would be your take on it?

There is no doubt that given the var­ied cli­mate, In­dia has a great po­ten­tial to emerge as a ma­jor hub for trade of per­ish­able com­modi­ties. How­ever it is still a dream. In or­der to con­vert this dream into re­al­ity, lot of in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ments are re­quired to be made by the pri­vate sec­tor as well as the Gov­ern­ment to de­velop pre and post har­vest fa­cil­i­ties near pro­duc­ing ar­eas through­out the coun­try. Though a lot of cold stores and re­frig­er­ated trans­port fa­cil­i­ties have been cre­ated in re­cent past, pre-cool­ing of pro­duce im­me­di­ately after har­vest­ing and proper pack­ag­ing is still miss­ing in most part of the coun­try. Fur­ther most of cold stores / CA stores cre­ated by the pri­vate sec­tor to avail the gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies are potato and ap­ple cen­tric and are utilised only for a part of the year, which makes them fi­nan­cially un­vi­able. There is a need to pro­mote the multi-com­mod­ity stores match­ing the fruit or veg­etable spe­cific con­di­tions of tem­per­a­ture, hu­mid­ity and gaseous com­po­si­tion cou­pled with the deep freeze stor­age space for frozen vegetables and dairy prod­ucts like ice-creams and but­ter and ripen­ing or de­green­ing cham­bers for fruits like ba­nana, man­goes, pa­paya, etc.

The ware­hous­ing and cold chain in­dus­try is fac­ing a huge short­age of hu­man cap­i­tal to man­age and op­er­ate the whole sys­tem. What are your sug­ges­tions to tackle this is­sue?

Trained man­power is to be de­vel­oped by en­hance­ment of in­sti­tu­tional ca­pa­bil­ity to pro­vide qual­ity train­ing and ed­u­ca­tion in the field of ware­hous­ing and cold chain man­age­ment. On the line of ex­pan­sion of IITs and IIMs in Tier-II ci­ties, or­ga­ni­za­tions like CFTRI and NIFTEM may be given the re­spon­si­bil­ity to open their cen­tres through­out the coun­try with a well-struc­tured course cur­ricu­lum to ad­dress ware­hous­ing and cold chain man­age­ment.

What are your sug­ges­tions for the In­dian cold chain mar­ket to grad­u­ally get or­gan­ised and fo­cus to­wards mul­ti­pur­pose cold stor­ages?

This is the high time to switch on the pol­icy of de­vel­op­ing mul­ti­pur­pose cold stores as item spe­cific cold stores have proved eco­nom­i­cally un­vi­able prepo­si­tion for the pri­vate sec­tor play­ers.

Does FHEL plan to di­ver­sify into stor­age of other per­ish­able fruits and vegetables in the near fu­ture?

Yes FHEL has plans to di­ver­sify in to other fruits and vegetables as soon as the present ini­tia­tive be­comes eco­nom­i­cally vi­able in self sus­tain­ing. Cold stor­age or con­trolled at­mos­phere stor­age fa­cil­i­ties for onions in and around Nasik, or­anges in MP/Ma­ha­rash­tra and ap­ples in J&K are at a fea­si­bil­ity study stage and may be im­ple­mented in near fu­ture if found to be eco­nom­i­cally fea­si­ble.

What are the im­me­di­ate fu­ture plans of the company?

Very soon FHEL is go­ing to con­struct a pre-cool­ing cum col­lec­tion fa­cil­ity at Kin­gal in Shimla dis­trict of Hi­machal Pradesh.

ML Arora Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Fresh and Healthy En­ter­prise Limited

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