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.
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