Despite recent investments and government measures, the majority of cold storage in India is fit only to store potatoes, the New-Delhi-based PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry said recently in a damning report.
According to the chamber, despite the fact that India has aggressively been chasing in food processing and cold chain infrastructure, it is so far been able to create roughly 7,000 cold storage facilities¾92% of which is only suitable to store potato products.
It also pointed out that the total capacity of cold stores in India has reached just 31m tonnes even though India allows 100% foreign direct investment in setting up of cold chains, and proposed 30 mega food parks to propel demand for cold storage and transport.
Multi-purpose cold store capacity created by India so far has stagnated at 7.63%¾against 92.82% for potatoes. Fruit and vegetables account for 1.07%, followed by fish (0.73%), meat (0.15%), dairy and milk products (0.68%) and others (0.36%).
The total cold chain market, according to the chamber, was estimated at $3.2bn in 2009, with annual growth of 20% to 25% expected to climb to $9bn by 2015.
But India has not been able to progress to put up cold chains as desired to harness its food products, said Sharad Jaipuria, president of the PHD Chamber. As a result, he added, 30% of fruit and vegetables grown in India are wasted because of a lack of cold storage facilities and energy infrastructure, with only 8% of produce processed.
According to the chamber, India needs a smart food supply chain in which 25% of its total food production is processed over the next few decades, for which both the Centre and state governments should collaborate to bring in investments with much more flexible policies.
In addition, agriculture reforms are a must and amendment to existing acts, such as the Agriculture marketing Produce Act, are essential on a priority basis, the chamber said.