Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cold Chain Summit-2007

Cold Chain Summit-2007, organized jointly by Ministries of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries in partnership with CII.Besides representatives of industries, participating Ministries and State governments, farmers also participated in the Summit

Union Agriculture Minister, Shri Sharad Pawar argued strongly in favour of cold chain infrastructure throughout the country, starting with pre-cooling facility in rural areas."The economic impact of cold chains will be felt in the villages in more than one way-farmers will get better realization for their produce since the quality and longevity will be higher and pre-cooling in rural areas will create direct and indirect employment leading to overall upliftment of the entire villages which are strong in horticultural production." Shri Pawar said.

Secretary, Agriculture and Cooperation, Dr. P.K. Mishra, who earlier chaired the policy session of the Summit, said that the cold chain infrastructure being envisaged should utilized the benefits of the terminal markets scheme of the government. The road-map suggested by the Summit should lead to a scenario in which up to 20% of the perishable form produce enters the cold chain. This will not only help farmers and the industry, it will contribute significantly to the economy, he said.

India’s cold chain infrastructure will require at least Rs 18,000-20,000 crore investment in the next five years. The industry expects the government to provide 40-50% of the total investment through viability gap funding. “India produces 140 million tonnes of fruits and vegetables and would cross the 300-million-tonne mark in the next five years. An investment of about Rs 18,000-20,000 crore in the next five years would be required to meet about 30% of that capacity,” says Daljit Mirchandani, president, Ingersoll-Rand (India) and chairman, CII Initiative on Cold Chain Infrastructure Development.