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Dec, 03 2014

Cold chain investment in India to reach $15 billion in next 5 years: Report

India had about 6,300 cold storages with a capacity of 30.11 million metric tonnes as of 2014. But, about 60 per cent of them are located in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal and Punjab.

Food security for all has become the most critical issue in the 21st century. As the world population moves towards 9.5 billion later this century, meeting future demand for food, considering factors like changing dietary preferences, climate change, resource scarcity and soil nutrient degradation, will present significant challenges not only for the public but also for the government, engineers & scientists, and instiotutions at large.

A recent study on 'A tank of cold: Cleantech leapfrog to a more food secure world' by UK-based Institution of Mechanical Engineers urge the governments of developing economy to take necessary and immediate actions to encourage the launch of sustainable cold and frozen supply chain or ‘cold chain’ in the developing world, in order to prevent unnecessary food loss, help alleviate hunger and improve global food security.

In response to this challenge India’s investment in cold chain is forecast to total $15 billion over the next five years. The governments of developing economy need to take concerted effort to introduce policy initiatives that offer support to clean technologies and distributed solutions, which build on existing aspirations for electricity access and energy security, ensure that the regulatory frameworks can support such investments and deployments, and encourage inward investment with a focus on adopting technology that is sustainable.

India had about 6,300 cold storages with a capacity of 30.11 million metric tonnes as of 2014. But, about 60 per cent of them are located in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal and Punjab. And the lack of cold and frozen supply chains lead to the loss of fruits and vegetables worth over Rs 13,600 crore annually in the country. Approximately 50 per cent of perishable food items are lost every year in India due to lack of cold storages, according to a report published in the Economic Times.

Using the cryogenic engine technology to provide cooling of large refrigerated lorry or rail containers will cost between a fifth and a third of using diesel for the same job. It has the added benefit of zero-emission of pollutants. When combined with the increased income to farmers from getting more produce to market, this makes economic as well as environmental sense, the report said, adding that India is well placed to use the technology as it has both the LNG infrastructure and the engineering talent.

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