A public-private partnership for post harvest and cold chain infrastructure dedicated for banana crop will benefit farmers and rural economy, according to a feasibility report by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

The reported released today at the start of a two-day Tamil Nadu Banana Festival organised by the CII said the State is among the largest producers of the fruit with an annual production of about 82 lakh tonnes – nearly a third of India’s production.

Based on FAO estimates, CII says it is the eighth most important commodity in value terms in Indian agriculture not counting live stock-based products.

Handling capacity

The report states it is imperative that a cold chain for banana supply be started in Tamil Nadu beginning with a pilot project considered in Tiruchi, a major centre of production.

The facility could initially have the capacity to handle about a one lakh tonnes of the fruit annually.

A total capacity of about six lakh tonnes a year, six modules of one lakh tonnes each, will be needed.

Considering that the project encompasses an integrated approach from the farm gate up to consumption centres, and includes initiative for quality upgrading at the farm level, the CII report urges that the official machinery should be closely involved in the project with funding support from Government programmes including those provided by the Union and State Governments.

The public-private partnership can effectively be used for balance funding and efficient operation with ownership vested with a government undertaking, a farmers co-operative or association or a professionally experienced private enterprise.

Benefits

The State Government could allot land for the project which is estimated to involve a total capital investment of about Rs 119 crore.

If the entire produce were to come under an organised cold chain, CII estimates that the benefit to the State would be about Rs 4,000 crore with farmers’ share alone amounting to Rs 600 crore.

(This article was published on December 21, 2012)
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