Agri Business

'Cold storage units must be technically upgraded'

Ch R S Sarma Visakhapatnam | Updated on January 10, 2018 Published on January 10, 2018

India has to upgrade the existing cold storage units technically, enhance storage capacity and create cold chain facilities to cut post-harvest losses and ensure a better return to farmers, according to experts in the field.

They were speaking here on Wednesday at a one-day seminar on refrigeration and cold chain technology organised by the Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) in association with the AP Chambers of Commerce and Industry Federation and the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR).

Arvind Surange, former President of ISHRAE, who delivered the key-note address, said the total capacity of the cold storage units in India amounted to 34 million tonnes, "which is the largest in the world".

He said capacity-wise there was no problem, "but most of the cold storage units are based on outdated, outmoded technologies, which are energy-inefficient. Technology should be upgraded and made more energy-efficient, and that is a big challenge."

Out of the 7,000 cold storage units in the country, almost 5,000 were based on outdated technologies. He said it was not merely enough to create cold storage capacity, but to set up the entire cold chain facilities, including packhouses, transport facilities, frozen food plants, reefer (refrigerated vans) and all other components. "Then only can we reduce post-harvest losses which according to one estimate amount to more than $ 2 billion per annum in the country. It is a colossal national waste," he added.

He also said that multi-product cold storage units based on the latest and most advanced technologies are required in the country. "For instance in AP, there are several cold storage units in and around Guntur, but they are suitable only for storing chilli crop and most of them are based on old technologies," Surange added.

G Sambasiva Rao, President of the AP Chambers of Industry and Commerce Federation, said the importance of cold chain could not be overemphasised. "Shrimps and fisheries sector contribute 35 per cent of the State's GDP because we have created the requisite processing facilities and cold chain, and we can do the same with vegetables, fruits and other crops," he said.

Several other experts spoke along the same lines. Papers were presented on the most advanced technologies in the field.

Published on January 10, 2018
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