Strengthening India’s cold chain infrastructure can accelerate growth of food processing

30 September 2022admin

The cold chain industry is one of the most critical components of the food processing value chain, where perishables form one of the largest segments. Even now, some sub-segments of perishables see wastage as high as 40%, where a lack of cold vhain infrastructure is a major aspect.

The Indian cold chain industry is at a nascent stage and remains largely untapped due to several factors, such as the requirement of high capital investment, lack of requisite supporting transport infrastructure (roads, bridges). There is a significant opportunity to improve the cold chain industry in India. In order to further bolster the attractiveness of the industry, the Ministry of Food Processing Industry, under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) initiative, provides financial incentives for setting up cold chain infrastructure.

Over the next decade, as India’s perishables market is expected to grow at the back of an expected 15% CAGR growth of the food processing sector, the need for cold chain facilities is expected to increase exponentially. As per available information from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, there are 8,186 cold storages with a capacity of 374.25 Lakh MT which is available in the country for storing perishables.

Currently, the cold storage industry in India is severely unorganised. A significant portion of these cold storage facilities are privately owned (95% of cold storage facilities are owned and operated by the private sector, whereas 3% are owned by cooperatives, and the remaining 2% fall under PSUs). Within the country, the distribution of cold storage is disproportionate, with the majority of cold storage facilities being located in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, and West Bengal. These facilities are being used to store primary produce and are located close to farming areas, mainly for crops such as potatoes, chilies, onions.

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