In the backdrop of food wastage and underscoring the issues in the food processing industry, CII, with Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Ministry of Agriculture and National Centre for Cold-chain Development (NCCD), recently organised 5th National Cold Chain Summit, 2014 in New Delhi.
Speaking at the summit, Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaul Badal said, “An investor must have a food map so that he knows where, what and how to procure and the demand for his purchase. Most of the cold chain capacity today is concentrated in three to four states. And out of the entire cold storage capacity, 70 percent is just for potato. What we need is a scientific approach towards building multi-product cold storage.”
“Cold chain plays an integral part in the development of our nation. In spite of all the challenges that we have faced, we are the second largest producer of fruit and cereal, third in marine production and have the largest livestock in the world,” added Badal.
Talking about the challenges the industry is facing, she said, “The biggest challenge the industry faces is power, without which the cold chain cannot be successful. States need to invest in renewable energy and provide solar energy at subsidised rates.”
Pointing out the fact that in the next 15 years consumption levels are going to treble, the minister said, “There should be zero tolerance towards waste. Currently, there is Rs 44,000 Crore of wastage and unless we work towards removing that, our growth story cannot be completed. The cold chain capacity of the country is 30 million metric tonne, whereas it produces around 200 million metric tonne of products.”
She also cited the example of smaller nations like Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, “In these smaller nations, food processing is 80-90 percent compared to India where it’s a mere 10 percent. Our challenge lies in managing the perishables. Figures show that thousands of crores is lost due to wastage. That’s the tip of the iceberg; in reality, the figures are much higher. What we need is a cold chain grid in the country. The ministry is working towards a national food processing policy to bring under& nbsp;one umbrella different stakeholders presently engaged in the development of the food processing sector.”