To push the cold chain sector in India, National Centre for Cold-chain Development (NCCD) and National Bank for Rural Agriculture Development (Nabard) have come out with Nabard Warehousing Fund. For this, the Centre has allocated Rs 5000 Crore to provide loans on low interest rates.
“To streamline the scheme, we have a meeting with Nabard in Mumbai on 29 October. All business entrepreneurs interested in cold chain are welcome in the meeting. In this meeting the secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, Chairman of Nabard, senior NDDB officials probably the chairman will be participating in the meeting,” Pawanexh Kohli, CEO and chief advisor, NCCD informed.
NCCD has made some financing guidelines for the scheme which is currently available in website of Nabard. In the absence of any dedicated fund for cold chain infrastructure, earlier people had been paying interest rate of 14-15 per cent. However, under the Nabard Warehousing Scheme, anyone who wants to develop or extend the existing cold chain, warehousing, reefer vehicle or pack house infra, will have to pay interest rates of 9.25-9.75 percent. It will depend on the credit rating of the borrower.
According to Kohli, economic feasibility will be mandatory for the projects financed by this scheme. If anyone applies for the loan, a detailed project report (DPR) on financial capability of the applicant will be done before releasing the fund. However, if a project is already functional and wants to buy reefer vehicles or other add-on technology to extend his infrastructure there will not be need for any DPR. Borrowers of this special loan for cold-chain, can continue to avail added benefit of central and state government incentives in form of subsidy.
Usually, Nabard refinances the states and government institutions while this fund will be available for anyone, including private companies or entrepreneurs, interested in cold chain sector.
According to Nabard, during this year, projects related with dry and wet storage will be assisted out of this fund and will have a greater focus on cold chain infrastructure. Beside state governments and government owned entities, cooperatives, farmer producer organisations, federations, private corporate companies can also avail loans for this fund for cold chain infrastructure development. All components under cold chain infrastructure like cold stores, reefer vehicles, bulk milk coolers, etc are eligible for loans.
In smaller nations like Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand food processing is 80-90 per cent compared to India, where it’s merely 10-15 per cent. Every year Rs 44,000 crore is lost in the country due to wastage of fruits and vegetables. India produces, 200 million metric tonne of products, while the existing cold chain capacity is 30 million metric tonnes.