Friday, July 12, 2024

Revolutionizing India’s Agricultural Landscape: The Surge in Cold Storage Infrastructure

The landscape of cold storage infrastructure in India is undergoing a transformative shift within the agricultural sector. The government is actively championing this change by implementing schemes that offer financial assistance for establishing cold storage facilities dedicated to perishable horticultural produce across the nation.

In a bid to encourage demand and entrepreneurship, the government is providing credit-linked subsidies, covering 35% of the project cost in general areas and 50% in hilly and scheduled areas. State Horticulture Missions (SHMs) play a crucial role in facilitating these initiatives.

The cold chain facilities, integral to agriculture and its allied sectors, ensure a controlled environment for the storage, transportation, and distribution of fresh produce like fruits and vegetables. Financial assistance extends beyond cold storage, encompassing Pre-cooling Units, Cold Rooms, Pack Houses, Integrated Pack Houses, Preservation units, Reefer Transport, and Ripening Chambers under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH).

A robust cold chain network is pivotal in minimizing agricultural waste, generating surplus for export, and consequently, boosting income for farmers. This initiative aligns with the Sustainable Development Goal of zero hunger, aiming to eradicate all forms of hunger and malnutrition.

The cold chain process involves a logistics method utilizing refrigeration techniques to ensure the delivery of temperature-sensitive products in optimal condition. According to a 2015 study by NABARD Consultancy Services, the required cold storage capacity was 351.00 lakh MT, while the existing capacity in 2014 was 318.23 lakh MT. Presently, the country boasts 8,653 cold stores with a capacity of 394.17 lakh MT.

Additional government initiatives include the National Horticulture Board’s scheme for capital investment subsidy and the Ministry of Food Processing Industries’ Scheme for Integrated Cold Chain, Value Addition, and Preservation Infrastructure under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana.’ These efforts aim to curb post-harvest losses for both horticulture and non-horticulture produce through financial assistance and grants for value addition and processing infrastructure. The overarching goal is to establish integrated cold chain projects, including irradiation facilities, to enhance the efficiency of the agricultural supply chain.

Source: financialexpress.com

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