New Delhi: At the inaugural of the 4th Cold Chain Summit 2012, organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with Ministry of Agriculture, and Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Dr. Saumitra Chaudhuri, Member Planning Commission invited as the Chief Guest, pointed out that there are multiple challenges in developing the cold chain sector and hence there doesn’t exist one single solution.
It will be necessary to address the individual issues given the complexities of the cold chain sector. States recognize moving toward horticulture and animal husbandry will help enhance farmers’ incomes and also offer lower price to consumers. But for this to happen, building integrated supply chains will be very critical and it will be important to arrive at a consensus that the changes suggested are in the overall national interest.
“Need to align strategies for cold chain development to address the issues faced by the states, farmers and consumers.” – Ashish Bahuguna
Mr. Ashish Bahuguna, Secretary Agriculture in his keynote address reiterated the need to align strategies to address the issues faced by the states, farmers and consumers. He welcomed proposals on actionable initiatives that can be implemented at the state level for which government support would be available. He also emphasized the need to adopt a farm to fork approach, creating backward linkages with farmers to ensure better returns.
Mr. Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Chairman CII National Council Agriculture and Vice Chairman and MD Bharti Enterprises Ltd. observed that continuing high food inflation in the country has brought into focus the supply side constraints, especially related to perishables. He emphasized that the development of marketing infrastructure, storage infrastructure, warehousing and cold chains will go a long way in addressing the growth of agriculture and food processing sector as also mitigating inflation. He reiterated the importance of FDI in multi-brand retail and said it would be the single largest catalyst that would provide the right impetus to the development of cold chains in India.
Mr. Sanjeev Chopra, Jt Secretary and Mission Director (NHM) in his theme address highlighted the positive trends in the cold chain industry over the last decade; 50% of the growth in this sector has taken place in the last 10 years and the growth has been higher than the growth of perishable production. Nevertheless there is a gap in the infrastructure facilities available. He reiterated that with the creation of technical standards, we should expect to see new investments that service multi commodity perishables. .
Mr. B Thiagarajan, Chairman, CII Taskforce on Cold Chain Development and President Blue Star Limited while setting the scene on current state and challenges in development and growth of cold chain pointed out that it is important to improve the cold chain sector but there are several barriers like the APMC Act restrictions, issues related to viability gap funding, high resource cost, etc. He highlighted the need to document success stories specific to commodities and geographical areas which can be scaled and replicated referring to the CII initiatives of developing the banana value chain in Tamil Nadu with the Banana Growers’ Association. Although FDI is an important lever for successful transformation of cold chain services, investments so far have been negligible. Agriculture is still not an attractive investment option for banks, and private sector as they face several problems dealing with agricultural sector.
Mr. Ravichandran Purushothaman, Chairman, CII Cold Chain Summit 2012 and Senior Director (Asia Pacific), Danfoss Industries Pvt. Ltd. in his concluding remarks and vote of thanks highlighted the need for low cost innovative technologies that can be adaptable to Indian conditions in developing cold chains.
Apart from the Senior Officials from the Central Government and State Governments, participants included officials from State Horticulture Boards, equipment manufacturers; logistics service providers, retail end users, and farmer representatives in cold chain across the country, as also international experts. More than 250 delegates attended the Summit which also showcased the new cold chain technologies through an exhibition.