Millennium Post

Govt okays 101 cold chain projects costing `3,100 cr

The government on Monday sanctioned 101 new cold chain projects being set up by firms like Big Basket, Amul and Haldiram entailing Rs 3,100 crore in investments -- a move aimed at reducing wastage of fruits and vegetables.

Announcing this decision, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal today said the ministry's grant-in-aid for these projects will be Rs 838 crore, while the remaining over Rs 2,200 crore will come from the private sector.

When asked about the companies which have bagged these projects, joint secretary Anuradha Parasad named Big Basket, Haldiram, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation's (Amul) milk unions.

Some of the other players include Hatsun Agro, Sterling Agro, Prabhat Dairy, Balmer Lawrie, Tirumala Milk, Desai Brothers and Falcon Marine (Odisha).

The maximum number of cold chain projects will come up in Maharashtra at 21, followed by Uttar Pradesh 14, Gujarat 12 and Andhra Pradesh 8 projects. Punjab and Madhya Pradesh will have six projects each.

"We have sanctioned 101 new cold chain projects across the country with a capacity of 2.76 lakh tonnes. Wastages are high due to lack of cold chain infrastructure," Badal said.

"In these 101 cold chain projects, Rs 3,100 crore investment will come in, including our ministry's grant of Rs 838 crore," she said, adding that these projects will come up in the next two years.

Of the total projects sanctioned, 53 are in fruits and vegetables sector, 33 in dairy and 15 in meat, poultry and marine.

About 2.6 lakh farmers are expected to benefit from these projects, which would also provide direct/indirect employment opportunities to 60,000 people. Badal said the number of cold chain projects sanctioned so far have gone up to 234 now and the government plans to sanction 50 more cold chain projects.

Citing a CIPHET study conducted by the ministry, Badal said the total wastage of fruits and vegetables was at Rs 92,000 crore based on the wholesale prices of 2014.

She said 4.7 million tonnes of agri and horticulture produce worth Rs 12,000 crore will be processed in these cold chain projects and reduce the wastages by 13 per cent.

"Farmers are producing. Our demand is growing and yet their is a wastage of fruits and vegetables," she said.

As many as 308 applications were received for these 101 projects.

Badal noted that the country is one of the largest food producers in the world and is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables yet only 2.2 per cent of our fruits and vegetables are processed.

The minister also said the existing cold storages are concentrated in few states and roughly 80-90 per cent are used for potatoes.

These projects will create additional capacity of 2.76 lakh tonne of cold storage/controlled atmosphere/frozen storage, 115 tonne/hour of Individual Quick Freezing (IQF), 56 lakh litres per day of milk processing, 210 tonne per batch of blast freezing and 629 refrigerated/ insulated vehicles.

Badal said the government intends to create a National Food Grid through these cold chain and mega food park projects to bring down the wastage and post-harvest losses.
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