COLD CHAIN LOGISTICS- THE INDIAN PERSPECTIVE
The Agriculture Sector of Indian Economy supports approx. half a billion people and provides employment to 52 % of the workforce. Yet the share of agriculture in our GDP has been showing a steady decline over the years. This is basically due to the fact that our agrarian economy continues to suffer from vagaries of nature on one hand and non-remunerative prices to small and marginal farmers leading to a poor subsistence level for them.
The Horticulture Sector contributes around 30 % of the GDP in agriculture and ...view middle of the document...
d) Inconsistent prices.
e) Wasteful Intermediaries.
The resultant losses are :
i) Producer loses due to low realizations and poor quality.
ii) Customer loses as fruits are available only in season and high prices of imported fruits in off-season.
iii) Country loses due to wastages.
iv) Imports rise as there is still a demand for good quality fruits and vegetables.
v) Exporters lose due to lack of integrated Cold Supply Chain coupled with high transaction costs and reduced quality.
In the present set of circumstances, we need to work on the following :
1. Bring transparency into the sector by dealing with the farmers in a fair and transparent manner.
2. Bring India up to date with the world by inducting appropriate technology and use of R & D to set up a scientific and integrated Cold Chain from the Farm Gate to the Consumer Table.
3. Provide an alternative cost effective delivery mechanism to reduce wastages, reduce intermediation costs, and make key fruits and vegetables available during off – season at affordable prices and provide more choice to the consumer.
Initiatives Of the Government in recent past
The two key initiatives launched by the Govt. Of India to address the issues are :
1. The National Horticulture Mission, and,
2. The Terminal Markets Concept .
The National Horticulture Mission was launched in January , 2005 . It is a Centrally sponsored scheme which aims to promote holistic growth of the Horticulture Sector through the following strategies :
➢ Adopting an End-to-End holistic approach covering production , Post Harvest Management , Processing and Marketing.
➢ Promoting R & D technologies for production , Post-Harvest Management and Processing.
➢ Enhance acreage , coverage and productivity.
➢ Assisting in setting up post-harvest facilities like Pack Houses , Ripening Chambers , Cold Storages , Controlled Atmosphere ( CA ) Stores , Processing Units etc. for value addition and marketing Infrastructure.
The Mission is being implemented and monitored at State and District Levels through Central , State and District Level Committees. The scheme provides assistance and incentives to farmers as well as other agencies setting up infrastructure for post harvest management related activities.
The Terminal Markets Concept is being implemented by various states with an objective of integrating Farm Producers with Buyers by offering multiple choices to the farmers.
The Terminal Markets provide the following facilities to the farmers and buyers :
❖ A Common Platform for processors, exporters, wholesaler/ trader , retail chain operators and farmers.
❖ Storage- Cold storage, Temp. Controlled Warehouse , Ripening Chambers etc. and Auction facility.
❖ Pack houses, Grading & Sorting lines, Palletisation and Testing facilities.
❖ Transportation services, Material Handling Equipment., Banking...