From the Desk of Chairman
Ice Make Refrigeration Limited
The Modi Govt. 2.0 need to encourage FPOs to use solar cold storage facilities
Ice Make has urged the Finance Minister Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman to direct at least 10-15% of the agriculture budgetary allocation towards developing an effective ecosystem for proper storage of produce and cold chain infrastructure. India is short by 25 million tonnes of cold storage capacity and over 60,000 refrigerated trucks. There is an urgent need to fill this huge capacity gap which can help the country make food sustainable and profitable.
In our capacity as a key player in cold chain and storage business Ice Make Refrigeration Limited which is one of the leading manufacturer & supplier of cooling solutions equipment, is planning to launch innovative solar powered cold storage units for Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) in interior areas where proper storage temperature and adequate infrastructure is not available due to non -availability of regular power. These units with 40-50% government subsidy make them affordable and can generate additional economic opportunity, investment and employment in the agriculture sector. These storage units can provide competitive edge to the FPOs and increase their bargaining capacity in the open market. The government should proactively step in to create awareness and encourage them to use cold storage facilities to have better negotiation power with large buyers.
The FM has allocated 1.3 trillion rupees to the agriculture sector to spur the growth. We believe this budgetary allocation would lay strong foundation for the next generation of agricultural reforms that can transform the rural economy, create more jobs and boost demand. To re-energies the rural economy, the government has been trying to bring in various policy reforms like model code farming, e-markets, incubation of the zero budget farming, emphasis on the skilling of workers, setting up of 10,000 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), encouraging private entrepreneurship, increased public expenditure on developing agri-infra like micro-irrigation, cold storage capacity building and a national warehouse grid which are all welcome steps.
However, the government needs to do a lot more to fuel agricultural growth and treat the root cause behind India’s poverty and urban rural divide. India needs to save nearly Rs l lakh crore of nation’s money which is lost due to wastage of produce, by building proper storage capacities. Proper storage facilities can help agriculture and allied activities to be lucrative and encourage people to continue farming. We need to prevent harvest and post-harvest losses which makes the farming less lucrative. Pre and post harvest losses were estimated at about Rs 92,651 crore in 2016-17, which is a huge loss to the farmers and the economy year after year.
This wastage is due to gaps in the cold chain such as poor infrastructure, insufficient cold storage capacity, unavailability of cold storages in proximity to farms and weak transportation infrastructure. Every year, farmers make such a huge loss for not being able to sell their produces for which they make investments as per their capacity. Just to make sense of this staggering figure: This amounts to 70 per cent of the investment required for making available cold-chain infrastructures essential for avoiding post-harvest losses.