• Cooling India
  • Nov 15, 2017

Ashish Guru, Senior Vice President, Federation of Cold Storage Associations Of India & President, Gujarat Cold Storage Association, Gujarat

The Federation of Cold Storage Associations of India (FCAOI) is an all India association with members in most of the states in the country. There is a huge need for cold storage facilities in India leading to the formation of state level associations who look after their concerns. I am looking for innovation in the field of colours of fruits and delay of ripening process as demanded by customers e.g. preference for red colour for apple and green colour for sweetlime, states Ashish Guru, Senior Vice President, Federation of Cold Storage Associations Of India & President, Gujarat Cold Storage Association, Gujarat in an interaction with Cooling India…

What are the trends in Indian Cold Storage industry?

First cold storage was installed in eighteenth century in Kolkata for storage of ice. Gradually, it has led to installation of storage of potato, milk and fish. Now-a-days, cluster based cold storages are setup at production center of apple and potato. In Tier I & II cities, multi-commodity cold storages are coming up, catering to the needs of online grocery and vegetable requirements of urban population. Rise in disposable income of middle class people has generated demand for value added, frozen and quick service snacks. As a result, cold storages for such produce have increased slowly in urban areas. Now, more and more commodities are stored in cold storages even cotton bales in Telangana and groundnut in Gujarat.

What are the services provided by Federation of Cold Storage Associations of India?

Federation is a parent body of state association representing issues being faced by state association to Central Government. The Federation collects the data of agricultural produce, statistics from state associations and publishes it in the association’s monthly Patrika. It coordinates with members of different associations in different states through Ice Exhibition and India Cold Chain show, updating new technology among the members.

ICAR study has estimated that annual value of harvest and post-harvest losses of major agricultural produces at national level was of the order of Rs 92,651 crore calculated using production data of 2012-13 at 2014 wholesale prices. Looking at this scenario, where is Indian cold chain industry lacking? Do you think that Indian cold chain infrastructure is upto the mark to arrest these losses?

Cold storages are located in bulk numbers in UP, West Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana and other states. Indian consumer prefers fresh fruits and vegetables over frozen as compared to western countries, resulting only in long-term storage of potatoes and apples. Still, there is a huge gap of storage between fruits & vegetables production & processing (frozen). This leads to reduction in prices of perishable agro commodities in season. It makes farmers’ economic position vulnerable. There is a need to modernize cold storage infrastructure as market are matured for frozen commodities, which may result in reduction in wastage of perishable agriculture produce.

What are technological innovations introduced by the federation in order to preserve fruits, vegetables or grains? What innovations would you like to bring in the industry in order make it globally competitive?

The Federation usually uses popular cost-effective technology available in different states through exhibitions, seminar and experts panel discussions. I am looking for innovation in the field of colors of fruits and delay of ripening process as demanded by customers e.g. preference for red color for apple and green colour for sweet lime.

What are the projects of cold storage under implementation?

Singapore is executing fourth generation cold storage as compared to second generation installations in India. Gujarat is witnessing modern cold storages set up at Mehsana and Himmatnagar storing lime, onion, exotic fruits and vegetable.

What are the regulatory initiatives takes by the government to promote Indian Cold Chain industry?

Central Government through National Horticulture mission and National Horticulture Board assists cold storages by capital investment subsidy of 35% as prescribed by National Cold Chain Development, New Delhi. States like Gujarat, MP, Bihar give additional subsidy of 15%. The Government also helps for setting up C.A. storage, PLC, alterative energy. To bail out present cold storages in the situation of heavy potato storage and poor demand, the Government of Gujarat has announced liberal freight subsidy program for inter-state and exports. Refrigeration van is a key factor in cold chain. The Central Government also gives subsidy for two reefer vehicles. Interest rate has also been reduced by nationalized banks to promote cold storage infrastructure.

What is your outlook for the in 2017-18?

My outlook for 2017-18 is bullish due to good monsoon season, booming economy, lower interest rate, and proactive government policy and rising population of India.