Mumbai: Dairy, meat, pharma, agriculture, etc, the list can go on. Cold chain solutions can be critical for all these sectors. But in spite of the urgent need, there is still not much not done as yet. Nonetheless, its role in agriculture remains the key driver for doubling farmers’ incomes by minimising food loss and preserving nutritional value as well. It augments food safety and security too. These are the issues that will get discussed in the forthcoming panel discussion jointly organised by Free Press Journal and Moneycontrol.
The theme is supported by Danfoss, and the discussions will be moderated by Consulting Editor R N Bhaskar. The other panelists include some of the finest names in the industry — Pankaj Khandelwal, MD, INI Farms; Pawanexh Kohli, CEO, NCCD; Kiran Malla, director, Corporate Finance Strategy, EY; Ravichandra Purshothaman, President, Danfoss and B Thiagarajan, JMD, Blue Star Limited.
The industry enjoys a market size of around USD 6.5-7 billion and is growing at a CAGR of 15-20 per cent for the last three years. In spite of this growth rate, as Thiagarajan points out, the “penetration gap is still very high in the country.”
At present India has merely 350 pack-houses, but there is a need for about 70,000 pack-houses. Given that India has around 6 lakh villages, the demand is for around one pack-house for every 10 villages on an average. “The primary enabler for such a fresh-produce network is pack-houses, which would serve as aggregation and pre-conditioning hubs,” stated Kohli.
Meanwhile in terms of investment, Khandelwal believes in next three years investments in cold chain will be massive. “This could be seen as an interesting space for investors—both in terms of investments and strategic partnership,” he adds.
Operation flood or the white revolution is the best example of how value addition has changed for the dairy industry in India. Such cold chain solutions are essential for other sectors in the agriculture space as well. Giving an idea about cold chain in dairy, NDDB, chairman, Dilip Rath said efforts are being made by NDDB to strengthen the existing cold chain systems in the milk cooperatives. “However, similar concerted efforts are also required to be put in place by the private organised dairy sector.” He stressed that there is a need to educate the distributors / retailers on the importance of maintaining the cold chain. “These gaps which remain on both the backward and forward ends need to be addressed and fulfilled.”