Minister for Food Processing Industries Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal inaugurated the National Cold Chain Summit organized by Indian Chamber of Commerce, today at Gangtok. Speaking on the occasion, Smt. Badal stated that the Union Government was committed to address the challenges of insufficient infrastructure leading to huge wastage, undue advantage to middlemen at the cost of farmers remuneration and to develop an efficient cold chain infrastructure to link the farmer to the consumer seamlessly. Addressing the gathering, Smt. Badal stated that India is one of the largest producer of milk, fruits and vegetables, marine products, meat and poultry and that there is an urgent need to create adequate cold chain capacity in the country for preventing wastage.
The Food Processing Minister further informed that the scheme for Cold chain, Value Addition and Preservation Infrastructure provides financial assistance up to Rs. 10 crore for entrepreneurs. A total of 138 integrated cold chain projects were approved by the Government, which includes 30 new cold chain projects sanctioned recently for implementation and would attract an investment of Rs. 470 Crores and 108 projects are under the implementation by the Ministry. Of these, 52 projects have already achieved completion and commenced commercial operation. It is expected that operationalization of these 138 projects would create capacity of (a) 4.76 lakh MT of Cold Storage, Controlled Atmosphere (CA)/ Modified Atmosphere (MA) Storage, Deep Freezer (b) 118.5 MT per hour of individual Quick Freezing (IQF) (c) 118.05 lakh litres per day (LLPD) of milk processing and storage and (d) 810 number of reefer carriers.
Food Processing Minister also added that recently, Reserve Bank of India has classified loan to food & agro-based processing units and cold chain under Agriculture activities for Priority Sector Lending (PSL) subject to aggregate sanctioned limit of Rs. 100 crore per borrower. It will ensure greater flow of credit to entrepreneurs for setting up of food processing units and attract investment in the sector.
Smt. Badal also informed that an ‘Investors’ Portal’ has been developed by the Ministry with the intention to disseminate information on the state specific resource potential, policy support and fiscal incentives offered to investors in food processing sector.
Minister for Food Processing Industries expressed confidence that such summits would help in understanding the intricacies and complexities of the issues involved and would bring up suggestions which would help in devising a clear and concrete road map towards stimulating growth of this sector.