1. Agriculture World

University of Birmingham & Haryana to Create CoE to Boost Crop Post-Harvest Management

The establishment of the UK-Haryana Centre for Post-Harvest & Cold Chain will be a significant step forward in the development and demonstration of post-harvest technologies that will extend the shelf life of perishable produce.

Shivam Dwivedi
MoU Signing ceremony between officials of University of Birmingham & Haryana Govt
MoU Signing ceremony between officials of University of Birmingham & Haryana Govt

The University of Birmingham and Haryana have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a centre of excellence in the state to improve crop post-harvest management and sustainable cold chains, according to a statement from the university.

The Haryana Centre of Excellence was established on Tuesday at the Global Summit organised by the Centre for Sustainable Cooling in Birmingham, with the mandate to conduct cutting-edge applied research, capacity building and training, an innovation and business hub, and a technology testing/demonstration centre.

"The Haryana Centre of Excellence will conduct cutting-edge applied research, capacity building and training, an innovation and business hub, and a technology testing/demonstration centre." It will bring together experts, investors, agri-food companies, farmer cooperatives, and energy or logistics providers to deliver sustainable cooling," according to a statement from the University of Birmingham, which hosted the summit.

The agreement builds on the Africa Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold-chain (ACES) established at the University of Rwanda in collaboration with the Rwandan government and the United Nations Environment Programme. It also follows an agreement signed earlier this year with the Indian state of Telangana for the establishment of a Telangana Centre of Excellence.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs funds the UK and UN Environment technical assistance programme. "The UK-Haryana Centre for Post-Harvest & Cold Chain will be a big leap towards developing and demonstrating post-harvest technologies that will enhance the shelf life of perishable produce," said Jai Parkash Dalal, Haryana's minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. The Centre will not only serve farmers' needs, but also those of researchers and entrepreneurs."

Approximately 60% of food should be refrigerated at some point in the food supply chain, a figure that will only rise as countries strive to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, feed a rapidly growing population, and adapt to a warming world and rapidly degrading environment. The British Deputy High Commissioner in Chandigarh, Caroline Rowett, stated that the centre of excellence will help improve the functionality and efficiency of the farm-to-fork supply chain.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for them to collaborate and showcase technology that will help improve the functionality and efficiency of the 'farm to fork' supply chain." Farmers will have the tools to improve the storage and transportation of their produce to ensure it reaches the consumer in perfect condition,” she said. The loss of 526 million tonnes of food produced (12% of the global total) is caused by ineffective refrigeration, with developing countries refrigerating less than 20% of their production.

Each year, food losses result in an estimated 1 gigatonne of CO2-eq emissions, in addition to the waste of agricultural inputs such as land, fertiliser, water, and energy. Similarly, 25% of vaccines arrive with degraded efficacy, owing to failures in cold-chains; and 20% of temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products are damaged due to broken cold-chains.

Because of the climate impact of refrigerants (HFCs) and indirect emissions from energy use, conventional cooling technologies are highly polluting. They account for 7% of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which are expected to double by 2030 and triple by 2100.

"We must now figure out how to provide the globally connected cold-chains for a well-functioning society in an efficient, affordable, equitable, and sustainable manner," said Toby Peters, CSC Director and Professor of Cold Economy at the University of Birmingham and Heriot-Watt University.

"The networks of temperature-controlled supply chains are complex, requiring coordination across multiple stakeholders, countries, and continents. We need to understand how renewable energy and climate-friendly refrigerants interact," he said.

Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters