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“Cold Chain Industry Critical to Food Safety & Extending Shelf Life of Perishable Products”: Agriculture Secretary

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, in collaboration with the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) and the National Centre for Cold Chain Development (NCCD) as a knowledge partner, organised the "India Cold Chain Conclave" on January 19th in New Delhi.

Shivam Dwivedi
India's export of perishable goods has increased because the products can now reach international markets in better condition.
India's export of perishable goods has increased because the products can now reach international markets in better condition.

The conference was organised with the goal of bringing all stakeholders together on one common platform where they could contribute thoughts and ideas for the industry's sustainable growth and to explore ways to reduce post-harvest losses with relevant technologies. Concurrently, an exhibition was held to showcase industry leaders' innovations and excellence in the cold chain sector.


Manoj Ahuja, Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, officially opened the Conclave and exhibition. He stated that the Ministry of Agriculture recognises the importance of the cold chain industry in ensuring food safety, reducing food waste, and increasing the shelf life of perishable products, and that the ministry has established a comprehensive set of policies and programmes to strengthen this sector. Technological innovation is critical for the Indian Cold Chain industry's growth and development.

With the development of advanced refrigeration and cooling systems, the industry can now store and transport goods at much lower temperatures, extending the shelf life of perishable products. As a result, India's export of perishable goods has increased because the products can now reach international markets in better condition.

The Conclave approved product-specific horticulture clusters in various parts of the country under the MoA&FW's Horticulture Cluster Development Programme. Shri Ahuja handed over the letter of acceptance to the five Cluster Development Agencies and Implementing Agencies for respective Clusters viz. Apple in Shopian (J&K), Banana in Ananthapur (Andhra Pradesh), Grape in Nasik (Maharashtra), Mango in Mahbubnagar (Telangana), and Turmeric in West Jaintia Hills (Meghalaya) out of 12 selected clusters for pilot phase.


The respective Implementing Agencies include FIL Industries Pvt. Ltd., Desai Agrifoods Pvt.Ltd., Sahayadri Farms Post-Harvest Care Limited, Prasad Seeds Pvt. Ltd. and Meghalaya Basin Management Agency through their Cluster Development Agencies namely JK HPMC, Andhra Pradesh Horticulture Development Agency, Maharashtra State Horticulture and Medicinal Board, Telangana State Horticulture Development Corporation Limited and Meghalaya State Agricultural Marketing Board. It was also announced that applications for seven additional pilot clusters, namely Mango for Kutch and Lucknow, Pomegranate for Solapur and Chitradurga, Banana for Theni, Apple for Kinnaur, and Pineapple for Sepahijala, are currently being processed.

According to Dr. Abhilaksh Likhi, Additional Secretary (DA&FW), the Indian Cold Chain industry is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. This growth is being driven by rising demand for perishable goods such as fruits, vegetables, and meat products, as well as an increase in e-commerce and online grocery sales. As demand for these goods grows in India, the government recognises the importance of supporting the development of the cold chain industry to ensure food security and public health.


According to Priya Ranjan, Joint Secretary (Horticulture), the Agriculture Ministry, led by the dynamic Agriculture Minister, is working quickly to understand the new needs that are emerging on the cold chain front, and we are moving forward with various programmes initiated to bring new developments in the cold chain sector.

During technical sessions, delegates deliberated in detail on various issues relating to Logistics and cluster development to unlock Cold chain development prospects, Cold chain energy efficiency, Refrigeration technology, and the Importance of Internet of Things in Cold-chain, among others, with the goal of improving the development of the cold-chain industry in a sustainable manner.


Other senior officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, APEDA, Bureau of Energy Efficiency, and others attended the event. Over 250 participants/delegates from various government departments, corporations, technology providers, traders, exporters, researchers, and other stakeholders from across the country attended the conclave.


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