Union Government is 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 farmers to the consumer seamlessly, Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal said.
The minister was speaking on the occasion of National Cold Chain Summit organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce, at Gangtok.
Addressing the gathering, the minister Badal stated that India is one of the largest producer of milk, fruits and vegetables, marine products, meat and poultry. Thus, there is an urgent need to create adequate cold chain capacity in the country for preventing wastage.
She 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 operationalisation of these 138 projects would create capacity of 4.76 lakh MT of cold storage, 118.5 MT per hour of Individual Quick Freezing, 118.05 lakh litres per day of milk processing and storage and 810 number of reefer carriers.
Badal also added that recently, Reserve Bank of India has classified loan to food and agro-based processing units and cold chain under agriculture activities for priority sector lending 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.
She 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.