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  • India Wastes INR 133 Billion of Fruits and Vegetables Annually Due to Inadequate Cold Chain, Emerson Report Highlights

    Emerson inaugurates its first Cold Chain & Distribution Center in Chakan

    Dehli, Nov. 28, 2013: India, the world’s second largest producer of fruits and vegetables, is throwing away fresh produce worth INR 133 billion every year because of the country’s lack of adequate cold storage facilities and refrigerated transport, according to data compiled in a new report by Emerson Climate Technologies India, a business of the US-based manufacturing and technology company Emerson. In response to India’s cold chain infrastructure needs, many of them outlined in the report, Emerson Climate Technologies has also established its first Cold Chain & Distribution Centre in Chakan to increase awareness of technology solutions and services available to the industry.

    The Emerson food wastage and cold storage report cites studies that have pegged the value of fruits, vegetables and grains wastage in India at INR 440 billion annually. Fruits and vegetables account for the largest portion of that wastage. Eighteen per cent of India’s fruit and vegetable production – valued at INR 133 billion – is wasted annually, according to data from the Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET). Two of the biggest contributors to food losses are the lack of refrigerated transport and the lack of high quality cold storage facilities for food manufacturers and food sellers.

    Without improvements to its “cold chain” infrastructure, from farm harvest to table, India’s food problems will remain vast and are likely to grow, warns the Emerson report.

    Currently, India has 6,300 cold storage facilities unevenly spread across the country, with an installed capacity of 30.11 million metric tonnes. Studies have shown this is half the amount of cold storage facilities that India actually needs. Cold storage capacity for all food products in the country should be more than 61 million metric tonnes. In order to reach that target, the report says an investment of more than INR 550 billion is needed by 2015-2016 just to keep up with growing fruit and vegetable production levels.

    “While progress is being made, this report confirms the cold storage situation is more acute than many realize. Emerson is seeing this in the marketplace and we commissioned this report to keep the spotlight on the issue,” said Pradipta Sen, president of Emerson’s India, Middle East and Africa region. “India has more than 1.2 billion people. Better protection of the integrity of our fruits and vegetables from harvest to table should be of paramount importance. Part of the solution is more effective, more efficient and well-thought-out cold storage infrastructure in India.”

    While financial investment in cold storage facilities and refrigerated transport is vital, the Emerson Climate Technologies report also highlights additional challenges faced by India’s cold storage industry today. The three biggest challenges are (1) high lifecycle costs for a cold storage facility that typically needs land and buildings to hold 6,000 metric tonnes of food; (2) uneven distribution of cold storage facilities with 60 percent of existing facilities located near the point of production in just four states and too few closer to distribution points in the other 24 states; and (3) low awareness of best storage practices amongst industry players.

    Other findings cited by the Emerson report:

    • A cold storage facility with a capacity of 6,000 metric tonnes requires an initial investment of INR 50 million, excluding land costs. However, high real estate costs contribute significantly to the high lifecycle cost.
    • Most cold storage facilities are located near the point of production, with food from the farm travelling longer distances to reach the facility and end consumer due to uneven distribution.
    • Due to limited investment in cold chain technology there is limited awareness of best practices to operate it efficiently.

    The Emerson report cites several positive measures implemented by India’s Union Government to improve the cold chain infrastructure, including: recognizing cold chain as a sub-sector of infrastructure in the last Union Budget, creating an additional budget to set up cold storages and collaborations with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), growers, and cold chain equipment manufacturers, to set up the National Centre for Cold Chain Development (NCCD). Additionally, the government’s approval of 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail is a welcome step to facilitate investment in the cold storage market.

    The Emerson report says the private sector needs to be encouraged to play a more significant role to develop the cold chain space further, including implementing proven cold storage refrigeration technology solutions available today. These technology solutions, according to the Emerson report, range from multi-commodity cold storage facilities to controlled atmosphere storage to advanced ripening chambers that can reduce operating costs, protect and improve food quality, and be more energy efficient.

    The Emerson Climate Technologies report notes that the cold chain industry is emerging as a fast-growing business sector in India, with developments in the food processing sector, organized retail and government initiatives driving growth. The cold storage industry’s continued progress will also fuel the flow of investment by multi-brand companies and sustain their interest in the retail food sector. To develop a world-class cold chain infrastructure, the Emerson report contends that the government and industry bodies need to work collaboratively to encourage the adoption of better and more efficient refrigeration technologies that can prolong the shelf life of food products and bring commensurate economic returns to the farmers.

    Responding to India’s need for more cold chain infrastructure and expert advice, Emerson Climate Technologies has opened its first Cold Chain & Distribution Center in Chakan (Pune). This state-of-the-art, 25,000-square-meter facility showcases the wide range of technology and service solutions for the cold chain industry available from Emerson, including custom-build products like an assembly line for condensing units suited for Indian conditions and market, as well as project design services. The centre also will provide training to contractors on product selection and technology options appropriate for various refrigeration applications.

    The Emerson Climate Technologies report, The Food Wastage & Cold Storage Infrastructure Relationship in India – Developing Realistic Solutions, is a comprehensive review of data from universities, government and nongovernmental organizations coupled with the analysis of industry experts to pinpoint specific problem areas and a number of solutions to address this growing challenge.

    The full Emerson report is available at emerson.com​/en-in/.

    About Emerson Climate Technologies
    Emerson Climate Technologies, a business segment of Emerson, is the world’s leading provider of heating, air conditioning and refrigeration solutions for residential, industrial and commercial applications. The group combines best-in-class technology with proven engineering, design, distribution, educational and monitoring services to provide customized, integrated climate-control solutions for customers worldwide. Emerson Climate Technologies’ innovative solutions, including industry-leading brand Copeland Scroll, improve human comfort, safeguard food and protect the environment. For more information, visit www.EmersonClimate.com/Asia.

    About Emerson
    Emerson (NYSE: EMR), based in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial, and consumer markets around the world. The company is comprised of five business segments: Process Management, Industrial Automation, Network Power, Climate Technologies, and Commercial & Residential Solutions. Sales in fiscal 2013 were $24.7 billion. For more information, visit emerson.com.