India Cold Chain Conclave: Not even a single link should be missing in value chain, says Manoj Ahuja

Manoj Ahuja, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & farmers Welfare, gave a 4-pronged approach that could be a potential way forward for the cold chain sector

New Delhi: Manoj Ahuja, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & farmers Welfare, mentioned that the cold chain is one of the priority areas in the agriculture sector. Also, how crop was not just a product in itself but how it encompasses a whole value chain altogether. In case one element of the supply chain is missing then the whole end product stands damaged. In this light it was pertinent to focus on a resilient and strong cold chains network to enable a holistic development of the agriculture sector.
Mr. Ahuja gave a 4-pronged approach that could be a potential way forward for the cold chain sector.
First, he pointed to the role of Chambers like PHDCCI being more important than ever. From being a catalyst of growth all such participants need to be active contributors to growth. There was a requirement of institutional framework to get to know the grassroot feedback from this sector.
Second, he stressed on a whole of a government approach especially with respect to the agriculture sector which at times is found to be working in silos approach due to numerous departments working in specialized fields.
Third, he called upon the industry as well as government stakeholders to identify and focus on 5-6 areas within agriculture where India can become globally competitive and soon the global leader.
Fourth, he called upon the industry to look for solutions to cold chains that are suited to the needs of the Indian farmer.
Dr. Abhilakh Likhi, Addl.Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, appreciated agri startups and young innovators working in this area. He highlighted that the success of cold chain enables products to reach from farm Gate to its final destination.
He mentioned that we need to be mindful that small and marginal farmers have to become an integral part of the cold chain ecosystem. He gave an example of saptrishi in Bihar which has increased the shelf life of a product up to 40 hours with a minimal cost, being extremely beneficial to the farmers. Ideas and design like these should be encouraged to reap the maximum benefits.
Lastly, he stressed on clean cold chains as well, not just in terms of waste but also being mindful of the impact it is having on the climate.
Sanoj Kumar Jha, Additional Secretary MOC&F talked about how the cold chain network is a cross sectoral thing today and how the efforts at the government level has been to work in an integrated manner. He also stressed on how the cold chain is the lifeline of the agriculture sector and with rapid innovations and new technologies this lifeline would be a gamechanger for the agricultural sector in times to come.
He also stressed on how all schemes running for the agricultural sector relies upon a resilient and inclusive cold chain network to be able to function successfully.
Priya Ranjan, Joint Secretary (Horticulture), Ministry of Agriculture & farmers Welfare, appreciated efforts of the industry stakeholders to organize first of its kind cold chain conclave that opens deliberation focusing on a sector that will go a long way to double farm incomes. He mentioned that the government is well aware of the importance of the cold chain as it has a great potential to reduce the post-harvest losses and increase farmers income. Cold chain also provides healthy, disease-free products to the consumers.
Through this conclave we show our intent to work inclusively with all stakeholders associated with the sector. Also, we look forward to exploring new and innovative technologies that can solve the needs of Indian small farmers, added Priya Ranjan.
Hemant Jain, Vice President, PHDCCI delivered the opening remarks talking about the proactive role of PHDCCI in promotion of establishment of a strong and resilient cold chain network. He appreciated the presence of the distinguished guests and industry stakeholders. He spoke about how a deep network of MSMEs and startups working in this sector has led to PHDCCI host first of its kind Conclave on cold chains.
Asheesh Fotedar, Chief Operating Officer, NCCD delivered a vote of thanks to the distinguished speakers.