Mumbai: India, the world's second largest producer of fruits and vegetables, throws away fresh produce worth Rs 13,300 crore every year because of the country's lack of adequate cold storage facilities and refrigerated transport, a report said.
"The value of fruits, vegetables and grains wastage in India, at Rs 44,000 crore annually.
"Fruits and vegetables account for the largest portion of that wastage. Eighteen percent of India's fruit and vegetable production valued at Rs 13,300 crore is wasted annually," according to data compiled in a new report by Emerson Climate Technologies India, a business of the US-based manufacturing and technology company Emerson.
The report says that two of the biggest contributors to food losses are the lack of refrigerated transport as also 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, food problems in India, which is the world's second largest producer of fruits and vegetables, will remain vast and are likely to grow, warns the 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, it said.
In order to reach that target, the report says an investment of more than Rs 55,000 crore 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 realise. 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.
First Published: Sunday, December 1, 2013, 11:48