Harsimrat Kaur Badal, union minister of Food Processing Industries, has stated that new integrated cold chain projects are likely to generate direct and indirect employment for 16,200 and are likely to benefit 2,57,904 farmers.27 projects were approved in Inter-Ministerial Approval Committee (IMAC) meetings under the Scheme for Integrated Cold Chain and Value addition infrastructure of Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana (PMKSY).
The projects have been approved across the states of Andhra Pradesh (7), Bihar(1), Gujarat(2), Haryana(4), Karnataka(3), Kerala(1), MP(1), Punjab(1), Rajasthan(2), Tamil Nadu(4) and Uttar Pradesh(1). According to the press statement, these 27 new integrated cold chain projects will leverage a total investment of 743 crores to create modern, innovative infrastructure and effective cold chain facilities for the food processing sector across the nation. With a grant-in-aid of 208 crore, these projects will help increase efficiency and sustainability in India’s food supply chain.
Step towards making India Atmanirbhar
Badal added that saving the perishable produce by provisioning adequate infrastructure shall not only help in augmenting farmer’s incomes, but it shall also act as a small step towards making India AtmaNirbhar (self-reliant) in the fruits and vegetable sector. She further said that these Integrated cold chain projects would not only provide a significant boost to the growth of food processing infrastructure but would also help in streamlining the agricultural supply chain, generate direct and indirect employment opportunities in rural areas, provide better prices to farmers, end-users, and benefit allied sectors. She added that these benefits are vital for the economic security of farmers.
Eighty-five cold chain projects have been considered for financial assistance throughout the country. This is said to be a boost to the Government’s efforts towards bridging the gap in supply chain and building world-class cold chain infrastructure through the Scheme of Cold Chain, Value Addition & Preservation Infrastructure of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana.
Big boost to the growth of food processing
This Integrated Cold Chain projects will not only provide a significant boost to the growth of food processing infrastructure but would also help in streamlining the agricultural supply chain, generate direct and indirect employment opportunities in rural areas, provide better prices to farmers, end-users, and benefit allied sectors. These benefits are vital for the economic security of farmers.
The Ministry of Food Processing Industries strives to establish an integrated and seamless network of strong cold chain grid and infrastructure for the uninterrupted transfer of perishables from production to consumption areas or centers. This would maintain the safety, quality, and quantity and storage of perishable produce such as fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat, fish marine, poultry, ready to eat food products.
Under the Central Sector Scheme of Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure, the Ministry provides financial assistance in the form of grant-in-aid at the rate of 35% for general areas and the rate of 50% for North-Eastern States, Himalayan States, ITDP Areas, and Islands for storage and transport infrastructure. The assistance at 50% and 75%, respectively is also given for value addition and processing infrastructure subject to a maximum grant-in-aid of 10 crore per project to set up integrated cold chain projects, including irradiation facility from the farm gate to the consumer.
Badal also mentioned that the food processing industry has the potential to absorb the excess farm produce, thereby benefiting the farmers and, at the same time, convert the harvest into a value-added processed product that can meet the domestic as well as the global demand.