Union minister of Food Processing Industries (FPI) Harsimrat Kaur Badal held video conference with the promoters of the completed integrated cold chain projects supported by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries in the State of Maharashtra. Minister of State for FPI, Rameshwar Teli was also present in the meeting.
The promoters of 38 cold chain projects participated in the video conference. The promoters interacted with the Union Minister of Food Processing Industries and shared their experience gained or problems faced in completing the projects. Further, the promoters shared the challenges faced in running the cold chain projects during the lockdown period.
Badal emphasized the need to leverage the collective strength of the integrated cold chain network to cope up with the COVID-19 crisis that has posed a serious challenge to the existing supply chain of food products.
They discussed issues such as piling stocks of frozen vegetables and processed dairy products, not finding their traditional markets like restaurants, banquets, and hotels amidst the lockdown and further, the difficulty in exporting these products.
The promoters shared that a higher number of working hours are required as businesses are operating with 1/3rd or half of the labor force. This has increased the cost of production, rendering product as less competitive.
Major issues discussed by the union FPI minister during the video conference included raw material availability and its high cost, impact of lockdown on operations, labor and logistics issues, high inventory costs, and liquidity crisis as payments have to be made to farmers.