A UK-based company has plans to roll out clean cold technology in India to move perishable goods efficiently from producer to consumer and help the country tackle its food crisis by reducing food loss. Dearman is working on developing new technologies to achieve movement of perishable produce through an integrated chain of refrigerated transport and refrigerated storage, broadly referred to as a cold chain.
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"At present, India has approximately 31 million tonnes of cold chain capacity, which is vast, but only approximately 9,000 refrigerated vehicles," said Dearman CEO Toby Peters. "That imbalance has to be rectified because when looking to feed a population, to maximise the economic return for producers and to supply vital medicines, the objective is to move goods efficiently from production to consumer, and that requires a network of vehicles," he said.
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"Dearman is working with institutions in the UK, including the newly announced Energy Research Accelerator, to not only develop new technologies but to establish a blueprint for manufacturing facilities which can then be established around the world, "We hope to have a field trial of our zero emission transport refrigeration system in India next year, leading to an ever greater presence in the Indian market thereafter," he said. India is the world's largest producer of milk and the second-largest producer of fruit and vegetables.
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Yet it is home to more than 25 per cent of the world's hungry poor. The lack of a reliable, integrated cold chain across the country is a significant contributing factor to this loss of food, a panel discussion at a House of Lords committee room highlighted. Pawanexh Kohli, chief advisor to India's National Centre for Cold Chain Development, suggested that to make proper use of the cold chain infrastructure already available in India, an additional 60,000 refrigerated trucks are needed immediately, just to transport food from the field to the major cities.
"Factoring in projected growth in Indian cold infrastructure in the years to come and continued growth in demand, the need for new refrigerated vehicles could be much, much higher," he said at the 'Sustainably Meeting the Global Food Crisis: Why we need to green cold chains' event. The Indian National Centre for Cold Chain Development projects the need to spend more than USD 20 billion on cold chain infrastructure, of which almost 50 per cent will be needed for refrigerated transport.