<aside> 🖊️ The average Indian household wastes 50kg of food per year (compared to the US at 59 kg), equaling 40% of the total food produced, due to an extreme lack of cold storage facilities.
The average Indian household wastes 50kg of food per year (compared to the US at 59 kg), equaling 40% of the total food produced. This is mostly in part to poor post-processing facilities and a lack of effective and cheap cold storage infrastructure in rural parts of India. Rural parts contribute heavily to the food production in the country but farmers in those areas lack the grants and aid to invest in expensive cold storage machines.
Why hasn’t this problem been solved?
There is a severe lack of cold storage facilities in India because of the cost of building and maintaining cold storage rooms which is much more than most Indian farmers make each year. These high costs are because of the design of cold storage systems.
Alternatively, there is a gap in the market for large stores to have truckers go around to rural farms and buy vegetables directly from farmers to store in solar-powered cold storage facilities. This aggregates the vegetable supply and ensures that farms still get consistently paid for their work while ensuring that the produce supply is being properly taken care of.
The average Indian household wastes 50kg of food per year (compared to the US at 59 kg), equaling 40% of the total food produced, due to an extreme lack of cold storage facilities. This is especially problematic when we consider that 15% of the population doesn’t have enough to eat. Considering the sheer amount of food that is produced in the country, there is potential for the entire population to have healthy and nutritious food.
As per the Global Hunger Index (GHI) in 2020, India ranked 94 out of 107 countries and malnutrition was found to be the leading risk factor for the death of children <5 years of age. Further, the prevalence of Anaemia was noted to be among 53% of women of all reproductive age and 54% among girls aged 15-19 years.
The absence of proper cold storage facilities in India causes 16% of fruits and vegetables to spoil before transportation.
More than 75% of the cold storage capacity is concentrated among the top 5 states (UP, West Bengal, Gujarat, Punjab, and Andhra Pradesh) while 73% of the total capacity is suitable for storing single commodities only. 68% of cold storage capacity across India is suitable for storing Potatoes only (foregoing economic benefits of storing milk, livestock, and other high-value crops) and 92% of such units are being operated by private players, characterizing an unorganized and fragmented industry unwilling to undertake capacity expansion or invest in the modernization of facilities.
This severe lack of cold storage facilities in India is because of the cost of building and maintaining cold storage rooms. The initial cost of a cold storage system is over US $10 000, with annual maintenance costs of $7K. This is more than most Indian farmers make each year. These high costs are because of the design of cold storage systems.
Almost all cold storage facilities run on electricity. Electricity costs represent 70% of the total cost of both building and running cold storage facilities. Cold storage facilities require a lot of energy to operate and stay at a stable cold temperature. Cold storage uses 25 kWh of electricity and 9,200 Btu of natural gas per square foot per year.
Cold storage facility diagram
This is a very big problem in India because the cost of electricity is 4 times higher than the cost of electricity in other places in the world. High electricity costs stem from poor electricity infrastructure, lack of labor, and high manufacturing costs.
But at the end of the day, if the problem of high electricity costs in cold storage facilities can be solved, the price and accessibility of cold storage facilities can be greatly increased.
On Government grant aid 👇