India Introduces Incentives to Attract Investment in Cold Storage Sector

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Oct. 6 – India is looking to build cold-storage facilities in an effort attract investment, cut food wastage and streamline the supply chain in a country that produced the second largest amount of fruits and vegetables.

Fruit and vegetable wastage due to poor post-harvest management and lack of cold chain facilities have been estimated to cost up to Rs.500 billion annually the National Commission of Farmers said in its fifth and final report.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced a number of schemes to attract investment in the sector on Friday, stating that he wanted to reduce the “difference between the farm gate prices, wholesale prices and retail prices.”

“External Commercial Borrowings will henceforth be available for cold storage or cold room facility, including for farm level pre-cooling, for preservation or storage of agricultural and allied produce, marine products and meat,” Mukherjee said.

According to the Economic Times of India, the government also announced concessional import duty and exemption of service taxes for installation and commissioning equipment to promote mechanized handling in spot market.

The regulation will also exempt customs duty on the refrigeration units needed to produce refrigerated vehicles.

Cold storage facilities remain limited in India and the government’s focus on the industry should help to boost investment and expand warehousing and cold storage capabilities in the country.

The increase in cold storage should help boost exports of fruits and vegetables.