India: increased investment in the cold chain could reduce food losses and cut CO2 emissions.

Roughly 18% of fruits and vegetables are wasted each year due to the lack of post-harvest storage infrastructure.
According to the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), every year in India, roughly 18% of fruits and vegetables are wasted due to the lack of post-harvest storage infrastructure. Yet, India is the world’s second largest producer of fruits and vegetables, although only 1.5% of India’s global product exports concerns this activity. In India, only 2% of products are held or transported using cold storage facilities. The lack of cold chain leads to massive food losses that can reach 20 to 50% of total production, in a country where malnutrition still concerns a majority of people.

Investment in the cold chain – specifically pre-cooling and transport refrigeration equipment – can reduce such food losses up to 76%, and it could also cut carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions: that is what Carrier showed with its pilot study on the production of kinnow, a citrus fruit grown in the Punjab region, conducted by the Indian School of Business, under the direction of the National Center for Cold-chain Development (NCCD) of India and Carrier Transicold India, and in collaboration with Balaji Kinnow.
The study showed that the use of refrigerated trucks allows to supply kinnows not only to the rest of India, but also for export to Russia, Dubai and Bangladesh: investing in cold chain could thus increase the geographical reach of the supply chain.
The study also assessed the carbon footprint of supply chain activities and revealed that in comparison with greenhouse gas emissions from kinnow spoilage, cold chain intervention reduced overall CO2e emissions by 16%.

Moreover, the study corrected misperceptions that the cold chain requires a complex setup from farm to retail and a high cost investment. In the end, every stakeholder along the supply chain can benefit from investing in cold chain: growers, aggregators, transporters, distributors and retailers.

The results of the study were released by Carrier at the company’s World Cold Chain Summit to Reduce Food Loss, held in Singapore in December.

For further information, please consult Carrier website and the research published on the Centre for Public Policy Research website.