Karnataka State Agricultural Produce Processing & Export Corporation Limited (KAPPEC) is investing a total of Rs 11. 95 crore in two cold storage units in the state. The first is the Belgaum Integrated cold storage unit for fruits and vegetables to be set up by the Belgaum Agro Pvt. Ltd at an investment of Rs 5.08 crore. The company has come forward and requested for 30 per cent equity by KAPPEC which will chip in Rs 80 lakh. The second is the mango-tomato processing unit under the aegis of the Jai Hindustan Agro Pvt. Ltd in Kolar district. This unit will be set up at an investment of Rs 93.55 lakh KAPPEC will invest Rs 30.55 lakh as an equity. The two projects have been submitted to the state government and are under clearance.
KAPEEC has also commissioned the public-private partnership effort of the Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) unit at Kustagi, in Koppal district, for export of lady’s finger, strawberry, capsicum, mango, papaya, green peas and pomegranate arils which are stored under 22 degree celsius for supplies to the Europe markets. This also covers an integrated cold storage for pomegranate and grapes at Bagalkot.
There are some more projects which are under clearance for KAPPEC. These include the Individually Quick Frozen unit at Mulbagal for tomato and mango, facility at Tumkur, Shimoga for vanilla extraction and a processing unit for vanilla at North Karnataka. An integrated cold storage at Raichur is also under process. All these are private-public partnership efforts, KJ Devendrappa, managing director, KAPPEC, told F&B News
KAPECC has also assisted the setting up of a processing unit at Hubli-Dharwad under ASIDE(Assistance to States for Infrastructure Development) funding for setting up an integrated cold storage for mango and other fruits.
In addition, now KAPEEC is planning to export 500 tonnes of pomegranate from Kushtagi after seeking the Global GAP Certification which is a must for Europe and US. Last year the state made efforts to export 300 tonnes of the total 600 tonnes produce.
To give a boost to domestic retail supplies, KAPPEC is making efforts to offer the pomegranates to Reliance, Food World and Aditya Birla’s More stores. It is also planning to supply sesame seeds to Gujarat for exports and increase the quality of grapes grown in Bijapur. In a bid to offer maximum export assistance, KAPPEC has opened offices in Mumbai and Chennai to issue No Objection Certificates to onion exporters.
Karnataka has a total of 138 cold chain units in 17 districts with a total capacity of 2,53,168 metric tonnes. The state holds ample scope to increase the number of cold chain units. This will allow the agriculture sector to grow further, stated the KAPPEC managing director.
The key driver of cold chain units in the state is the presence of six agro climatic zones which allows the production of fruits and vegetables.
The key advantage of cold chain units in the districts is that it will provide entrepreneurs a business opportunity to run these units. For the farmers there is more value addition to the produce. Cold chain units also increase the shelf life and protect from pests. Farmers can also pledge the produce and seek financial assistance.
However, the state has lagged behind in the cold chain infrastructure. This is because of lack of proper supply chain, power shortage, lack of infrastructure, improper harvesting mechanism.
The biggest issue in the segment is that the single commodity cold chain units are not proving to be economical in terms of cost and time. The state requires multi-product, multi-stage, multi-chamber facility to store fresh fruits/vegetables, dry fruits, diced produce and powders, said Devendrappa.
In India, Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of cold chains at 600. This is followed by 500 cold chain units each in West Bengal and Bihar. States of Maharashtra and Gujarat are also far better off than Karnataka in terms of cold chain units. Therefore, there was immense potential for entrepreneurs to tap business venture opportunities in the segment, said Devendrappa.