“The challenge in development of cold chain for dairy is producers are small and scattered”
Federation of Cold Storage Associations of India (FCAOI) brings together players in the cold storage industry on a single platform. In an email interview with Anurag More, Mahendra Swarup, president, FCAOI, talks about challenges in setting up cold storages in the country and what needs to be done for developing them in accordance with the growth in the dairy industry.
How important are cold chains in view of the growth in the dairy industry?
The cold chains for dairy industry are very important for India. At present there is no cold chain facility for small producer of dairy products. Big producers have got their own arrangement.
It cannot be said what impact will cold chains have on the dairy industry but definitely a good quality product shall be available to consumers.
What are the challenges faced by the industry and what are the opportunities for cold chains in the dairy industry?
The basic challenge in the development of cold chain for dairy is that the producers are small and scattered. Gradually the want for cold rooms for dairy products is increasing, particularly for preservation of khoya (mawa), butter and ice cream.
What kind of support you expect from the government for cold chains in the dairy industry?
Government cannot play any important role except for providing collection centres for various dairy products from where the goods can be dispatched to cold storages for further storage or to the consumption centre for marketing.
We have already explained that there is hardly any cold chain in India and a lot is to be done basically providing facility to the smaller dairies situated in villages to supply their milk or milk products to the consuming centres. We are finding that some new cold storages are coming for the storage of dairy products and private players are developing the ref. vans. But this is not all. Collection centres or big storage facilities at the point of sale are very necessary.
What are the new trends you are witnessing in cold chains in the dairy industry? What kind of growth is seen in cold chain as far as dairy products are concerned?
At present since the dairy industry is in a very infant stage, leaving 2/3 big dairies in India, small to very small dairies are prevalent in the country. This needs to be changed and bigger producing areas are to be established.
We are not hoping for any major change in cold chain for dairy. Big dairy farms are to be developed. Good breed of animals which needs government support as well as big players in the industry.
So India is lacking in cold chains for the dairy industry. What more can be done in this regard?
India is definitely lacking in cold chain industry, same is affecting dairy industry also and lot is to be done in this regard.
Growth in dairy and allied industry is strong in tier II and tier III cities, so what can be done to develop cold chains for the dairy industry in these cities?
We are not finding dairy industry strong in tier II and tier III cities. Had it been so the cold chain industry would have developed by itself. Same is the case of no growth in dairy industry which is affecting cold chain network also for dairy industry. The gap in production and demand is increasing. Dependence on imported milk powder and dairy products is also increasing.
What kind of growth are you envisaging in this industry in the next five years?
Although there is a big need for growth in the industry but we are not envisaging any rapid growth in coming five years.