The nation has proved itself capable of taking strong decisions. We have a new, stable government with the capacity to take India forward. There is a stress on agriculture, which will translate into an important role for the cold chain industry. While the movement in the cold chain industry is currently appearing to be slow, we feel it will gather steam in the months ahead. The government has invested large amounts of money in the North East, which is mostly an untapped area, and stress is being laid on building infrastructure and creating facilities for tapping the agricultural potential. The soil is very fertile and there are some fruits specific to the region with their own specialities. With inherent near-perfect agro-climatic conditions, introduction of a wide range of fruit, vegetable and plantation crops could hold the key to accelerated economic growth of the region. Ginger, pineapple, citrus, banana, papaya, tomatoes, capsicum, chillies, French beans, black pepper, a variety of flowers and exotic herbs are already grown in the region. Recent developments have added new crops like strawberry, broccoli, iceberg lettuce and orchids under open and protected cultivation. Considering such a vast opportunity, the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) organized a National Cold Chain Summit in Guwahati in the second week of July. It was a resounding success; the Who’s Who of the stakeholders were present at the summit, including prospective investors, contractors, government agencies and locals. Considerable time was devoted to discussions and sharing opinions on the action plan to take the North East ahead in terms of cold chain infrastructure. On a field visit during the summit, it was observed that there was good awareness of the potential of the cold chain at government level, and power was not a big problem according to them. However, the farming community was still far from being well educated and this was hindering their access to the best technologies. If a large group decides to take the leap, it can very well get the first mover advantage.
Cold Chain in ACREX 2015: As we had mentioned in our last article, ACREX 2015 team is now going full steam ahead with the Refrigeration and Cold Chain Pavilion and Seminar from 26 to 28 February, 2015 at Bangalore. It is for the first time in the 25 year history of ACREX that a dedicated pavilion and programme on refrigeration and cold chain are being organized as a part of ACREX. This is a great opportunity for all stakeholders in the cold chain and refrigeration industry to participate. We appeal to the fraternity, through this article, to whole-heartedly support this initiative of ISHRAE with their active participation.
ASHRAE Meet at Seattle: Arvind Surange recently attended the ASHRAE meet at Seattle as a member of the Refrigeration Committee. As the readers may be aware, ASHRAE has published the 2014 volume of Refrigeration Handbook with focus on the cold chain. Please see the following news item in ASHRAE Insights: An important project currently undertaken by ASHRAE is the preparation of a Sustainable Refrigeration Guide, which would be a reference book for development of Green Cold Chain projects. A significant development for the cold chain sector is the ongoing work on the formulation of LEED ratings for refrigerated facilities. The US Green Building Council has greatly contributed to the promotion of LEED ratings for green buildings. The Indian Green Building Council also joined the movement, and now we have LEED as well as Griha rating systems in operation for different types of buildings. Formulation of LEED ratings for refrigerated facilities would be a welcome development, and we hope that a similar movement will take place in India in the near future.