Covestro, a global high tech materials innovator, along with the officials from National Centre of Cold Chain Development and the National Horticultural Mission, inaugurated an Urban Cold Store, which is part of an initiative aimed at improving the cold chain system in Pune city. The farm-to-fork integrated cold chain pilot project initiated in partnership with fruits and vegetable retail startup, Mr. Karrot, aims to enhance the last mile distribution and re-engineer the supply chain while retaining the nutrition value of the food.
Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with CII in October 2017, this is the first project by Covestro under the Innovation Hub of CII’s Food & Agriculture Centre of Excellence. In this project, while the CII will bring its project management skills, industry network and data analysis, Covestro is the material orchestrator.
Cold chain integration demands innovation and collaboration not only within the industry but across industry. Mr. Karrot, which has been an upcoming startup in the vegetables and fruits retail is developing an unique App that informs the consumers not just about the cost of the products purchased but its nutritional value too.
The idea stems from the need to empower people with information that drives healthy living. However, to ensure that the consumers receive the food with the mentioned nutrient value, it is necessary that ambient temperature is maintained at all times – this puts the emphasis on an integrated cold chain system.
“Covestro is committed to investing in making a sustainable impact in the food value chain by continuously pushing boundaries using its talented materials. Food security challenges are critical issues that impact the Human Development Index. Creation a scalable model that brings IT application into an integrated cold chain and ensures right storage at the various transition points in the chain to the required levels of utility leads to a sustainable ecosystem for the farm to fork model. Our project with Mr. Karrot also enhances the value-addition that an integrated cold chain system can bring to a business and a public issue at large,” commented Ajay Durrani, Managing Director, Covestro India.
"The agri sector in India has changed with farmers producing more fruits and vegetables than grains and pulses. However, given our tropical climate, a large part of food and vegetables is wasted even before it reaches the consumer - the farmer therefore loses this income. Re-imagining the supply chain with cold chain as a core component will be critical to reducing this wastage and achieving the Prime Minister's vision of doubling the farmers' income," said Sriram Parthasarathy, Chief Karrot, Mr. Karrot Farm Fresh Fruit & Veggies.
Following the inauguration, a workshop on cold chain as an enabler for doubling farmers’ income was also initiated. The workshop that witnessed innovative startup in this space sharing their experience saw attendance of 75 people, including from cold store owners to entrepreneurs to farmers. The workshop also acted as a knowledge and experience sharing platform for various stakeholders representing the industry, government and farmers.
Commending the initiatives, Pankaj Mehta, Co-Chairman, CII - Task Force on Cold Chain Development added, “It was very encouraging to see many farmers attending the workshop on doubling farmers’ income and actively engaging with the delegates. They were keen to improve agri logistics, invest in cold chain and establish the market linkages.”
India loses a large share of its perishable food due to an inadequate cold chain ecosystem. According to reports, storing fruits and vegetables at controled temperature using cold chain can retain the nutrition value as well as keep them fresh, reducing the food wastage.
The success of the project also stands as a proof-point and showcase for India to build an integrated cold chain system to solve the food wastage challenge as envisioned by the joint team of Covestro and CII Cold Chain Task Force.
With 2016 sales of EUR 11.9 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life.
The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 15,600 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2016.
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