International Solar Alliance kickstarts cold chain initiative to help Indian farmers

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The ISA solar cooling initiative being launched in New Delhi

India-headquartered International Solar Alliance (ISA) has launched a new initiative meant to promote cold chain facilities and systems in member countries with the use of solar power, Ritwik Sinha reports.

The ISA Solar Cooling Initiative (I-SCI), unveiled early this week in New Delhi, would primarily deal with setting up of cool community hubs at strategic locations in India and other member countries. Such hubs would be multi-functional units including providing support to local farmers in storage and sortation of their perishable produce, acting as vital cog in the farm-to-fork value chain.

“These hubs would operate at several levels. They will strengthen the fork to farm supply chain of perishables by providing cold chain hubs close to production locations thus resulting in reducing the perishable losses. At the same time, these centres will also help in preservation of vaccines for rural communities and livestock and thus will have a strong healthcare utility,” Upendra Tripathy, Director General, International Solar Alliance told Indoasiancommodities.com on the sidelines of the conference.

ISA will soon kickstart pilot projects both in India and in member countries on a selective basis. “In India, we will set up the first project in Haryana. We are also examining the possibility of conducting pilot projects in at least half a dozen other member countries in the near run,” Tripathy added.

The initiative from an international body comprising 122 members is significant in the wake of growing environmental concern that while the world needs improved capacity in cold chain to bring down the staggering over $1 trillion food losses annually, they are mostly operated on diesel which is not a clean fuel.

“The world is moving from food security to high nutritional products, which entail more demand for cold chain. Currently, the GHG emissions arising from food loss and waste has shot upto an alarming 4.4 giga ton eCO2 per annum. A community approach using clean fuel could be an effective solution,” Pawanexh Kohli, CEO, National Cold Chain Development Council (NCCD) pointed out.

NCCD, an advisory body acting as the bridge between the government and private sector stakeholders in promoting cold chain in the country, has been roped in as knowledge partner in ISA’s cold chain project.   

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