A “Center of Excellence (COE)” that will showcase modern refrigeration technologies is being developed in Haryana state, India, to improve and integrate the local cold chain and help reduce food loss, according to a recent webinar.
The COE will demonstrate “practical refrigeration solutions across the cold chain that work,” said Judith Evans, Professor and Researcher – Air Conditioning & Refrigeration at London South Bank University, U.K., during a “Cold Chain Imperative” webinar hosted by the Institute for Refrigeration (IOR) on April 28.
“In short, she added, “it will upskill the whole local cold chain.”
The purpose of the COE is to “improve every aspect of refrigeration in Haryana,” said another speaker, Toby Peters, Professor, Cold Economy, at the University of Birmingham, U.K. The daily work of the COE will be to cater to “education, business development, training, and demonstrating working models” to farmers on the ground, he added.
The COE project has broad support and is being undertaken by a partnership of AgriTech Sector Team, the U.K. Department for International Trade, the British High Commission India, as well as the Haryana State Government.
It will be a fixed location, but active by outreach, to demonstrate practical refrigeration solutions across the cold chain to local farmers.
The COE is a pilot scheme, but one that may suit other locations. It offers a “replicable, localizable, and globally scalable” solution to inadequate refrigeration, not just in Haryana, but in the rest of India, said Peters.
This is a crucial time for refrigeration in India generally, as demand for refrigeration is growing, the speakers noted. Thus, to avoid exponentially increasing greenhouse gas emissions, the COE will follow best practices in low-GWP refrigeration.
Initiatives such as the COE are important in India, Peters noted, as “just under half of India’s population works in agriculture,” though farmer income is marginal.
As well as this, India produces food surplus to its needs, yet many of its citizens suffer from malnutrition.
Hence, throughout the webinar, discussions centered around the mantra “food saved is as important as food produced.” Assisting farmers reduce waste via efficient refrigeration will thus help maximize their profits and help combat malnutrition, said the speakers.
Further information about the COE, as well as a recording of the webinar and speaker presentations are available on the IOR website.