Smart tech helps Indian farmers to reduce food waste

food coolingSmartphone technology is expected to help Indian farmers to make better business decisions to tackle sustainable cooling challenge facing India and the wider world, according to a report

The report was launched at the two-day Clean Cooling Congress, which opened in London on 24 April, hosted by University of Birmingham with the World Bank Group and the UK Department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Mission Innovation.

The recommendation is part of a four-point ‘roadmap’ developed by experts at the University of Birmingham working with the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation and MP Ensystems to uncover the cooling needs of farmers in the states of Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Four major actions in ‘Promoting Clean and Energy Efficient Cold-Chains in India’ are

Promoting new business models that involve the communities taking charge of their own cooling needs

Establishing ‘Living Labs’ in rural communities where new technology can be tested

Providing training to enable people in the food industry to use new technology

Creating a new framework for delivering IT-based cold chain solutions; particularly IT-based services to manage harvesting and logistics, and selling surplus cooling capacity

Effective refrigeration is essential to preserve food and medicine. It underpins industries and economic growth, while air conditioning is crucial to sustainable urbanisation and human productivity and makes much of the world safe to live in.

Toby Peters, professor in Clean Cold Economy at the University of Birmingham, commented, “We must build capacity whilst demonstrating the efficiency of new technology that people will be able to use easily and affordably.”

The problems in India are acute, where up to 50 per cent of food is lost post-harvest because of lack of cold chain. The report highlights that around four per cent of products that would benefit from a cold-chain actually does so, compared with around 70 per cent in the UK.

Pawanexh Kohli, CEO at National Centre for Cold-chain Development and Visiting Professor at the University of Birmingham, noted, “Cold-chains enhance economic wealth, cash flow and security for farmers and improve food quality, safety and value to the customer, but they must achieve this with minimum environmental impact.”

Krishan Dhawan, CEO at Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, said, “Cold chains are expected to grow rapidly in the next couple of years. Under a business-as-usual scenario, most cold chains will run on diesel and adopt carbon intensive cooling and refrigeration technologies. The way forward is for India is the transition to cleaner and more efficient cold chains, in order to tackle climate change and to achieve wider socioeconomic benefits.”

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