Dearth of storage facilities nationwide
WHEN the finance minister says that there is a major shortage of cold storages in the country, he is stating the obvious. As pointed out by Mr. Muhith, with only two vintage cold storages operating in the country that were established in the early '70s, it is hardly surprising that so much of the agricultural bounty goes to waste.
Obviously, feeding a population that has practically doubled over the last forty years requires more food. Yet successive governments have shied away from setting up multipurpose cold storages in the country that can preserve a variety of products for leaner times. While the country has experienced good breakthroughs in terms of production, the same cannot be said for physical storage facilities. The major impediment for private sector to make investments in the area of cold storage has to do with high bank interest rate that is around 18 – 20 per cent. Given that banks have largely failed to provide loans for agro-based industries, it is not particularly surprising that no major cold storage facilities have been built in the country for decades.
Modern cold storage facilities go far beyond storing just vegetables. Indeed, processed poultry and livestock too can be stored for future consumption. Needless to say the issue has to be addressed immediately. We would urge the government to seek ways to help provide financial incentives to promote the building of such facilities.