Report: Development of Cold Chain System for Perishable Agrifood Products Workshop, March 24-28, 2014, India

Opening ceremonies led by APO Director for Agriculture Department Jojo Bernardo

Opening ceremonies led by APO Director for Agriculture Department Jojo Bernardo

BACKGROUND

It has been a global concern that food production should continuously increase to cope up with the increasing population. Yet, more than 1/3 of the foods produced, according to the FAO, is being wasted causing major economic losses and significant damages to the environment and the natural resources. One of the major causes is lack of god harvest and post-harvest handling knowledge and practices to reduce food waste and losses. One way to address this perennial problem is the adoption of a well designed and managed cold chain system to increase the income of farmers, add value and support the development of a diversified food industry. We all need to immediately address this growing issue of food wastage or the world will starve to death after a few years.

The objectives as provided by APO are: to assess the current status of development of cold chain systems for perishable agrifood products in member countries; to share knowledge on new technologies and best practices in cold chain management systems for perishable agrifood products; and to formulate action plans for the development and promotion of cold chain systems in member countries.

OBJECTIVES FOR PARTICIPATION

In the Northern part of the country where majority of our contract growers are located, organic vegetables requiring cold temperature have shown great market value but due to poor postharvest practices, their agricultural productivity and profitability are greatly affected. At present, the company is dealing and working with groups of farmers and cooperatives, agri suppliers and suppliers of packaging materials, service providers and logistics support to link as a chain and merge into one up to our products’ point of destination.

In our present dealings with the farmers and based on our personal visits in their farms and during their deliveries, it is very clear to realize that a sizeable number of their produce are waste due to por handling practices coupled with poor transportation, storage and processing.Even if the freesh vegetables are transported using refrigerated trucks and vans, some produce are losing its freshness even before reaching the traders and institutional buyers.

It becomes imperative for us to address one of the major problems of agro-products with perishable nature such as fresh vegetables. If given the chance to be a part of the workshop, I am confident that based on the objectives set by the Asian Productivity Organization, we shall be able to address the perennial problem on postharvest losses and preserve the quality to prolong the shelf life of fresh produce. We will then be able to find the essential handling operations for an efficient cold chain system, to be able to establish an adaptable an effective system and integrated it in the marketing operations of vegetable farmers for a better competitive-market advantage thereby minimizing postharvest losses and increased profitability to farmers.

In addition to the above, the Philippine government through the National Economic and Development Authority as its implementing agency, is committed to establish a cold chain system consisting of common service facilities with marketing support for agri-fishery products, taking into account international best practices.

With all these effort rolled into one, losses on post-harvest operations will be reduced, an inventory of quality perishable goods will be maintained, promotion of direct marketing activities shall be easily done, price stabilization and promotion of food safety shall be realized and increased income and sustainability to our “heroes”- the farmers.

PARTICIPANTS

There were 3 participants each from the Philippines and Sri Lanka, 2 from Thailand and 1 each from Cambodia, Republic of China, Fiji, Indonesia, Iran, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, and Nepal. India has 8 participants. Total number of participants is 28.

The other Filipino participants are as follows:

Mr. Brielgo Pagaran
Director IV Regional Director
Department of Trade and Industry
3rd Fl. D&V Plaza Bldg.J.C. Aquino Avenue
Butuan City

Mr. Jerry James Dela Torre
Science Research Specialist II
Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech)
Munoz Science City
Nueva Ecija

SCOPE, CONTENT AND METHODOLOGY

There were several topics discussed but vital are the following:

a. Development of Cold Chain in India
Mr. Pawanexh Kohli, Chief Advisor, National Centre for Cold-chain Development (NCCD)

The importance of reaching out the small scale farmers was emphasized towards the development of cold chain system to enable the farmers to increase the value of their produce and prolonging the shelf life of perishable products like fresh vegetables. This motivated me to emulate his footstep towards the development of cold chain system in Luzon where our main source of produce is based. This step is very crucial in uplifting the lives of our small scale farmers to minimize post harvest losses and increase their profitability.

b. Cold chain and its logistics for perishable Agrifood products: Concepts and Principles
Dr. Navam Hettiarachchy
Professor, University of Arkansas, USA

Focused more on the means to properly maintain the freshness of perishable foods products by being knowledgable on time temperature management, technologies involved and storage conditions which were provided in detail in her presentation.

c. Cold chain development and its impact on the agriculture and food industry development in Japan
Mr. Taneo Moriyama
Managing Director, Insight Inc., Japan

Mr. Taneo provided detailed information on cold storage infrastructure in major countries and the increasing need for cold system in Asia. He presesented statistics showing a high growth on the shift from chilled to frozen foods as well as the food wastage during the distribution stages and the benefits of establishing a cold chain system which I fully agree.

d. Postharvest handling and cooling of fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers for small farmers
Dr. Navam Hettiarachchy
Professor, University of Arkansas, USA

Presented by Dr. Navam are post-harvest technical matters on quality maintenance (water, RH, water activity, respiration); post-harvest temperature management, cooling methods and criteria for selection of appropriate post-harvest technologies.

OUTCOMES AND EVALUATION

The establishment of a cold chain system will be helpful in our five-year development program to develop the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) where our contract growers are located. The technology, if used properly, can be a link to help the small stakeholders to increase their profitabiliity and the value of their produce. The workshop gave me an insight on the vast technology available needed to plan and be catalyst to achieve my objective of promoting the agriculture industry and our farmers who should be given technical support and assistance. The workshop gave me a vision of a road map on how to address some key components to the direction that we want to achieve. The resource persons were very knowledgeable and effective in their presentation.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTION STEPS

Since the scope of the program is very wide and difficult to be done by an individual or private person, it is recommended that the DAP/APO should assimilate and task the participants in the Philippines through a pilot project using inter government connections. The APO/DAP and some Philippine government agencies related to agriculture to organize a core team to examine a possible PPP with some financing institutions to get the ball rolling and design an incentive program to entice private institutions and Fls. This group can work together and commission themselves to work on a project or propose programs and secure endorsement from DAP to secure financial support with the end in view of seeking a solution to the major post-harvest losses and ultimately support our farmers towards a better competitive-market advantage thereby minimizing post-harvest losses and increased profitability.

 

SUBMITTED BY:

PARIS UY
President/CEO
Livegreen International Incorporated

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