In its first ever loan to private agri-business in India, Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $ 18.4 million to Champion Agro to set up cold storage facilities for fruits and vegetables focusing on Gujarat.
“Up to 6,000 farmers in Gujarat could attain higher revenues from their crops with the construction of cold storage facilities for fruits and vegetables by Champion Agro using $ 18.4 million in funding from Asian Development Bank,” ADB said in a release.
The project will include five collection centres, a controlled-atmosphere cold storage facility, and an individually quick frozen facility in Gujarat, as well as five distribution centres located in large cities in different states of northern India.
“Rural poverty can be reduced through better post-harvest management, which not only helps significantly raise farmers’ income but also provides direct employment opportunities,” said Martin Lemoine, Senior Investment Specialist at ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department.
Though India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, about 35 per cent of its fresh produce gets wasted due to lack of post-harvest infrastructure.
The ADB project is expected to improve the processing and distribution of quality fruits and vegetables sourced from local farmers as well as help them increase their yields through irrigation facilities.
The loan funding will support distribution to food wholesalers and processors in India as well as abroad, it said.
Champion Agro provides agri-business services such as irrigation system, agricultural inputs to retail malls and farming with about 17,000 hectares under lease and contract farming.
Source: The Hindu BusinessLine