Samdani: Cold Chain Network, the order of the day, to address post-harvest loss - Share market analysis of dhaka stock exchange, Bangladesh
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25 September, 2014 10:06 AM Source: Dhaka Tribune
Ahmed Rajeeb Samdani.jpg

Cold Chain Network is a must to reduce the post-harvest losses and to ensure fair prices to the farmers, so said Ahmed Rajeeb Samdani, managing director of Golden Harvest Limited, a frozen foods processing company.

In an exclusive interview with the Dhaka Tribune, Rajeeb answered a series of questions related to Cold Chain Network and his company’s role to address the food safety, alongside observing that the farmers of the country suffer around 40% post-harvest loss of their produce.

What does inspire you to invest in the Cold Chain Network (CCN)?

Rajeeb: Half of the people of the country relies on agriculture for their livelihood. In the horticulture industry, post-harvest losses are about 40% due to lack of management that brings losses to the farmers. As the farmers cannot preserve their produce, they sell those at lower prices.

On the other hand a group of farmers spray chemicals on vegetables and fruits to protect them from being damaged. This is why to reduce the post-harvest losses, ensure safe and hygienic foods and to pay farmers fair prices, the Golden Harvest with the help of USAID made investment to establish Cold Chain Network in the Country.

What are the objectives of CCN?

Rajeeb: The aim of CCN is to reduce post-harvest losses, deliver high-value products to market, ensure fresh and hygienic food for consumers and fair prices for the farmers, plus improve the availability of locally produced nutritious food.

How will the farmers and consumers benefit from the Cold Chain Network?

Rajeeb: 50% capacity of the installed Cold Chain Network will be used for Golden Harvest and the rest will be offered to the farmers and consumers. Anyone can keep their products in the cold storage paying charge on the basis of weight. Even, the consumers can also be provided with services through our refrigerated transportation to their desired destination.

How can the Golden Harvest ensure fair price for farmers?

Rajeeb: In this case, the major problem is imbalance between production and consumption as after producing a huge amount of crops, the farmers cannot sell them at fair prices. To ensure fair prices, the Golden Harvest has contract farming with the farmers and it would buy products at a certain price.

How do you make foods chemical-free?

Rajeeb: We have a group of farmers, who cultivate different vegetable products and poultry for the Golden Harvest under the supervision of USAID. The USAID monitors the cultivation process and recommends chemical-free food.

Where will the products stored in the CCN be sold off?

Firstly, the vegetables or other products would be collected from the farmland and then taken to packaging house. After that it would be brought to the cold store and sold to the supper chain market. The Golden Harvest will supply to the chain shop with service charge.

What is the market size of frozen foods?

Rajeeb: The market size of frozen foods is over Tk600 crore and the sector is witnessing 10%-15% growth yearly. As the middle-income people are turning to the sector due to time constraint, the market size would be bigger further.

What is the capacity of CCN?

The Cold Chain Network has the capacity of storing half a million litres of products. All segments of temperature-controlled products in Bangladesh could be accessible to the CCN. The storage facility will be initially offered from two centres – Dhaka and Gazipur, and the service will also be provided from Chittagong, Comilla, Sylhet, Rajshahi and Khulna very soon.

When will the CCN go on in full-fledged operation?

Rajeeb: The CCN will come under the full-fledged operation by June 2015. Currently, the CCN is in operation in Dhaka and Gazipur.

What is the future plan about the CCN?

Rajeeb: We would like to bring the country’s food products under a Cold Chain Network and ensure fair prices to the farmers as well as offer the customers fresh and chemical-free nutritious foods.

What are the main challenges for the CCN in the country?

Rajeeb: Electricity is the main challenge as it needs uninterrupted power supply while the high import duty pushes the cost of the project.

The Golden Harvest recently launched the CCN operation at Tejgaon in the capital. The entire CCN project is being implemented at a cost of $50 million which will be invested in phases. The Golden Harvest has already invested $15 million while its partner USAID $4.92 million in the first phase.

 

- Ibrahim Hossain Ovi

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