About 18 per cent of the fruit and vegetables production worth Rs 44,000 crore (Rs 440 billion) is going waste annually in the country due to lack of proper cold chain storage infrastructure, Parliament was informed on Friday.
"These were the findings of a study conducted by the Central Institute for Post Harvest Engineering & Technology, Ludhiana (published in 2010)," Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Charan Das Mahant said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
He said India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world.
In 2010-11, fruit production stood at 74.877 million tonnes and vegetables production at 146.554 million tonnes.
Replying to another query on the corrective measures taken by the government, Mahant said the Ministry provides financial assistance in the form of grant-in-aid at the rate of 50 per cent of the total cost of plant and machinery and civil works in general areas.
Besides, 75 per cent of the cost of plant and machinery and technical civil works in difficult areas are provided subject to a maximum of Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million) for strengthening and value addition to cold chain infrastructure.
Creation and management of cold chain infrastructure for agriculture has been identified as a thrust area by the prime minister, he said.