Effect of Electricity Consumption on the Financial Viability of Cold Storage Units: Recommendations for Reducing Energy Cost
Energy is a major cost element for cooling and preservation of fresh agricultural produce in cold storage units. Cold storage units are equipped with refrigeration systems to cool the agri-produce and maintain them at low temperatures. Fruits, vegetables, dry fruits, nuts and spices are the most common products preserved in the cold stores. Farmer’s produce is protected by the cold store operators to reduce the national waste in terms of post-harvest losses. Both farmer and consumer are benefitted if the post harvest losses are minimized, which will improve the food security of the nation. The present study is conducted to investigate the financial expenditure of cold store units through a survey conducted in the Kundli and Rai area of Sonepat District of Haryana, which is a major supply and storage point for the Azadpur market, the largest fruit and vegetable market of Asia. It is found that the electricity expenditure is the most affecting source of expenditure of running cold stores. Based on the factors like energy availability, tariff charged by electricity distribution companies, recommendations are made to support the cold storage operators in terms of reducing burden on energy tariff. Recommendations are also given on techniques and methods on which training to be given to the cold storage unit entrepreneurs and technical people working in cold stores.