New Delhi: The cold storage capacity in the country has grown by nearly 11 per cent to 216.94 lakh tons in last two calendar years, up from 195.52 lakh tons at the end of 2004, minister of state for food processing industries Subodh Kant Sahai told Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
According to data from the agriculture ministry, the number of cold storages increased by 353 to 5,101 during 2005 and 2006. Though the number of cold stores increased in many states, those like Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Assam witnessed a decline.
In Orissa, there were 104 cold storages in 2004, which came down to 90 in 2006, while 13 units closed down in Chhattisgarh during the period.
In the north east, Sikkim, Manipur and Mizoram did not have any cold storage facility till the end of 2006 calendar year.
The maximum cold stores are located in Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal put together.
Both UP and Uttaranchal together have 1,567 cold storages with a capacity of 89.31 lakh tons, while Maharashtra has 437 stores of 5.1 lakh tons capacity and West Bengal 434 with 53.4 lakh capacity.
In reply to a separate query, Sahai said the food processing industries ministry proposes to set up a national meat and poultry processing board to promote exports and domestic sale of better quality meat and poultry products.
The minister said a sub-committee for food processing within the framework of joint working group on agriculture is envisaged for closer interaction for bilateral cooperation between India and France.