Haryana and the University of Birmingham have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop Haryana Centre of Excellence on crop post-harvest management and sustainable cold chain during the global summit organised by the Centre for Sustainable Cooling (CSC) in Birmingham.
The agreement builds on the Africa Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold-chain (ACES) developed with the Government of Rwanda and UN Environment Programme at the University of Rwanda.
The Haryana Centre of Excellence will conduct state-of-the-art applied research and provide capacity building and training, an innovation and business hub and technology testing/demonstration centre. It will connect experts, investors, agri-food business, farmer cooperatives, and energy or logistics providers to deliver sustainable cooling.
It also follows an MoU signed earlier this year with Telangana for a Telangana Centre of Excellence. The UK and UN Environment technical assistance programme is funded by DEFRA.
The summit was opened by the Rwandan High Commissioner, Johnston Busingye and Jai Prakash Dalal, Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Government.
“The The UK-Haryana Centre for Post-harvest & Cold Chain will be a big leap towards developing and demonstrating post-harvest technologies that will enhance the shelf life of perishable produce. The centre will not only cater needs of farmers but also researchers and entrepreneurs,” said Dalal during his address at the global summit.
Toby Peters, CSC Director and Professor of Cold Economy at the University of Birmingham and Heriot-Watt University, commented, “We must now figure out how to provide the globally connected cold-chains for a well-functioning society in an efficient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner. Temperature-controlled supply chains networks are complex, requiring coordination across multiple-stakeholder countries and continents. We need to understand the interplay with renewable energy, climate friendly refrigerants.”
“We must also understand the impact and opportunities of radical new innovations – refrigeration cycles, drones, blockchain and Internet-of-Things (IoT) – as well as the food innovations such as alternative proteins, vertical farming which will dramatically change how we produce, distribute and consume food,” Peters further added.
Brian Holuj, UN Environment’s Project Manager for the Centres, added, “With the ACES hub taking shape in Kigali and major progress at its first “spoke” in Kenya, we are delighted to expand our collaboration with CSC to include the development of this new Centre in Haryana. There is a tremendous opportunity for cross-fertilisation among the best minds in Africa, India, the UK and beyond as we tackle critical cold-chain needs.”
CSC is responsible for a series of multinational and multi-partner cold-chain research programmes across UK, EU and internationally to explore system approaches on how to meet cold-chain needs and facilitate uptake of innovative systemic solutions at scale and increase awareness among policy makers about the importance of a sustainable, equitable and resilient cold-chain system globally.