Swarup Bose, Founder and CEO, Celcius, is a seasoned professional, with over 16 years of experience in Cold chain logistics. He is passionate about digitizing the cold chain in India and envisions Celcius as the nation’s biggest network of cold chain vehicles and warehouses that can cater to the smallest businesses in the remotest cities.
The Indian dairy sector currently accounts for 23% of global milk production, and is one of the largest, globally. Over the past decade the sector has grown from 146.32 million tonnes in 2014-15 to 209.96 million tonnes in 2020-21, registering a CAGR of 6.2 percent, while contributing 5% to the national economy and directly supporting more than 8 crore farmers. However, the sector has its own challenges.
Currently, 60% surplus milk is being handled by the unorganised sector (milkmen), while the remaining 40% is procured by the organised sector comprising dairy co-operatives and private companies. This is in stark difference to the developed countries, where up to 90% surplus milk is handled through the organised sector. Due to being unorganised, the sector has been slow on tech adoption which has been affecting the quality and quantity of milk, and amounting to a lot of wastage.
According to a report by the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) and MRSS, about 3% of the milk produced (roughly 6.3 million tonnes) is wasted annually. The volume of wastage, coupled with an increasing demand for dairy products, may hamper India’s plan to produce about 300 million tonnes of milk by 2024 and become one of the largest dairy exporters in the world.
One of the key areas for handling wastage and ensuring consistent quality of milk and milk products, is access to a sophisticated, tech enabled cold supply chain. With unprecedented rise in summer temperatures and the unpredictable weather changes across various parts of the country, the need for a robust cold supply chain with effective and seamless temperature control, is the need of the hour. Some of the key challenges that are impacting the sector and can be solved through an effective, tech enabled cold supply chain infrastructure include:
Lack of immediate cold storage solution:
Considering the unorganised nature of the sector, milk producers and farmers are largely forced to distribute the milk immediately or sell it to co-operatives as they do not have access to cold storage solutions. Most of the time, they are dependent on co-operatives to buy it at meagre prices or to helplessly see it go to waste.
Inconsistent storage and transportation temperatures:
Even after the milk and dairy products are sold off, the distribution channel is seldom seamless and the products are subjected to varying temperatures, as they change hands.