Cold Storage Systems - Keeping Food Fresh for Longer

The openning ceremony of the new cold storage system
UNDP in Uzbekistan: Cold storage equipment improves the marketability of agricultural produce, both for national and international markets

Uzbekistan’s fruits and vegetables are in demand in both domestic and foreign markets, but preserving the freshness and quality of food is crucial for both customers and manufacturers. Considerable effort has therefore been dedicated to investigating methods and systems of keeping food fresh for longer. Between 25 and 40 per cent of agricultural produce in developing countries is estimated to be lost each year, as a result of improper handling and storage while food is being transported from farms to tables.

A seminar on ‘Cold Chain: From Producer to Consumer’ has been conducted in Ferghana, an opportunity to discuss the financial benefits of food sorting, pre-cooling, and adherence to temperature and humidity requirements while food is in storage. The seminar was attended by agricultural producers, entrepreneurs with plans to build or modernise existing cold rooms, and international cold storage construction specialists.

Trends and prospects for the development of cold storage in Uzbekistan were discussed during the seminar, while recommended practices for the post-harvest handling, packaging, transportation and storage of food products were evaluated and reviewed.  It was recognised that over the next 3 to 4 years, the demand for cold storage will significantly increase in conjunction with government efforts to further develop the fruit and vegetable sector.

Yahya Tumanov, head of the ‘Mehnat Taraqqiyot’ farm in the Namangan region, has said that "We plan to build cold storage with a capacity of 250 tons, and for us the topics raised in the seminar are of a great interest. The information obtained will help us to properly plan the construction of systems.”

Before the seminar began, a team of international experts from the Global Cold Chain Alliance, including specialists in the design of cold storage facilities, post-harvest handling and international cooperation, visited several product collection and cold storage sites in the Turakurgan and Yangikurgan districts of the Namangan region. Local entrepreneurs had an opportunity to gain practical advice from experts on a range of topics.

"In cold chain, good equipment is only 50 per cent of success - the remaining 50 per cent depends on management and staff,” said expert Richard Tracy. “I am pleased to see that not only does the equipment here meet the highest standards, but the management of the storage facility is in good hands.”

The ‘Cold Chain: From Producer to Consumer’ seminar was hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, the Commerce and Industry Chamber of Uzbekistan, USAID’s ‘Aglinks +’ project, the joint UNDP and MFERIT project ‘Support to Foreign Trade and Investment Promotion in Uzbekistan’, and the UNDP project ‘Business Forum of Uzbekistan (Phase II)’.

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