China, Pakistan explore cold chain cooperation

Chinese technology may help Pakistan reduce loss of agricultural products, increase added value


China Economic Net November 17, 2020

BEIJING:

China’s cold chain technology may help Pakistan reduce the loss of agricultural products and increase the added value, said Hefei Lianhui Refrigeration Equipment Co Vice President Chen Lin.

There is close cooperation between Chinese and Pakistani rice seed companies. To meet the need of seed storage in Pakistan, Chen started to build an 800-square-metre seed cold storage warehouse with a rice company in Karachi in 2017.

“Seed cold storage warehouse is widely used in Southeast Asia because seeds need to achieve a certain germination rate, which is mainly related to temperature and humidity indicators. If humidity exceeds 65%, the germination will be affected,” he stated.

Chen told China Economic Net that they deliver the equipment and cold storage plates to Pakistan and send technical personnel for equipment installation and training of Pakistani personnel.

“Customers may encounter problems in production and processing, we need to give an overall solution,” he said, adding, “the cold storage warehouse will be monitored remotely and the company will provide customer service. Although the cost of cold storage warehouse is not that high, the products stored in it are very expensive.”

He added, “In case of power failure in the cold storage warehouse, yet without being realised by the company, the loss could be huge. Therefore, remote monitoring is something like an insurance policy. Even if the warehouse staff doesn’t feel the power failure, the other 3-5 monitoring staff will receive text messages, ringtones and other prompts, which can remind customers by phone to minimise the storage risk.”

Storage period extension

In recent years, Pakistan has made breakthrough in the export of mangoes and citrus fruits to China, however, the country has been upset by preservation problems due to the month-long shipping cycle. In this regard, Chen gave an air conditioning fresh-keeping technology solution.

“Under the premise of ensuring the temperature and humidity of the products, the air-conditioned cold storage warehouse can keep the fruits dormant by adjusting the contents of oxygen and carbon dioxide, thus keeping the fruits in a relatively long storage period,” Chen explained.

“Mangoes and oranges can be stored for about three months, cherries for 45 days, kiwifruit for six months, apples for 3-6 months, and bayberries for about 30 days.”

The extension of storage period also brings higher added value. Fruits with higher added value, such as cherries, kiwifruit and golden pears, can be sold at higher prices when stored off-season.

After picking, fruits cannot be directly put into the cold storage warehouse, they must be precooled at 0-5°C.

“When the fruits are picked, they have residual heat,” Chen said, adding, “If they are immediately taken to a cold storage warehouse, the surface temperature drops, but the central temperature does not, this may lead to spoilage in fruits. Like some apples in the supermarket, they look good from the outside, but rotten on the inside, which is because they are not precooled properly. Cherries, kiwifruit and blueberries all need to be precooled.”

Not only fruits but also vegetables can benefit from quick freezing technology. According to Chen, the flowering Chinese cabbage, coming in the market in March, can be sold for 20 days.

However, it will be like freshly picked ones a year later after the processes of steaming, boiling, bleaching, blanching and the following freezing at -35°C and storing at -18°C. In this way, it can be stored for two years.

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON CHINA ECONOMIC NET

Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2020.

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