SITE SUITABILITY FOR DEVELOPING NEW COLD CHAIN USING MULTI-CRITERIA DECISION ANALYSIS AND GEOSPATIAL TECHNIQUES
Growth and performance of various sectors of a country largely depends on the infrastructure developed by the country. It is true about the agricultural sector also. Along with the numbers, the location of these infrastructure play a vital role in reducing cost to the farmers while utilizing the existing resources like land, water, electricity and road network to their optimum level. India is the second largest producer of fruits, vegetable and tea. Against the total production of more than 500 MMT of horticultural & non-horticultural produces, the total cold storage capacity is estimated at approximately 31 MMT, which is not even 10% of the total production. In view of this, a site suitability study was conducted to develop an optimum plan to locate cold storages in the state of Uttar Pradesh, a leading potato growing state. Factors considered for evolving the plan includes the site of production, i.e. region where potato is grown, road network, existing cold storage, electricity and land use. When there are various factors behind any decision-making process, it becomes a complex process. It becomes difficult to decide which factor is to be given more importance and how other factors can be compounded with each other to arrive at a decision. Analytical Hierarchy process (AHP), helps us in determining the relative importance of various factors to arrive at a decision. In view of infrastructure planning, an illustrative map indicating spatial features is vital. As is widely established, remote sensing and GIS helps to obtain such a spatial map. Remote sensing and GIS was used to generate maps of the factors involved. AHP was used to develop weights of the factors in relation to each other to generate a map showing site suitability of places for developing cold storage facilities.