SRINAGAR: Due to poor infrastructure and lack of cold storage facilities, horticulture production in Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing about 30 percent post harvest losses, a government report has revealed.
Economic Survey Report, which was recently tabled in the state legislature, has stated that inadequate post harvest infrastructure-in absence of adequate post harvest infrastructure substantial amount of wastage is experienced in the horticultural produce particularly regarding fresh fruit, which is perishable in nature.
The government report said that at present, post harvest losses are estimated about 20 percent to 30 percent.
Quoting the figures of experts in its report, the government said that there are losses to the extent of 10 percent at field level, five percent at transportation level, two percent during packaging, while storage losses are nine percent and processing level at four percent, this amounts to total of around 30 percent.
Considered as backbone of the economy of Jammu and Kashmir the horticulture sector contributes around Rs 4,000 crore to the annual income of the state. It is the highest contributor interms of employment and GSDP after government jobs.
The report has also pointed out that the insufficient facility of cold storage for apple preservation in the Valley has “forced the farmers to sell their produce at cheaper rates.”
The report also said that the horticulture is no doubt contributing substantially to the state GDP but there are certain problems and weaknesses, which are proving as hindrances for further growth of the sector.
Citing the inadequacy of agro-processing facility, it said that 30 percent of apple produced in the state are of low grade which can be processed for value addition rather than direct sale.
“This requires processing capacity of about three lakh tonnes per annum. The current capacity of approximately 65,000 tonnes is not adequate,” it said, adding the demands in horticulture products can be sustained by developments in agro processing.
In fact, it said, there is rising demand for new products like dried powder, fruit based milk mix, juice pouches, etc and under these circumstances the private corporate sector can play a vital role in developing this aspect.
The report said that the scab consumed around 4 lakh ton apples annually with diseases like alternaria, red mite and powdery mildew also spoils the crop.
The report said the sector also faces tough challenge because of locational advantage.
The main consumption markets of the country are far away from production centres in the state, it said.
“Lack of modern and efficient infrastructure like fast means of connectivity aggravates the problem of transporting the fruit especially of perishable nature to the main markets of the country,” the report concluded.