SRINAGAR: The Minister for Horticulture, Abdul Rehman Veeri, Friday said the government is exploring the possibility of establishing a chain of Cold Atmospheric (CA) stores across the state for storage of fruits.
Chairing a meeting of officers of Horticulture, SIDCO, representatives of cold storage units, and various fruit growers’ associations, the minister stressed on the need to expand the cold storage network across the state.
The government, he said, is focusing on “this critical aspect” of post-harvest management of fruits, especially of apple.
“We would like to see more and more CA storage projects sanctioned by the government of India to address the fruit shortfall of over 2,57,796 MTs faced by the state,” he said, adding that, out of the 43 such projects submitted by New Delhi, only nine, catering to 51,700 MTs of fruits, have been sanctioned so far.
Commissioner Secretary Agriculture Production, Managing Director SIDCO, Director HP&M, Director Horticulture Kashmir, and Director Finance Agriculture Production were present in the meeting.
Assuring “full support” to the private players, Veeri said those who wish to set up the stores in different parts of the state should be supported by the government.
He said the government is also looking to set up cold storage facilities at Sopore, Parimpora, Jablipora, and Kulgam in Kashmir, and at Narwal in Jammu.
“In this regard a proposal for sanction of the funds is under active consideration of the government,” he said, asking the CA unit holders to provide storage for fruits to the growers at “affordable rates”.
He said a mass-awareness drive would be launched about the benefits of using post-harvest storage facilities such as CA stores.
“The government shall also focus on improving grading and packaging of the horticulture produce necessitated by global standards and to fetch better returns for the growers. Special emphasis will be given to develop grading and packing units in fruit Mandis,” he said.