SRINAGAR: New Delhi has sanctioned only nine of the 43 projects submitted to it by the state for establishment of cold storage facilities under the horticulture sector.
The sanctioned Cold Atmospheric (CA) stores are sufficient only for 51,700 MTs of fruits, while the state faces a facility deficit for 2, 57,796 MTs produced annually.
The information was shared by the Minister for Horticulture, Abdul Rehman Veeri, during a meeting of officers of Horticulture Department, representatives of CA store owners and fruit growers, and traders associations of the Valley convened here on Monday.
“We would like to see more and more CA store projects sanctioned by the central government to address the shortfall of such stores for over 2,57,796 MTs of fruits. Out of the 43 such projects submitted to the Centre, only 9 projects have been sanctioned so far, catering only to 51,700 MTs of fruits,” he said, as per an official handout issued here. The minister said the government is exploring the possibility of establishing a chain of CA stores for the fruit industry in the state.
“There is a need to expand the cold storage network and government is focusing on this critical aspect of post-harvesting management of fruit, especially apple,” he said.
Veeri said the government is also mulling to set up cold storage facilities at Sopore, Parimpora, Jablipora,Kulgam in Kashmir division and at Narwal in Jammu.
“In this regard, a proposal for sanction of the funds is under active consideration of the government,” he said.
Meanwhile, the meeting decided to constitute a committee for fixing rates of the cold storage facilities to be offered to the growers.
The committee comprises of Director Horticulture Kashmir, Director H&PM, representatives of fruit growers and traders Associations, and representatives of CA store holders.
The committee would make suggestions for fixing the rates.
Assuring “full support” to the private stakeholders, the minister said those who wish to set up CA stores in different parts of the state shall be supported by the government.
He asked the CA store 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, he said, should also focus on improving grading and packaging of the horticulture produce, as necessitated by global standards and to fetch better returns for the fruit growers.
“Special emphasis would be given to develop grading and packing units in fruit markets,” he said.