Shimla: Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), a central government agency under ministry of commerce and industry has approved Rs 8.61 crore for HP Horticulture Marketing Produce Corp (HPMC) to revamp 6 of its packing houses.
Prakash Thakur, director APEDA, disclosed that HPMC would sign an MoU with APEDA on March 19th for availing the financing facility.
â€œWith a keen interest taken by Anand Sharma, union minister for Commerce and Industry, APEDA at is 67th Board of Directors meeting held on 3rd March, 2010 cleared proposals for providing financial assistance for setting up of 6 integrated packing houses spread out over Shimla, Kinnaur, Kullu and Hamirpur districts,â€ said Thakur.
The packing houses for which funds are being provided are at Rekong Peo in Kinnaur district; Jarok Tikkar, Gumma and Oddi in Shimla district; Nadaun in Hamirpur and Patlikul in Kullu district, he said.
These centres are expected to install machines with an Infra Red Eye facility to maintain quality standards in grading farm produce so that it meets export standards. The targets is to develop them as export hubs so that the farmers of the state can benefit.
â€œThis is the first time that APEDA has come forward to provide financial assistance of this magnitude towards improving post production process of fruits and vegetables in Himachal, â€œ said Thakur
Besides these projects APEDA has plans to set up CA stores in the state so that farmers can store their produce and get better prices for their produce. At present the private CA store owners in the state do not extend such facilities to the farmers directly. These CA stores are proposed to be set up on the Private Public Partnership (PPP) mode enabling all stake holders to have a say.
In association with PHD Chambers of Commerce, APEDA would also be holding a workshop at Shimla on 19th March about the Export Potentials of Fruits & Vegetables in Himachal. Investors and other players associated with the export of farm produce are expected to attend the workshop.
APEDA is mandated with promoting fruit and vegetable based industries and does provide financial assistance for the purpose. It also undertakes surveys and feasibility studies but unfortunately the state government has never been able to avail any benefit from the schemes financed by APEDA.
The central authority is also the Nodal Agency for the promotion of organic produce in India. For promoting organic cultivation and imparting information about marketing channels for organic produce a workshop was conducted on Organic farming at Shimla on 5 th December 2009 that was attended by farmers, food processing units and farm scientists.
At the workshop, presided over by Mrs. Vidya Stokes, leader of opposition, a new traceability software for keeping track of organic produce that was developed by APEDA was also demonstrated. Later the software launched at the international Biofach Organic Festival held in Germany.