Shimla: For improving post harvest infrastructure of horticulture produce in Himachal Pradesh, Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) at its board meeting today in Delhi approved a proposal to fund setting up of two controlled atmosphere (CA) cold storages in the state, Prakash Thakur, Director APEDA disclosed.
He said, “Funds worth Rs 10.038 Cr had been sanctioned under APEDAâ€™s Infrastructure Development Scheme for Export Promotion for the two CA Stores to be set up with HP Horticulture Produce Marketing Committee (HPMC) at Jarol-Tikkar in Kotgarh and at Gumma in Kothkhai.
The Jarol-Tikkar CA store would be of 680 Metric Ton capacity and an amount of Rs 5.038 crores has been sanctioned by APEDA board for it.
The Gumma-Kotkhai CA store would be of 640 ton capacity and the board has sanctioned an amount of Rs 5 crore for it, said Thakur.
Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) is a central government agency under Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
APEDA has also tied up with HPMC to revamp its packing houses.
Thakur said that an amount of Rs 12 Crore has already been given by APEDA for upgrading and equipping 5 packaging houses of HPMC with latest technology of grading lines.
The packaging houses are to have machines with an Infra Red Eye facility for maintaining quality standards in fruit grading to meet export standards. The target is to develop them into export hubs for the benefit of farmers.
Funds for the CA Stores and Grading & Packaging Units have been sanctioned after an active interest shown by Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Mr Anand Sharma in APEDA to scale up investments into the horticulture sector of Himachal Pradesh so as to enable the produce to match global export standards, said Thakur.
APEDA is mandated with promoting fruit and vegetable based industries for export purposes and does provide financial assistance for meeting the standards. It also undertakes surveys and feasibility studies.
APEDA is also the Nodal Agency for the promotion of organic produce in India and had conducted a workshop in March, 2010 at Shimla about the Export Potentials of Fruits & Vegetables in Himachal.
As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post.
Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.
One feels happy when the fund starved horticulture sector gets money from the Government of India agencies like APEDA for strengthening the post harvest handling infrastructure. The sad story is that the HPMC created as the flagship public sector utility to promote the sector and help farmers get better returns is incurring losses year after year and the losses far outweigh the promised gains. The House Committee on public undertakings had also recently expressed their concern on the mounting losses. On infrastructure, HPMC has owned the State of the Art infrastructure under the World Bank assisted project followed by the State Government standing by in bale outs from time to time. This was also strengthened by interventions from NCDC and APEDA for similar activities and now we have further injection of funds. The key question to be answered is what exactly has been the capacity utilization of the created infrastructure, be it the packing and grading houses or the cold stores or the processing facilities and so on. The other question is how much of the produce has actually been handled by HPMC in direct marketing of apple and any other fruit(!). Horticulture is mentioned as the lead sector but the State machinery allows lakhs of tons of procured fruit to rot on the road side which was to be subsequently processed at the plants which have historically operated at sub-optimal capacities. This is truly a national wastage and this fruit could have been allowed to be lifted by the other States to be distributed free to the malnourished children of poor people. One could ask for an opinion poll by the fruit growers across the State to fathom the usefulness of this white elephant.