The fruit and vegetable market in Punjab is likely to get a fillip as the Punjab Mandi Board is setting up at least 14 pack houses for grading, sorting and packaging of agricultural and horticultural produce in the state.
Three such pack houses at Ludhiana, Patiala and Moga are operating and the remaining would be in operation within the next six months. Each of it will cost Rs 1.37 crore; the pack house at Patiala will cost Rs 3.5 crore.
Punjab Mandi Board chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal said here on Sunday that these pack houses were being set up for the benefit of farmers as they were marketing their produce in adjoining areas and supplying to retail chains located close to the growing areas. Due to lack of transportation, these farmers were unable to sell their produce in the distant markets, he said.
Lakhowal said that in the past many years, production of fruits and vegetables in Punjab was increasing continuously and there was a dire need for setting up pack houses.
He said the Mandi Board also planned to set up such pack houses at Sangrur, Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Batala, Bathinda, Ferozepur and Abohar.
He said the Board had plans that all pack houses, including the one at Moga, would be given on contract with the fixing of rates of storage of fruits and vegetables so that farmers were not exploited by contractors.