The Himachal government is making efforts to get a low-cost technology for cold storage and to train fruit growers from a German firm.
German-based firm Bayer, which deals mainly in pesticide, has a low-cost technology for cold storage and drying fruits and vegetables. For drying fruits and vegetables, the Bayer group uses a solar-based technology that could be used in the state, said a horticulture official.
Horticulture Produce Marketing and Processing Corporation (HPMC) state marketing agency had deliberation with the Bayer group for technology transfer to benefit horticulture, especially, apple growers of the state
So far, post-harvest management system was not concrete in the state. In the name of cold storage, there are only few scattered cold-storage in the state, except Parvanoo no cold store is near to the market and it results in increase in transportation cost for the growers.
Until now, there is no such trend to keep the produce in cold stores. If the government imports low-cost technology, it would benefit growers in the state.
HPMC vice-chairman Prakash Thakur said the firm has a low-cost technology with which a small accommodation could be turned into a cold storage. “If the proposal is materialised, growers can make a cold storage at home or village-level,” said Thakur.
He also informed that a meeting with the firm was convened on Wednesday chaired by horticulture minister Vidya Stokes, in which a six-member committee was formed, comprising of the horticulture department and Bayer officials. “This committee will chalk out the plan for our need and their services and next meeting will be held within a month,” added Thakur.
In the meeting, it was also proposed that the firm would train our fruit and vegetable growers for orchard and farm management.
A farm scientist SP Bhardwaj said the technology transfer is always beneficial for the horticulture. “There are several growers who are doing extremely well while such agreement will also provide opportunity to others,” said Bhardwaj.
In Himachal Apple is produced mainly in Shimla, Kullu, Kinnaur and Mandi. In 2013-14, over 3.20 crore 20kg apple boxes were sent to the market. The department assessed the total production of 7, 34,000 tonnes. Of the total boxes, nearly 5% were stored in the cold storage, while the rest were sent to markets for immediate sale. “If there is cold storage at various locations it will help the growers to sell their produce with their own convenience,” said Kamlender Parihar an apple grower from Kumarsain.
The apple prices were slashed last year due to glut in the market but growers had no other option than to sell their produce at low rates. If growers could afford a cold storage, it will help them to delay the transportation of produce.
Meanwhile, the HPMC had developed four cold storages in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Parvanoo with total capacity of 11,750 metric ton to facilitate fruits and vegetables growers of the state.
The committee constituted by the government has equal participation of the horticulture department and the Bayer group. It will deliberate on possibilities of technology transfer and requirement of the state. A committee member told HT that more focus would be on importing low-cost technology and committee would discuss viability of the technology in the state.