Around 70-80% units already full
Shopian, Oct 18: After earning good profit on the produce that was kept in the cold storage units last year, growers are keen to keep more produce in the cold storage units this season also.
Growers from different areas of South Kashmir told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that in 2019, they kept most of their produce in cold storage units, “however, they faced heavy losses as they were unable to sell their produce in 2020 due to Covid lockdown.”
“In 2020 around 50 percent of produce was kept in cold storage units as compared to 2019, but this year, the demand of apple remained very good throughout the year despite covid restrictions due to which people had good returns,” they said.
Growers said this year production is less as compared to last few years, however, quality is better and most people are now keeping their produce in cold storage units.
Mohammad Yousuf, a grower from Shopian, said that mostly delicious apples were being kept in cold storage units but this year even 30 to 40 percent units have already been filled with Kulu delicious apples.
He said that usually an apple box of around 15 kg is being sold in between Rs 800 to 1200 but last year the same apple box which was kept in cold storage units was sold at around Rs 1800 to 2000, due to which more people prefer to keep their produce in cold storage units.
Mehraj Ahmad, manager at one of the cold store units at SIDCO Lassipora said that 70 percent of their store is already full and the rest will be filled in the next one or two weeks.
Shahid Hussain, senior employee at another store said that their unit has a capacity of 2 lakh apple boxes and among them 1.3 lakh have already reached here.
Hussain said that cold storage units have revolutionized the horticulture sector as it gives a choice to grower to sell his produce as per his will.
“Due to cold storage units hundreds of people are also getting jobs, besides that labourers also get jobs as now work of packing apples remains round the year,” he said.
Pertinently, there are around 40 cold storage units in Kashmir, most of them are in SIDCO Lassipora.
Horticulture sector is known as the backbone of Kashmir economy as around 60 percent of the population directly or indirectly depends on it and on an average Kashmir produces around 25 lakh metric tonnes of apple every year