Srinagar, June 30: PHDCCI J&K Chapter organized an awareness webinar on “Future of Cold Chain in J&K focusing on the Challenges, Trends, Opportunities and the Way Forward in Setting Up Cold Chain Infrastructure" in the UT of J&K.
The deliberations held during the session were driven by the Industry perspective and schemes and incentives offered by the government.
The webinar was graced with the presence of Navin Kumar Choudhary, IAS, Principal Secretary, Animal and Sheep Husbandry and Agriculture Production & Farmers' Welfare and Horticulture Department who in his special address as Chief Guest stated the sustainable economic development of the region is based on few critical factors i.e. Geography & climate and infrastructure.
He also mentioned the Department has been majorly focusing on increased production by adopting high yielding cropping culture, High-density farming techniques and supporting the setups of Controlled atmosphere (CA) stores in the region.
Mushtaq Ahmad Chaya, Mentor PHDCCI Kashmir chapter in his inaugural address formally welcomed all the panellists and delegates and set the agenda of the event deliberating on the importance of horticulture & Agriculture in the UT of J&K which is the core sector of the region.
Baldev Singh Raina, Chair, PHDCCI Kashmir chapter in his keynote address stated that in the horticulture sector of the Jammu and Kashmir state, apple production has proved to be the most important fruit crop. He informed that It is estimated that Kashmir produces around 25 lakh metric tons of apple every year and the horticulture industry is pegged to be worth around 15000 crores including the employment it generates.
He also broadly highlighted the challenges faced by the farmers owing to the lack of cold chain infrastructure in the region.
Dr R Sharma, an Agribusiness specialist in his theme address, presented the overall scenario of cold chain infrastructure in the region and informed that there were immense opportunities in the cold chain sector in J&K and that energy-efficient technology was available for making the best use of the current schemes and expertise in establishing the facilities.
Surinder Singh AGM, NABARD highlighting the financing opportunities and avenues available through NABARD, said that there was a warehouse infrastructure fund available with the bank on the nominal rate of interest and that NABARD would be able to provide finance to such individuals who wish to establish a cold storage unit.
Ajaz Ahmad Bhat, Director-General Horticulture Department Kashmir, while sharing his personal experience of belonging to a farmer family, said that in pre-cold storage days most of the produce of the farmers would go waste in Kashmir. However, with the introduction of cold storage facilities there are opportunities for better quality and earnings for the farmers," he said.
The session was moderated by Naveen Seth, Assistant Secretary-General, PHDCCI and the webinar was attended by over 250 industry stalwarts.