In 7 years, Horticulture deptt constructs 3490 pack houses for apple farmers
Post by Syeda Rafiyah on Tuesday, January 3, 2023
Srinagar, Jan 02: Over the past seven years, the Horticulture Department Kashmir has constructed 3490 pack houses for apple farmers for cleaning, grading and packing their produce to get the right price for their produce.
The Department of Horticulture has constructed the pack houses under two schemes Prime Ministers Development Package (PMDP) and Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH).
Abdul Quds Beigh, Horticulture Development Officer said under the two schemes, the department has distributed a total of 3490 pack houses which includes 2357 pack houses under the PMDP and 1133 under the MIDH from 2014-16 to till 2020-21.
He said pack house is a handling and sorting unit or structure used for packing, storing, grading of apple produce and these have been given to farmers across Kashmir valley.
The HDO said the total cost of the construction of these packing and grading sheds is about Rs 5 lakh, out of which Rs 2 lakh is given as subsidy by the Central government.
Beigh said the horticulture sector plays an important role in Jammu and Kashmir and it is an important source of economy and source of livelihood for a substantial portion of the population.
“Farmers can get the right price for their produce only if the produce is clean, graded and packed properly. Since most of the farmers are not aware of these things and are getting very low price even during the peak season, the Department of Horticulture has come to their rescue by providing 50 percent subsidy,” he said.
He said in Kashmir, most of the orchards are located away from human habitations and these pack houses prevent the damage and helps in the post-harvest management of apple and other crops.
“It can prevent damage to the apple during rain, snowfall and in case of heavy hailstorm. This is a multi-utility purpose pack house. A concrete structure of 30/20 dimension is constructed and has huge windows for ventilation purpose,” he said.
The two schemes have come as relief for the farmers and helped the apple growers and orchardists to store the apple produce in case of rains and heavy hailstorm.
“Earlier, we were facing problems after harvesting as we had no place to pack and grade the apple. These sheds have solved their problems and increased life of the fruit,” said Bashir Ahmad, from Baramulla who constructed the pack house two years ago.
Another farmer Waseem Ahmad from Budgam said his house is around two kilometres away from his apple orchard.
“I was facing problems in transporting the produce to home during apple picking. Our area is also prone to wild animals and they damage the apple boxes during night time. Then I applied for a pack house. The officials of the Horticulture Department visited the site and told us about the structure,” he said.