SRINAGAR: Authorities at SIDCO Lassipora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama have made functional 12 more Controlled Atmosphere (CA) stores, with a capacity of 60,000 metric tons, increasing the total storage capacity at the estate to approximately 2 lakh metric tons.
Quoting officials, KNO reported that there are currently 28 operational cold stores in the district, with a combined capacity of around 1.4 lakh metric tons.
“Plans are underway to construct 30 more cold stores at the estate, which are slated for completion by the end of the next year. Upon their completion, the storage capacity at the estate is expected to reach around 3.5 lakh metric tons, they informed,” they said.
According to officials, the introduction of these cold storage units has brought about a “revolution” in the horticulture sector, offering growers the flexibility to sell their produce according to their preferences. “These units have not only empowered growers but have also created employment opportunities, benefitting both labourers and apple growers. The year-round availability of packing jobs has contributed to stable employment in the region,” they said.
Presently, there are approximately 60 cold storage units in Kashmir, with the majority located in SIDCO Lassipora. These facilities have proven invaluable for apple growers, providing them with the freedom to market their produce as they see fit.
Efforts are ongoing to increase the number of cold storage units further, ensuring continuous benefits for growers and maintaining a year-round supply of apples, they said.
Kashmir on average produces over 20 lakh metric tonnes of apples every year, a figure that in some years touches 25 lakh metric tonnes.
The 2017 economic survey in J&K said that half of Kashmir’s population is directly or indirectly dependent on the apple industry and over 3.5 lakh hectares are under apple cultivation.