As revenue increases, people associated with fruit business prefer to keep their produce in these units
By: Aabid Hameed
Shopian: After last year’s profit, the apple growers have this year preferred to keep their produce in cold storage yet again with an aim to ensure that the fruit is fresh and ready to be sold in the markets at any time.
Growers from different areas of South Kashmir said that in the year 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 the lockdown imposed by the government in wake of the Covid pandemic.
They said that in 2020, around 50 percent less produce was kept in cold storage units as compared to 2019, but this year, the demand for apples remained very good throughout the year despite Covid restrictions due to which people earned a handsome amount.
They said this year the 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.
Subzar Ahmad, a grower from Harmain area of 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 growers are preferring to keep their produce in cold storage units.
Ansar Ul Haq, Assistant Manager at one of the cold storage units at SIDCO Lassipora said that their unit has capacity of seven lakh apple boxes and around three lakh have been already filled.
He said that cold storage units have revolutionized the horticulture sector as it gives a choice to the grower to sell his produce as per his will, adding that due to cold storage units, hundreds of people are also getting jobs besides that labourers also earning their livelihood as the work of packing apples continues round the year.
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 per cent of the population is directly or indirectly dependent on it and on an average Kashmir produces around 25 lakh metric tonnes of apple every year.