Cold storage units have come in handy for Kashmiri apple growers who witnessed an extremely low demand for the fruit despite bumper crops last year.
Growers from various areas in the Valley told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that due to the very low demand for apples in different markets last year, they kept their fruit in cold storage units so that it can fetch good rates later.
“Right now there is good demand for apples in the market and those who have kept the produce in cold storages are getting a good amount,” they said.
In 2022, the annual produce was more as compared to the last few years with better quality.
Mohammad Yousuf in Shopian said that a meagre 5 percent of the produce was kept in cold storage.
Growers said that the quantity could have been higher had there been more cold storages.
Mehraj Ahmad, a manager of cold storage at SIDCO Lassipora in Pulwama said that cold storages were running full and they did not have capacity to accommodate more growers.
He said that their unit has a capacity to store 3 lakh apple boxes and most of the produce is still here.
Some growers have sent their produce to markets where it fetches about Rs 1000-1200 per box compared to Rs 300-500 in previous seasons.
He said the cold storages have “revolutionised” the horticulture sector as it gives a choice to a grower to sell his produce “as per will”.
“Cold storage units provide employment to hundreds of people. Besides, labourers also get jobs as the work of packing apples remains round the year,” he added.
Azhar Anjum , manager at Super Fresh cold storage said that there is a need for more cold storage units so that growers are not forced to sell their produce at low rates.
Kashmir has 40 cold storages with most of them in SIDCO Lassipora—(KNO)