Tuesday 20 September 2011

Uttarakhand Apple Growers Get Dutch technology-Based Cold Storage

Written by Anil Singh

Apple growers in Uttarakhand had a special day yesterday -- A day which has the potential to allay sizeable portion of their worries.

Why was Yesterday so special for Apple growers in particular and horticulturists in General in Uttarakhand?

As a Dutch technology-built cold storage has finally ended the age-old problem of decaying and rotting of Apples of Uttarakhand farmers.

About the new Cold Storage:

The high technology based green cold storage, where oxygen level is kept roughly around one to two degrees of the atmospheric level, has already started functioning yesterday from the apple belt of Nogaon in Uttarkashi district.

The money, Rs 15.5 crore, required to have this cold storage came from Stichting Het Groene Woudt (SHGW), a Dutch foundation with the help of Fresh Food Technology, another global company from Holland, which has developed the Van Amerongen technology for preserving apples.

On the very first day, nearly 60 metric tonnes of apples arrived in the cold storage which would be sold at later stages. The cold storage has the storage capacity of nearly 1000 metric tonnes of apples for nearly nine months. The cold storage hopes to procure nearly 200-300 tonnes of apples this year. Notably, the cold storage is the first cold storage exclusively for apples in the entire Garhwal region.

Underlining the benefit of the new cold storage, Mr. Laxmi Prakash Semwal, head of Shri Jagdamba Samiti, a local NGO instrumental in inviting the Dutch players into the apple belt of the hill state said. “the ability to store Apples for off season will enable farmers to charge prices 20-30 percent more than what they are charging in-season”.

This will also reduce the middlemen from Apple trade as well, added Mr. Semwal.

Initiatives taken for easy procurement:

The apple project consists of four decentralised apple collection centres in the Garwhal region. Farmers are encouraged to join the cooperative through which they can process and sell their produce jointly at better price. For the procurement of apples from different areas, a joint venture company comprising farmers and the Dutch players has also been set up which is using refrigerated vans.

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