Low quality yield: Cold chain stores go out of business
Shopian/ Pulwama: With most of the apple produce sold out to dealers this year due to poor quality and lack of demand, the cold chain storage owners at Lassipora say that they are facing loses as growers have not kept their produce in cold storages for future sale.
“The majority of the apple crop this year was affected by fungal diseases and growers preferred to sell their crop than to keep it in cold storage units,” a cold storage owner at Lassipora said.
He said that the produce that was kept in cold storage chains declined by around 40 percent this year.
He said due to decline in overall production this year and due to fungal diseases, the apple produce was less this year.
“People preferred to sell the produce during initial harvesting as the quality of the crop was very poor. The growers though it fit to selloff the produce rather than keep it in cold storage and reap the benefits of better sales later,” another cold storage owner said.
Notably, Kashmir has the capacity to store around two metric tonnes of fruit in about 30 cold storages units available in various industrial estates and elsewhere.
Assistant Mmanager at one of the cold storage units at Lassipora, Ansar Ul Haq said that their unit received 30% less produce compared to last year.
“It happened due to scab, less produce besides that last year growers suffered losses after they were unable to sell their produce kept in cold storage units due to covid-19,” he said.
Mehraj Ahmad, working as a manager at another such facility echoed the same views.
“Almost every unit received 30 to 40% less produce compared to last few years,” he said.
He said that given the disease and small size of the apple produce this year the growers thought it better to sell off the produce quite early.
Interestingly, officials within the horticulture department said that there is around 30 percent decline in production of apples as compared to last year.
They said that this year Kashmir has produced around 15 lakh metric tonnes of apple while as the valley recorded more than 23 lakh metric tonnes of apple produce last year.