Increasing shelf life, value addition of fruits prime concern: Advisor Khan

Advisor to Governor Farooq Ahmad Khan Thursday chaired a meeting here to take stock of controlled atmosphere storage facilities being provided to the fruit growers of the valley.

Secretary Agriculture and Horticulture Manzoor Ahmad Lone, Director Horticulture Kashmir Aijaz Ahmad Bhat, Director Horticulture Planning and Marketing Syed Shahnawaz Bukhari and representatives of CA store entrepreneurs were present in the meeting, according to an official spokesperson.

During the meeting, Advisor Khan said that horticulture sector is the backbone of the State’s economy and has a vast potential to emerge as a viable and lucrative venture. He said that the value addition of the fruit products is the prime concern of the Government and the focus is to increase the shelf life of fruit crops by introducing hi-tech cold storage facilities at every fruit growing area.

He said that the horticulture sector of the state has a vast potential of high-density plantation as the agro-climatic condition of the state is feasible and directed the officers to take initiatives to bring more areas under the plantation.

Khan also stressed upon the officers to reach out to the growers with the latest technologies and aware them regarding post-harvest handling and   storage of the fruit crops so that the shelf life of the crop is increased for getting more returns while selling the fruit crops during offseason.

Advisor directed the officers of Horticulture Department to rope in young educated youth of the state, train them with latest technological interventions and innovations so that they are converted into successful entrepreneurs for earning their livelihood.

On the occasion, Secretary Horticulture apprised the meeting regarding the availability of cold storage facilities and said that the cold storage facilities across the state will be upgraded and new units will be established for the benefit of the growers.

The CA store entrepreneurs raised various issues which included finance, bad condition of roads resulting in spoilage of fruit crops during transit and transportation, more funds for establishing grading and packing units and raised the demand for an extensive horticulture estate in the state.

The Advisor gave the CA store entrepreneurs a patient hearing and assured that all of their genuine issues will be looked into and addressed accordingly.