Cold storage facility brings cheer to Uttarakhand apple growers

May 15, 2013

The apple project of Uttarakhand, which is a unique kind of an initiative, has succeeded in empowering the small farmers of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh by enabling them to move up the value chain, says Amar Singh Kafola, Farmer Director, KINCAID India.

Amar Singh Kafola

A joint initiative by Fresh food Technology (FFT), Stichting Het Groene woudt (SHGW) and Shri Jagdamba Samiti (SJS), we have constructed a Controlled Atmosphere (CA) storage facility in Naogoan to store upto 1,000 MT apples for off-season sales.

This long-term storage facility has relieved the apple growers of the pressure of hunting for markets for their apples. Built by KINCAID India, the storage-facility is a joint venture company that includes six farmers' trusts with a membership of more than three thousand farmers.

While the equipment for the Naogaon based CA storage facility has been imported by FFT India, SHGW, is supporting the project with financial assistance.

KINCAID is responsible for the grading, sorting and packaging of the apples collected through the six joint venture collection companies, which too are run as JVs by the farmers from Uttrakhand regions like Syuri, Dhari, Tyuni, Purola, Chausal, Harsil.

The cold storage facility has taken care of the post harvest responsibilities of apple growers, especially the marginalised farmers and has brought a sense of security to them by selling their produce at an optimum cost.

Farmers at the collection centres fix prices of the apples for a fixed period and all those bringing their produce during this period sell their apples at the fixed cost. By improving the longevity of the produce, farmers are no more dependent on the vagaries of nature and get rational returns on their harvest.

Earlier, individual farmers had to manage the transportation and marketing of apples, especially in the rainy season when the produce would be ready for the markets but could not be transported due to bad weather.

A part of the profit is used to payback the investor. Some part of the profit is used to pay premium to the farmers, which is an additional income for them. Another part of the profit is used for paying the money to the investor who has helped build the cold storage and other joint-venture companies to run the apple collection centres.

Once the investor gets back his investment, the farmers’ trusts would jointly become owners of these companies and the cold storage also.

Despite all efforts, and in the event of unforeseen circumstances, if the company does not make enough profit to be able to pay back, the farmers do not face pressure from the investors as the JV provides for sufficient space to wait until it makes a profit.

(As told to Ashok Kumar of OneWorld South Asia)

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India’s Minister for Water Resources, Harish Rawat, lauds the innovative apple project of Uttarakhand, a model that has freed small apple farmers from the clutches of middlemen besides introducing business acumen in them.
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