Himachal Pradesh to set up controlled atmosphere stores

Shimla, Nov 2 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh government would soon set up controlled atmosphere stores to enable horticulturists earn more for their produce, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said Saturday.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 15th All India Volleyball and Kabbadi Championship at Kotkhai in Shimla district, he said the government was committed to the welfare of farmers and horticulturists.

"Despite bumper apple produce this year, the horticulturists could not reap the profits as desired," the chief minister said.

He said there was a need for strengthening the marketing network and adopt modern infrastructure.

"We are serious to take appropriate steps in this direction and would set up controlled atmosphere stores so that the produce may have longevity."

He said as the horticulturists sold majority of their produce in the markets of Delhi and other terminal markets in large quantity which resulted in surplus accumulation of apple in these markets, leading to low prices for their produce.

Singh said that besides heavy rains, the government had been successful in maintaining the roads in the apple belt especially the Theog-Hatkoti road.

He said that Theog-Hatkoti-Rohru road would be completed in two phases with financial assistance of the World Bank. The project would be completed in two years, he added.

Horticulture is a vital sector in the state's economy as it generates more than Rs.3,200 crore annual income.

Apple alone constitutes about 93 percent of the total fruit produce in the state.

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