Many Kashmir cold storage units are lying empty. Some stores are yet to get the first box of this year’s apples. Kashmir has about 30 cold storage units having capacity to store 200,000 tons of fruit, including the cold storages which were constructed this year.
The Kashmir Reader spoke to many cold storage owners based in Lasipora industrial estate of Pulwama and others based at Aglar Shopian. Almost all of the owners have similar complaints of a harsh season for their sector. They said that first there has been a huge decline in the production due to which growers have little fruit to store, and second, more than half of the production has been affected either by fungal infection called scab or by hailstorms.
Izhan Javid, chief executive officer of a leading fruit related company based in Kashmir, stated that very few people are storing their fruit in cold stores. “Our stores are almost empty and obviously it will heavily affect the owners of the storages.”
Besides the diseases, hail, and low production, experts believe that last year’s losses sustained to the stored fruit due to COVID lockdown and closure of highway were among the reasons for people not storing their fruit in cold units.