Cold storages for four states- Farm export body to set up facilities in region’s airports
Guwahati, June 22: The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) will set up four cold storage facilities at airports in four states of the region to store perishable commodities for export.
The airports where these facilities will come up at are Agartala, Dimapur, Aizawl and Imphal.
A senior official of APEDA in Guwahati said the move would help in export of commodities from the region to other places, as there is a big market and can be used by exporters.
“It will take some time to operate the facilities, as two memoranda of understanding has to be signed — one with APEDA and the other one with Airports Authority of India,” the official said.
Not only that, the state government will have to nominate an agency which will run the cold storage facility.
The capacity of each of these facilities will be of 10 metric tonnes each. APEDA was established by the government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act passed by the Parliament in December 1985. At present, the APEDA has a cold storage facility at the Guwahati airport. The facility is mainly being used by Zopar Exports, which exports flowers overseas.
“There are plans to upgrade the facility into a centre for perishable cargo and the area has already been allocated at the airport,” the official said. The centre for perishable cargo will have a capacity of 30 metric tonnes. The official said farmers in states like Mizoram and Meghalaya, motivated by the ready market, are going for floriculture in a big way in the region and may soon find a prominent place in the international flower market.
In Mizoram, more than 300 farmers are earning their livelihood from anthurium cultivation and there is a huge scope for export. Flowers produced in Mizoram like anthuriums, roses and dendrobiums have already hit the market in Dubai.
“Exporters will have to keep their flowers fresh and for this, cold storage facilities would be required,” the official said, adding this is more useful in hilly regions where flights get cancelled.
Not only flowers, there are other commodities like pineapple, ginger, lemon which can be exported. Tripura is known to grow excellent varieties of pineapples. The redeeming feature of the region is that many products are organic, which command a premium price in international markets.
APEDA has been popularising agricultural commodities like joha rice, bamboo pickles and ginger at expos outside the country.