Himachal Pradesh Government has requested the Centre to provide liberal financial assistance to set up fruit processing plant at Gumma of the Shimla district. The demand was made by Himachal Horticulture Minister Narinder Bragta who met Harish Rawat, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing at New Delhi.

Narinder Bragta requested the centre to provide financial assistance of Rs 10 crore to HPMC Shimla under Integrated Cool Chain Scheme for setting up of apple juice concentrate plant at Gumma in Shimla District. He said that State Government had already submitted techno-economic feasibility report to Ministry of Food Processing and requested him to expedite the case at the earliest.

Horticulture Minister said that out of total 10.00 lakh metric tonnes annual fruit production around 3 lakh MT ( 30% ) farm fruit crop is damaged annually due to natural calamities which does not find any place in the market and suggested for utilization of damaged fruit crop through value addition through fruit processing to ensure remunerative prices to the fruit growers and provide safety net in all weather conditions.

He said that HPMC has made an ambitious plan to set up apple juice concentrate at the total cost of Rs. 22.60 crore which will have processing capacity of 10 MT per hour and total crushing capacity of 20,000 MT of apple and 2000 MT of apple juice concentrate. He said that the project is of national importance which would provide economic security to the fruit growers and meet the growing demand of processed fruits in the metropolitan cities

Harish Rawat assured the State Government that centre would provide all assistance for fruit industry in the State.

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