Congress leader Kuldeep Singh Rathore, who was recently appointed director of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), ensured to provide adequate financial assistance from the Centre for setting up a multi-fruit processing unit in the state.
Kuldeep Rathore said that APEDA has provided about Rs. 3844.84 lakh for various projects, included integrated pack house for apple at Jarol Tikker, Gumma, Patlikul, Oddi, CA Store at Gumma, Jarol Tikker and Tetrapa CK machine for apple juice plant at Parwanoo, for the state.
Rathore said the state lacked adequate fruit-processing capacity and promised to secure funds from APEDA for a multi-fruit processing plant. The country required over 8,000 tonne of apple juice concentrate and Himachal, the leading apple state, produced only 1,000 tonne at best. More processing plants were needed to bridge the gap and he said had already discussed the matter with Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma. Besides apple, post-harvest facilities would also be developed for citrus fruit, mango and other sub-tropical fruits in the lower areas.
He said that he’ll work hard to translate the vision of national vice-president of the Congress Rahul Gandhi, who wants Himachal to come up as a horticulture hub of the country. We have asked the state government to prepare a document in this regard, Rathore added.
The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) was established by the Government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act in 1985 with the sole aim to develop industries relating to the scheduled products for export by way of providing financial assistance or otherwise for undertaking surveys and feasibility studies, participation in enquiry capital through joint ventures and other reliefs and subsidy schemes.