A 35,000 apple-box-capacity storage facility, involving an outlay of INR503 lakh, was inaugurated at Jarol Tikkar near Kotgarh. The computerised grading and packing unit with a capacity of four lakh boxes of 20kg each was also opened there.
Another apple packing unit of the same capacity was opened at Oddi near Kumarsain.
The cold-storage and grading units have been set up in association with the state-run Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Produce Marketing Committee (HPMC).
HPMC Managing Director Madan Chauhan told IANS that the packing line at Oddi, costing INR163.12 lakh, has been installed by Italian major Unitech. Similarly, GREEFA of the Netherlands has commissioned Jarol Tikkar unit at the same cost.
"Both the units, besides sorting the fruit as per their size and weight, would also have the waxing facility as per the international standards," he said.
Chauhan said that high-tech facilities are being made available to the farmers of the state for the first time, with the objective to standardise their product as per international standards. "This will not only help the growers to compete with imported apple and getting better returns from the market, but also will help of export of apples."
This season, the Horticulture Department has projected an apple output of 25 million boxes of 20kg each.
The apple is the main fruit crop of the state, and is grown in nine of its 12 districts. It accounts for about 40 percent of the total area under all fruit crop cultivation.
Besides the apple, other fruits like pear, peach, cherry, apricot, kiwi, strawberry, olive, almond and plum are the major commercial crops of the state.