KATHMANDU, Feb 19: The government will start implementing Cold Store Construction Project from the current fiscal year, officials of Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) said.
The ministry had prepared working policy for the project, which is a part of Prime Minister Agricultural Modernization Project, in September last year. The policy is currently under discussion, according to the officials.
The project had first featured in Prime Minister Agriculture Modernization Project prepared in 2016. But it is still to come into implementation. Under the project, the government will help farmers to build cold storage facilities in different parts of the country so that farmers can store their produce in flush season and send them to market when production is low.
“Though the policy was prepared in September last year, revision, evaluation, and amendment process of the policy delayed implementation of the project, Shankar Sapkota, joint spokesperson of MoAD. “Building a cold storage facility is a very tough job. As we don't have much experience of implementing such projects, it is taking some time.”
According to MoAD officials, the policy is currently under discussion at the high-level committee of the project.
Earlier, the Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation had taken initiative to build cold storage facilities in different parts of the country. Private sector and several non-government organizations have also built cold storage facilities. However, this time the ministry itself is implementing the project as cold storage facilities are an essential requirement for agricultural development of the country, Sapkota added.
“Many farmers are involved in the production of seasonal fruits and vegetables. We need sufficient storehouses throughout the country so that these products can be made available in the market throughout the year,” said Sapkota.
Initially, the ministry has decided to build cold storage facilities in 13 districts.
According to Narhari Prasad Ghimire, project director of Prime Minister Agriculture Modernization Project, cold stores will be built in Jhapa, Sunsari, Dhanusha, Sindhuli, Kavre, Kaski, Nuwakot, Morang, Kailali, Banke, Kapilvastu, Sarlahi and Dhading. He added that the ministry is spending Rs 130 million in the project.
“We have already prepared overall framework. They will go into implementation phase once the policy is endorsed by the concerned authorities,” Sapkota added. As farmers cannot build storage facilities, which need huge investment, on their own, the ministry included the program under the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernization Project, said Sapkota.
The ministry has allocated a budget of Rs 10 million for each cold storage facility, he added.