Chief Minister of Gandaki Province Prithvi Subba Gurung inaugurates the cold storage. Photo: Sandesh Shrestha/Republica
POKHARA, Sept 15: Pokhara Agriculture Cold Store, which is said to be equipped with all modern facilities, has been opened under public-private partnership model in Pokhara.
The capacity of the cold storage is 300 metric tons which can be extended up to 480 metric ton. The cold storage has been established with an investment of Rs 60.50 million.
In the cold storage, provincial government has invested Rs 20.50 million and Pokhara Cold Storage, a private sector firm, has invested Rs 40 million. The promoters said it is the first of its kind multipurpose cold storage of Nepal.
Agro-entrepreneurs Amar Bahadur Baniya, Lekhnath Paudel and Rajesh Kumar Karki have invested in the cold storage.
The cold storage targets storing fruits, vegetables and seeds. It will also be used to ripen fruits, as per the concerned officials.
According to co-investor Paudel, fruits including apples, orange, mango, banana, guava, litchi, grapes and pears can be ripened and kept without any chemical process in the storage.
Farmers have to pay Rs 50 for a crate of bananas for a month. Similarly, storing charge for apples is Rs 10 per kg. For vegetables, the farmers have to pay Rs 5-7 per kg. Vegetables can be stored for around one and half months. Apples can be stored for 8/9 months.
“As the vegetables and fruits will be stored here in a chemical free environment, there will be no affect in the health,” said Sanjeev Chauhan, engineer from NS Engineering of India. He said that the cold store will be a boon to the farmers as this will provide them relief from the rotting of the vegetables and fruits.
There was no cold storage for vegetables in Pokhara. However, the place had one for the storage of potatoes.
Chief Minister of Gandaki Province Pritihivi Subba Gurung said that the establishment of cold storage was an initiation to support the livelihood of farmers and alleviate poverty in the region. He also said that the provincial government will bring Contract Farming Act to utilize the unused agricultural land. “We want to focus on commercial farming,” said Gurung.
The cold storage will solve the problem of the marketing aspects of the farmers and also provide healthy fruits and vegetables to the customers, said Lekh Bahadur Thapa Magar, minister for Land Management, Agriculture and Cooperative, Gandaki Province.