Horticulture Minister Narinder Bragta today proposed in a meeting with Union Minister for Food Processing Industries, Subodh Kant Sahay, to set up an apple juice concentrate plant at Pragatinagar in Kotkhai through it’s nodal agency HPMC.
Apprising the Union Minister, Bragta said the proposed plant will have a processing capacity of 20,000 Kilo ton and the estimated cost of setting the plant will be Rs. 25 crore. The present unit was set up in the year 1980 and the machines installed have become obsolete and needs replacement to compete in the present times.
He requested Himachal Pradesh should be given special assistance as being given to North Eastern states for establishing fruit processing plant under Cold Chain Scheme of the Union Ministry. He demanded a grant of Rs. 10 crore be given immediately to the state.
The Union Minister assured the Centre would provide all possible help to the State Government to establish the Plant under Cold Chain Scheme of MOFPI at Pragati Nagar.
Presently Himachal Pradesh produces 6-7 lakh ton fruits every year including apple, stone fruits and hill fruits like peach, plum, apricots etc. . Despite heavy demand of fruits in the market the culled fruits which is about 25-30 percent of the total production does not find ready market and needed to be processed into value added products.