Promoters of private cold stores in Sundargarh rue low occupancy
The promoters complained that they find it tough to run the facilities. Two new cold stores were set up in the district to primarily store potatoes.
ROURKELA: Promoters of private cold stores in Sundargarh district are struggling for survival due to poor occupancy of their facilities. The promoters complained that they find it tough to run the facilities. Two new cold stores were set up in the district to primarily store potatoes.
But after the failure of potato mission in Sundargarh, the total coverage area for potato in the district is further getting depleted. Besides, farmers of other horticulture crops are also reluctant to use the cold stores for various reasons including transportation and storage charges, they said.
Sources said two cold stores of 1,500 tonne capacity each are functional at Rourkela since long. In the last few years, two new cold stores of 5,000 tonne capacity each have been set up in Bargaon and Bonai blocks. Promoter of the cold storage in Bonai and former vice-president of Odisha Cold Storage Association Prabhat Tibrewal said around two dozens large cold stores were set up across Odisha between 2016 and 2020. But majority of these facilities are struggling to survive due to abysmally low occupancy rate.
Tibrewal further said after failure of the potato mission in Odisha, no efforts were made to boost potato production in the state. Odisha’s dependency on West Bengal for potato continues as the state’s cold storage facilities run empty. “For growth of the agriculture sector, cold stores are important infrastructure. A holistic approach is needed to ensure availability of local crops for survival of large cold storages and small cold rooms.”
He emphasised on boosting potato production and educating farmers on perishable time of vegetables so that they can make wise choices for suitable horticulture crops. Sources said for survival, the cold storage facilities are storing tamarind, mango stones (seeds) and mahua flowers among other things. However, government subsidy is not available for storing these. In-charge deputy director of horticulture Mansingh Soren said different dynamics are involved in running cold stores and the government’s role is limited to extending suitable subsidies.