Himachal Pradesh State Agriculture Marketing Board (HPSAMB) on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NABARD Consultancy Services (NABCONS) for a RS 60 crore integrated cold chain project for apple and vegetable growers of Shimla district.

The project involves a Controlled Atmosphere (CA) store with storage capacity of 5000 metric tonne at Parala ‘mandi’ and Kharapathar with pre-cooling chambers and Individual Quick Freezing (IQF) line.

The MoU was signed between Managing Director of HPSAMB, Naresh Thakur and General Manager of NABARD, Sudhanshu Kumar Mishra here. The MoU was signed in the presence of Chairman of the Board, Baldev Bhandari and Chief General Manager, NABARD, Dinesh Kumar Kapila.

“The HPSAMB’s role has so far been limited to ‘mandis’ and marketing. It is for the first time that the Board has ventured into the storage and processing of the produce. We are doing it on pilot basis to facilitate the growers store and process the produce. This will help them get good prices in the market throughout the year,” said Naresh Thakur.

He said it is a new concept at the end of HPSAMB and the effort will be to put the structure and system in place by July, 2022. “It is a pilot project. Based on its success, we can have similar infrastructure in other districts also,” he said.

So far, the private companies have set up CA stores in Shimla district, but there is no facility of integrated cold chain for the growers.