Kashmir orders trials of US technology to help fruit industry

Jammu, Nov 10 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed on Tuesday ordered trials of a new US patented technology to double the shelf life and ensure firmness of fruits produced in the state.

In order to meet the huge challenge of maintaining quality of fruit in the highly competitive global market, Sayeed ordered trials of the new technology said to offer dramatic results in firmness and which doubles fruit shelf-life in non-controlled room temperature environment.

The exposure-based technology patented and widely used in the US is called “1-MCP”.

The chief minister directed Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences (SKUAST-K) to test the low cost, high-result technology, being reportedly used in maintaining quality of 80 percent of apples in the US.

“SKUAST will carry out trial experiments after working out modalities to see if our fruit growers can use this new technological intervention,” he said.

Sayeed gave these directions at a high-level meeting convened to discuss 1-MCP.

Kashmir-born agricultural scientist Nazir Mir, who works in Rutgers University in New Jersey, US, has done pioneering research in 1-MCP technology.

He was present at the meeting in Jammu.

“Before we implement this technology, we need to see its ramifications through research,” Sayeed said.

Describing the new technology as a useful proposition which provides insulation to fruit against high temperature, the chief minister also emphasised on transportation of fruit to outside markets in refrigerated vehicles.

As per available figures, of the total 16.5 lakh tonnes of apples produced in the state, only 35 percent are high-quality that can be exported.

In comparison, Europe exports nearly 80 percent of its total apple produce.

The state is targeting to transform its Rs.3,000 crore apply industry into a whopping Rs.15,000 crore business over the next five years.

Regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, US, the technology can, however, only be allowed to be used in Kashmir after registration with the patent owners.

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