India’s ministry of agriculture has mandated Fresh and Healthy Enterprises Limited (FHEL) to investigate establishing long-term storage facilities for onions, oranges, and kinnows.
According to a report by the Hindu Business Line, FHEL has tendered out the contract to provide a techno-feasibility study into establishing the facilities to five consultancy firms.
There are currently no facilities capable of storing onions for more than six months in the country.
According to the article, the government believes improved storage facilities will enable it to exert more control over the price of food staples, such as onions. In the past onion shortages, and resulting price hikes, have lead to political instability.
FHEL will also investigate the creation of a storage facility in Jammu and Kashmir.
The group is likely to finalise bids in two to three weeks, a source told the Hindu Business Line.
FHEL is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Container Corporation of India (Concor) and currently operates a 12,000 tonne cold storage facility at Rai near Delhi. The Concor outfit sources apples from growers in Himachal Pradesh during harvesting and sells them through the off-season under its Fresh & Healthy brand.
Over the past four years FHEL has handled more than 35,000 tonnes of apples. It can store apples for over six months at its cold storage facility.