Apple farming goes hi-tech: Startups help Kashmir growers digitally determine quality, pH value, shelflife of fruits

IOK - Indian Occupied Kashmir

Srinagar: Last year apple grower Shabir Ahmad Bhat suffered huge losses because of poor quality fruit.

This year, however, he is firm to harvest the apple at right time to avoid financial and goodwill loss.

After learning a hard lesson, Bhat is using technology to assess the quality of apples.

“Most of the farmers here face losses because of the lack of knowledge about the quality of the fruit. There is a different time for harvesting for each variety. So, a private firm is helping me out this time to assess the quality of fruit and grade it,” he said.

Horticulture Planning and Marketing Department has allowed many firms to help growers to analyze fruit quality by digitally scanning it.

Technology can now assess quality, and pH value, and even predicts the shelf life of the fruit.

New Delhi-based tech startup InfyU Labs has tied up with many growers to help them in making most of the technology to make up for the losses. The firm has expanded its reach to mandis in Srinagar and Jammu regions.

The firm uses `infizer’, a mouse-like device, that analyzes the quality of fruits or vegetables without harvesting them.

Director Horticulture Planning and Marketing, Vishesh Mahajan told The Kashmir Monitor that they have recommended the farmers take advantage of such services for competing in the market.

“Almost 3-4 startups are there in the market and we are connecting them with farmers. We are simultaneously asking farmers to take advantage of these services for a better price of their produce in the market,” he said.

Mahajan said infra-red rays beamed through the device help in assessing ripening, shelf life, and other features of the produce.

“This technology will be more helpful for the high-density apple growers. After using this technology, growers can sell their produce to bigger companies by having a description of each and everything about the fruit. The growers are very happy with the introduction of this technology,” he said.

Officials said that currently, growers from various districts in Kashmir particularly Baramulla and Shopian are using this technology to get better rates for their produce.__ The Kashmir Monitor