Innovations in food processing help farmers in Punjab

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Ludhiana, Jan 10(ANI): The Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET), a premier institute of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in Ludhiana, recently unveiled the latest food processing technologies to produce green chilli powder, guava bars and peanut milk.

Farmers, self-help groups and small entrepreneurs were invited to take a look and to adopt the technologies to process vegetables and fruits.

"If an industry gets established, a farmer can get up to Rs. seven-eight per kilogram as compared to Rs. five for green chilies. When the product is processed, the industrialist will contact the farmer directly at the farm. And, the farmer does not need to go anywhere and can earn up to Rs 10 per kilogram," said R. T. Patil, Director of CIPHET.

"It will bring a revolution. It will generate employment in the village and farmers will get good rates. Those villagers who have been migrating to cities for lack of employment need not move out after industries are established. There will be no migration from rural to urban areas and the number of urban poor will be reduced," he added.

Established in 1989 in Ludhiana, CIPHET undertakes research in the area of post-harvest engineering and technology appropriate to agricultural production and agro-industries.

It also conducts research and development on fruits and vegetables and commercial horticultural crops.

By-products from crops, horticulture, livestock and fisheries sectors help farmers in value addition that leads to better income and increased employment opportunities in the rural sector.

"It's a period of value addition because earlier we only used to sell our products with low profitability and this was the only reason why the farmers left farming and moved to other businesses. But if we show them the opportunity that they can increase their profitability, they won't leave farming and we will regain our contribution in the GDP growth of the country. So, value addition is the only way," said Dr. Dilip Jain, senior scientist at ICAR.

India is the largest and biggest exporter of chillies in the world with a production of more than eight lakh tones of dry chili from an area of over nine lakh hectares.

Punjab has around 9,000 hectares under chilli and produces more than 14 thousand tones of chilli every year.

As the production of powder/puree from green chilli is now possible with technology intervention of CIPHET, farmers would not require keeping their fields occupied one month more waiting for green chillies to turn red. By Karan Kapoor ANI)

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