New Delhi: North East India accounts for about 5.1% of fruits and 4.5% of vegetables produced in the country, with ten fruits from the region recognized with GI (Geographical Indication) tags.
But, more than 40% of the locally produced fruits and vegetables go waste due to a lack of facilities for proper storage, transportation, and other logistic support. Due to the difficult terrains, farmers cannot bring their produce to mandis in time leading to huge losses for them.
Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), an autonomous organisation of the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST) conducted a study on opportunities for processing of fruits and vegetables in the region. The study identified a need for the development and demonstration of a small-scale processing plant mounted on a mobile van which could reach out to the marginal farmers to facilitate the processing of fruits & vegetables at the harvested site, to produce pulps with proper packaging to increase shelf-life.
As a follow-up, TIFAC, North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s Central Food Technology Research Institute (CSIR-CFTRI) have decided to jointly implement a project to develop and demonstrate such a unit.
The three organisations signed an MoU in this regard on February 25 in the presence of Dr. Srivari Chandrasekhar, Secretary, DST.
In this joint initiative, TIFAC will extend the networking, planning, assessment, mentoring, monitoring and handholding support, CSIR-CFTRI will be the knowledge partner to provide the necessary technical know-how and training and NECTAR will provide the required financial assistance for implementation of the project and promotion of the technology.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, DST, expressed hoped that the project would be scaled up in a sustainable mode once this pilot’s demonstration is completed. (India Science Wire)