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India: New processing technology essential for value addition

posted Oct 4, 2011, 10:41 PM by Puneet Goyal
Development of new processing technologies was essential for ensuring value addition, according to Dr B S Dhillon, vice-chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University. He further lamented that decreasing landholdings had made agriculture less profitable for majority of farmers and their children were forced to look for other avenues of employment. Dr Dhillon was speaking at the inaugural function of regional level exhibition on showcasing of agriculture technologies organised by Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET), under NAIP Sub-Project Mobilising Mass Media Support for Sharing Agro Information. The exhibition was represented by top food processing industries, agricultural universities, ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) including Adani Agri Logistics Ltd; Cremica Industries Ltd; Ricella Health Foods Ltd; Tru Milk; Kashmir Apiaries; Punjab Agricultural University; PAU Kisan Club; Guru Angad Dev Veterinary & Animal Science University; Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi; Directorate of Wheat Research (DWR), Karnal; and Center Potato Research Institute (CPRI), Shimla. Besides, financial institutes like NABARD, Punjab & Sind Bank and Punjab National Bank and especially innovative farmers also displayed their products / technologies in the stalls at CIPHET grounds.

Addressing the gathering, Dr Dhillon showed dissatisfaction on low level of processing and value addition of fruits and vegetables prevailing in the country. He said that demand for processed foods products are increasing due to rapid urbanisation and changing food habits of people. Stressing that efforts should be made to develop technologies and strategic plans to promote profitability of farmers, Dr Dhillon said that value addition always pays when supported by state-of-the-art technology. “An ordinary bar may cost you only $five, if you make needles out of same may fetch you $500 and profit will multiply to the extent of $5 lakh when Swiss watches are made by using latest technology,” he said, adding that similar way when potatoes are converted into chips and other processed foods, profit margins get enhanced many hundred times. He suggested that CIPHET and PAU should work together for developing and standardising various useful technologies.

CIPHET director Dr R K Gupta said that they always try to work in close collaboration with farmers and industry for development of technologies. He said that value addition could help to great extent for maintaining profitability in agriculture. Dr S K Nanda, project coordinator (PHT), revealed about work carried under All-India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) at national level. Head transfer of technology division Dr Deepak Raj Rai said that their effort was to bring industry, ICAR institutes, agriculture universities and innovators farm technologies under one roof, so that farmers / entrepreneurs could get maximum benefit. Dr M S Gill, director extension, PAU, said that post-harvest sector was very crucial for increasing income of farmers. ICAR including CIPHET had always adopted need-based consortium model for the development of technologies," said ex-dean and professor PAU Dr S R Verma. Dr Sangeeta Chopra, senior scientist, coordinated the event, and other senior members of CIPHET faculty were also present on the occasion. Visitors showed keen interest in the training programmes conducted by innovative farmers on processing of amla and aloe vera using portable multipurpose processing unit and processing and cultivation of mushrooms. Dr R K Mahey, registrar, PAU, was also present on the occasion.