Thanjavur: The Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) here has done it. Five mobile processing units designed and fabricated by it will now move to various districts in the state to help tomato farmers in distress.
Expressing happiness over the mobile units flagged off by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami at Chennai on Monday, Dr C. Anandharamakrishnan, director of the institute told DC over phone that the occasion was a “dream come true” for the Institute and fulfillment of its objective of reaching useful technologies to farmers and food industry stake-holders.
The on-farm mobile processing unit is self contained with facilities for processing tomato and other fruits and vegetables. Post-harvest losses in perishable commodities are estimated at around 30 per cent to 40 per cent. These losses are due to lack of infrastructure at grass-root level and are major threat to farmers, in turn causing huge economic loss to the nation, he underscored.
“The on-farm mobile processing unit could help in minimising the losses and increase the availability of value-added products to the needy at reasonable rates,” said the director.
The stand-alone unit has inbuilt power generation and processing area that houses machinery for processing, sterilizing and packaging. A range of value-added products like fruit pulp, paste, puree, ketchup, jam and jellies can be produced from this unit.
“Farmers can sell these value added products at Rs 40 per kg, whereas, during glut season, farmers hardly get Rs five per kilo for raw tomato, at times it does not compensate their logistics cost,” said the director. “Witnessing the technical feasibility and ease of reaching the farming community, Tamil Nadu State Agricultural Marketing department asked IIFPT to fabricate five mobile units costing Rs two crore. We now handed them over to the Government,” he added.