Agri Business

Tuber crops' value-addition will be Central Tuber Crops Research Institute's focus

V.Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on July 01, 2021

The ICAR arm will tap cassava in food and industrial sectors

ICAR-Central Tuber Crops Research Institute has chalked out strategies to popularise value addition and entrepreneurship development in tuber crops.

The Techno Incubation Centre (TIC) supported by Small Farmer Agribusiness Consortium has been set up considering the importance of tropical tuber crops to create and promote entrepreneurship to enhance the value of these crops.

TIC, besides giving awareness and hand-on training, provides incubator facilities to prospective entrepreneurs for the production of value-added products from tuber crops for testing the market viability or demand of these products.

Sajeev M.S, Principal Scientist, Crop Utilization Division, ICAR-CTCRI told BusinessLine that cassava is in an advantageous position for the new entrepreneurs to get into viable projects by utilising the One District One Product (ODOP) approach under the PMFME scheme.

Incidentally, Kerala government has selected cassava in the ODOP approach in the two districts of Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam.

Decline in consumption

According to him, the oversupply of cassava tubers during the peak harvest has led to a glut, lower price and instability into market price. The demand for cassava in direct human consumption has been declining drastically in Kerala. This is because of the changing food habits, rise in per capita income and standard of living.

This has created a situation where the future of cassava lies in its utilisation in the value-added food and industrial sectors, he said.

He said that the frozen or ready-to-eat, processed cassava offers great export potential. Excellent quality crispy fried chips can be made from cassava tubers by adopting simple pre-treatment techniques. Cassava tubers can be converted to food with ample shelf life.

Kerala has witnessed ups and downs in the production of cassava during the last few decades. The share of cassava area in the State is 6.55 per cent of the total food crops during 2018-19, which accounts to be 61,874 hectares and producing around 24 lakh tonnes of tubers with a productivity of 36.32 tonnes per hectare.

However, due to lack of adequate infrastructure facilities for processing/value addition and entrepreneurial establishments, cassava was the worst affected as it is highly perishable, he said.

Foreseeing more production of cassava and getting remunerative returns for farmers, Sajeev said different projects suitable for cassava-based nano/micro food enterprises will be made available to interested entrepreneurs.

Published on July 01, 2021

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