Agri Business

When figs turn rolls, bars

AJ Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on August 26, 2021

Ballary KVK’s initiative helps women entrepreneurs in Karnataka

An initiative by a Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) to conduct an entrepreneurship development programme (EDP) on value-addition to fig fruit crop during the pre-Covid era, and the interest shown by a few enthusiastic women, have opened a new chapter in fig value-addition in Karnataka.

In 2019, the KVK in Hagari of Ballari district had conducted an EDP on value addition to the dry fruit. Hagari KVK had imparted training on the preparation of fig bars and fig rolls after revising the technology developed by the Raichur-based University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS).

Shilpa H, Scientist at KVK in Hagari, told BusinessLine that the ‘Ballari red’ variety of fig is grown on around 1,100 hectares in Ballari district. Of this, Kurugod taluk alone cultivates fig on around 700-800 hectares. Though around 1,800 ha was under fig cultivation in the district prior to Covid, many farmers removed it from their land as the lockdown of 2020 affected the demand.

Women beneficiaries

However, two women beneficiaries of the EDP of a self-help group (SHG) from Kurugod – Sudha and Pooja – came forward to make use of the knowledge they got in the EDP to prepare value-added products.

Initially, they started marketing the fig rolls and fig bars in their neighbourhood. After receiving positive feedback, they got FSSAI licence for their products and started branding and marketing them.

This entrepreneurial initiative by Sudha and Pooja made others in the region to look at these value-added products out of fig. Shilpa said that around 10 persons, who had training in fig value-addition from KVK, have taken FSSAI licences now.

The production of these value-added products ranges from 20 kg to 100 kg a day now.

While the fig fruit has a shelf-life of two days, fig bars and fig rolls have shelf-life up to six months, she said.

Ramesh BK, Head of KVK, Hagari, told BusinessLine that his KVK imparted training to the interested entrepreneurs and helped them with handholding.

Since it was a simple technology developed by UAS, Raichur, its adoption among these entrepreneurs was easy, he said.

Major challenge

Shilpa said that the value-addition to fig has now increased demand for fresh fruits also. The farmers were relying only on fresh fruits earlier, as they did not think of preparing any commercial product out of it, she said.

On the challenges to be tackled, she said the peeling of fruit skin requires manual labour. Going by the feedback of users, the taste of fig bars and fig rolls made along with fig fruit skin are not that sweet when compared to those made without fig fruit skin.

Though micro entrepreneurs do not face much problem as they peel fruit skin manually, the large-scale producers are facing problems. They would like to get a technological solution for this, she said.

Published on August 25, 2021

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