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‘Value-addition is the key to raise farm incomes’

OUR BUREAU Coimbatore | Updated on January 30, 2018

New policy on food processing and contract farming in TN soon

A policy on food processing and another on contract farming is to be unveiled in two months, SJ Chiru, Principal Secretary and Commissioner, Agricultural Marketing and Agri Business, Government of Tamil Nadu said.

Addressing a gathering of farmers, industrialists and students at Codissia Trade Fair Centre here, Chiru said that the draft has been submitted for approval. “It is now a question of time before the State government unveils the policy after the cabinet clears the draft.”

Coconut festival 2018

Chiru was in the city at the first edition of CII Coconut Festival 2018, a two-day festival, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry in association with the Coconut Development board, Coir Board, Asian and Pacific Coconut Communtiy (APCC), Indonesia, ICAR - Central Plantation Crop Research Institute, Kasargod and the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.

The theme of the conference was “Farm to Fridge and Beyond : More Nuts per tree and More Value Per Nut.”

Delivering the Guest of Honour address, Chiru urged the participants to “ value the crop before adding value to it - be it through processing or technological means,” and deliberate to understand if the improvement in realisation is on account of marketing, technology aspect, processing or logistical aspect.

Value addition

He sought the industry’s support to the research works that are now underway on the value addition side. In his Special Address, R Chowdappa, Director, ICAR - Central Plantation Crops Research Institute stressed the need to concentrate on enhancing productivity and adding value to the farm produce to make agriculture a better proposition.

Improving farmer’s income

“The average annual income of a farmer in India is less than ₹1lakh now. We are working towards improving it to close to ₹2.50 lakh by 2022. This can happen only if we focus on value addition,” he said and pointed out value added coconut products accounted only for 9 per cent in India compared to 60 per cent in Indonesia and Thailand. “Unless we increase the level of value addition to 25 per cent, coconut farming will not be a remunerative proposition.”

Neera tapping

C Anandharamakrishnan, Director, Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology said that the Institute has declared to work on coconut this year.

“We are striving to establish a fully integrated unit with capacity to process 1000 nuts per day and understand the issues confronting the coconut farmer. Our findings show that coconut/ Neera tapping, filtration and cold chain facilities are inadequate. To address this, we are in the process of developing a machine for tapping Neera - top -down, using solar power, converting Neera to sugar and so on,” he said and pointed out that the ministry of food processing has several schemes, but there were not many applications from Tamil Nadu.

P Ravichandran, Chairman, CII TN State Council opined that value addition in agriculture will redefine the future of India.

He highlighted the huge opportunity for conversion of the nut into value added products, urging listeners to hasten and tap the potential.

Published on January 28, 2018

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