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Processing and Value addition of Agriculture and Horticulture crops

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Processing and Value addition of Agriculture and Horticulture crops

By – Kenny Sarangthem
Fruits and vegetables are among the healthiest and superfoods for mankind as they are termed as nutritional and functional powerhouses for well-balanced diets that provide vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, selenium, folate and polyphenolics (carotenoids and flavonoids) along with antioxidants, glucosinolates and thiosulfides. Their inclusions in the daily diet have been strongly associated with adding variation, colour, flavour, immunity and phyto-nutriceuticals present in them are responsible for mitigating some dreaded diseases. Most of them are highly perishable commodities that may only have a shelf life of few days or hours. Some of them are only grown in particular regions of the world, often for very short season, and transportation of the fresh commodity to distant markets may result in huge postharvest losses. For centuries, storage and processing technologies have been utilized to transform these perishable commodities into safe, delicious and stable products. With increasing urbanization, rise in middle class purchasing power, change in food habits, nuclear family structure, increasing women empowerment and limiting the practice of making processed products in households, develops an increasing demands for factory made processed products across the world. Majority of fruits and vegetables could be used properly curtailing the wastage especially during peak harvest season and enhance domestic or international markets by appropriate value addition processes. The use of new ‘advanced’ processing methods being potential in retaining the nutritional as well as all other quality attributes of fruits and vegetables as such and with additional health values offers interesting growth opportunities for the food industry.
Few potential crops and their processedproductsare
Mango based products, i.e. pulp, pickles, jams, squash
Guava and pineapple based products, i.e. jelly, jam, juices, pulp, RTS
Tomato based products : ketchups, powder, sauces, etc.
Banana based products i.e. chips,pulp,powder, juice
Citrus based products i.e. segments, squash, nectar, RTS, pectin
Papaya based products, i.e. pulp, nectar, bar
Aonla based products i.e. Candy, Murabba, Ayurvedic Chayvanprash Driedshreds, Powder, Juice etc.
Potato based products, i.e. chips, powder/starch
Aloevera : Aloevera juice, dehydrated aloevera gel, nectar, Aloevera based vermicelli
Medicinal produce products : Essential oils, dried powder, syrups.
Lemongrass, Lotus as a beverages.
Ginger based products : Ginger candy, ginger powder.
In context to our region, now people are becoming more aware on the importance of agriculture and horticulture crops and with its value addition. This results in utilising paddy field in post harvest by cultivating fruits and vegetables, minimizing marketing problem and boosting the farmers income enhancing the socio economic condition of the state. Few products such as passion fruit, mango, pineapple juice, ginger candy are now highly demand by the consumers in the market. Black Rice namkeens and snacks are also among the favourites and are widely used in ritual occasion too.
The fruits and vegetables account for nearly 90% of the total horticulture production. But in Manipur at present the large part of theagriculture value chain comprises primary processing of fruits and vegetables with very limited value addition. The fruits and vegetable sector is facing many challenges like lack of adequate infrastructure, post-harvest losses, high perish ability of produce, lack of market information, poor price realization by producers etc. In this regard in order to overcome the challenges there is need to focus on effective value chain approaches like direct marketing, cooperative marketing, organized retailing, contract farming,farmer producer company etc. to strengthen the growth of fruits and vegetable sector leading to benefit for the both producer and consumer in the supply chain.
(The writer is a Field Manager (FM) M4agri CoA, Central Agriculture University (CAU) Imphal)

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