Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister for Food Processing Industries launched Common Food Processing Incubation Center for Shallots (Small Onions) in Chettikulam village in Perambalur District of Tamil Nadu through video conferencing from here today.
Speaking on the occasion Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal said that it is a historic & auspicious occasion for Tamil Nadu and Chettikulam Village in particular. She also congratulated Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT), Thanjavur for their initiatives to help double farmers’ income by 2022. She also said that farmers in Perambalur District are producing 70000 tons of shallots per year in a cultivation area of 8000 hectares, inspite of the increasing difficulty in cultivation due to increase in prices of inputs, unpredictable weather, disease outbreak and not getting adequate prices in the market. This Central Processing Center for Shallots in Perambalur will ensure that no shallots are getting wasted, increase farmers’ income and also ensure availability of shallots to consumers. This Onion processing technology should be taken to all parts of India.
Mr. C. Anandharamakrishnan, Director, Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology said that his Institute has decided to take one crop per year and develop processing technologies and related infrastructure for that crop. In this regard Mission Banana was implemented in the previous year and this year it is Mission Onion. Central Food Processing Center for Shallots in Chettikulam, Perambalur District is part of the Mission Onion in improving the lives of Onion farmers in this area. This center will help farmers’ to double their income through value addition. This center will process Shallots and produce 4 Shallot products viz. Fresh Shallot, Peeled Shallot, Onion Powder, Onion Paste, Onion Flakes. He also said that IIFPT is working on Mission Coconut which will be launched next year on World Coconut Day (2nd September 2018).
Perambalur district is the hub for small onions (Shallots) cultivation in over 8000 hectares producing around 65,000 to 70,000 tonnes every year. Farmers reported massive losses due to conventional methods of handling and storage. Stakeholders from this region expressed their need to provide technological solutions to minimize wastage, particularly during seasons with surplus production. The farmer producers union which will be involved in this initiative was also launched recently.
IIFPT has developed three machines viz.,
1. Small Onion Stem and Root Cutter
2. Small Onion Peeler
3. Solar Assisted Curing cum Storage Unit for Onions
This Center will make four value added products
1. Onion Powder
2. Onion Paste
3. Vacuum Packed Peeled Onion
4. Onion Flakes
Benefits of the Value addition created
1. Reduction of storage losses
2. Ease of handling
3. Shelf life extension
4. Increase in income generation
5. Wider market coverage for local farmers
6. More jobs created
Even with proper storage and handling, unprocessed small onions last only upto 15 days and even lesser when stored after peeling. But with the value addition, Onion powder will last for 6 months, Onion Paste for 5 months, Vacuum Packed Peeled Onion for 1 month (under refrigeration), Onion Flakes for 6 months. Thus it increases shelf life and farmers get better prices for their produce.