The Madurai District Sarvodaya Sangh (MDSS) is going to be the first khadi institution in the district to get a Honey Processing Plant with financial assistance from Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).
The equipment will eliminate manual handling of honey thereby preventing contamination besides reducing moisture content, prevent fermentation and kill yeast cells.
M.T. Wakode, KVIC Director of Madurai Division, which covers ten southern districts, told The Hindu that in Tamil Nadu, many honey producers used ‘water bath’ to heat honey. As they cannot regulate the temperature, overheating could occur affecting the quality of honey.
The Honey Processing Plant employs scientific methods to purify the honey and process the raw honey. The unit would significantly improve the quality of honey and increase sales, he opined.
P. Padmanaban, MDSS Secretary, said that Madurai had the potential to see honey sales of Rs. 2 crore per annum. The Sarvodaya Sangh is going to begin marketing efforts to sell the honey across the State not only to khadi institutions but also to other commercial enterprises and supermarkets, he said.
The total project cost was Rs. 5 lakh with the KVIC providing a grant of Rs. 3.75 lakh. The Honey Processing Plant will be installed and is expected to become operational before March, the end of the current financial year. The unit will come up at the Sarvodaya Sangh’s production centre at Avaniapuram in the district.
The unit could process upto 100 kilograms of raw honey and convert them into 100 per cent pure honey in eight hours. It will remove all the dust, wax and other particles and provide a product that will measure up to ‘agmark’ standards, he said.
It will be packaged into different quantities of 500 gms, 1 kg or 2 kg based on marketing requirements. “With the price of one kilogram of honey around Rs. 100, we expect to do sales of Rs. 5 lakh per month. If the demand increases, we would consider operating the equipment in two shifts. It will generate employment for five to ten persons,” said Mr. Padmanaban.