An artificial ripening centre, first of its kind in the district, which adheres to international standards of artificial ripening of mango and other fruits, was inaugurated at the Anantapur market yard on Saturday by the District Revenue Officer (DRO) Sudarshan Reddy.
The artificial ripening centre, constructed at a cost of over Rs. 60 lakh, is said to be a boon both for the mango farmers of the district as well as the consumers as mangoes can be ripened at around a rupee per fruit.
Farmers can easily afford this whereas the consumers get to consume fresh ripened fruits as against the usually available chemically contaminated ones.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Sudarshan Reddy said that mangoes ripened at the centre using ethylene gas would prove to be beneficial for all, while enhancing the reputation of the district as a key player in the horticulture market in the State and the country.
He reminded all that Anantapur district was the major producer of many fruits like that of sweet lime and musk melon besides sapota and others that are bought directly by traders from across the countryat the market yard in Anantapur.
“Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), in its order dated May 2010, permits the use of only ethylene gas for ripening of fruits,” said V.K. Pradeep Reddy, president of the Horticulturists’ Welfare Mutually Aided Co-operative Society (MACS) Limited.
The Government of India banned the use of calcium carbide as per the rules set out in the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.
The use of calcium carbide attaches to the fruits, thus ripened by it, carcinogenic chemicals like arsenic hydride and phosphorous hydride, Mr. Pradeep said.
Notwithstanding all this, the biggest advantage from the centre stands to be derived by the farmers whose fruits can now be ripened cheaply while delivering an additional benefit of being able to sell the produce directly at the market yard, where the ripening centre has been set up.