Staff Reporter

TIRUNELVELI: Farmers of the district selling graded guava fruits through direct marketing are fetching good revenue and thus increased profit.

According to T.V. Katchi Jamal, Deputy Director of Horticulture, Tirunelveli, farmers growing fruits on a large scale should go for direct marketing that ensures vast and permanent consumer base and assured sale. Small farmers could sell their produces through farmers’ market to cater to the needs of limited number of consumers.

Those who are selling farm produces, especially guava, shunning middlemen, are making attractive profits. If they can go for value-addition, their revenue will be even more attractive, he says.He suggests farmers to go in for value-added products in case of excess in production. For this, post-harvest management (PHM) including grading, packing, transportation, curing, ripening and storage are very much essential to ensure better prices for the perishable products, particularly fruits.

PHM depends upon increase in the efficiency of operation, contribution to quantity and quality, reduction in cost, increasing shelf-life etc., he added.

Guava (Psidium gujava), the ‘Poor Man’s Apple’, and one of the most familiar fruits in the country, has high adaptability due its hardy nature to wide range of climatic and soil conditions. The fruits, rich in Vitamin ‘C’ content (200 to 300 mg/100 gm of edible portion), can tolerate high level of salinity in the soil as well as in the irrigation water.

Hence, guava is being cultivated in about 400 hectares in Tirunelveli district, thanks to the horticulture development schemes being implemented in the district. Consequently, guava is flooding the markets across the district for the past one month, but not all the farmers are getting the right price for their produce due to lack of PHM.

Essential facilities

S. Raja Mohamed, Horticultural Officer, Palayamkottai said these PHM facilities are essential for increasing the marketability of the horticulture produces, adding values and increasing profitability.

The recent downpour has increased the quality of the fruits as rain has washed off the dust, pest inoculums, excreta of birds and other such debris on the fruits and the consumers are tempted to purchase, he added.

Guava may be used to make value-added products like jam, jelly and cheese, juice, canned segments and nectar. However, the most commercial use of guava in the country is for jelly preparation.

The modern methods of food preservation in general and of fruit and vegetable preservation in particular may be physical methods like preservation by cold, thermal processing, evaporation or dehydration and chemical methods like addition of vinegar or lactic acid, salting or brining, addition of sugar and heating, addition of chemical preservatives (soluble salts of sulphur dioxide, benzoic acid, sorbic acid, etc.) and fermentation (alcoholic and acetous fermentation as in case of fruit wines, apple cider, fruit vinegar), he added.

“If the farmers can go for value addition, their revenue will go up steeply as demand for the value-added farm produces is mindboggling,” he said.