Processed tapioca with masala a hit with export markets

Processed tapioca with masala from Varapetty Service Cooperative Bank near Kothamangalam in Ernakulam district has turned out to be product of great demand in countries such as the United States, Australia and New Zealand so much so that the bank is finding it difficult to meet the demand from its customers abroad.

The tapioca is semi-cooked and packed along with ready-made masala for the users. “It takes only a little time to cook the processed tapioca with the masala, which has become a favourite with expatriate Malayalis in these countries,” said M. G. Radhakrishnan of the Varapetty cooperative.

He said there was sufficient orders for the processed and semi-cooked tapioca as well as vacuum-fried banana chips, which were being exported. However, there was a shortage of raw materials now to meet the export orders. He said despite 65 groups of farmers being engaged by the cooperative to grow tapioca and banana, the supply had shrunk. “There is a need to change our agricultural practices,” he said and pointed out the need for making agriculture a business so that the farmers received remunerative prices and the supply of raw materials was ensured for food processors throughout the year.

The Varapetty bank was among the two cooperatives from the State, including the Kadirur Service Cooperative Bank, recognised for their performance by the National Cooperative Development Corporation recently. Both the cooperatives stood out for their activities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Varapetty cooperative began to procure fresh tapioca from farmers when the price of the produce had come down steeply during the pandemic. While the open market price remained low, the service cooperative bank began to procure tapioca at ₹15 a kg for processing and value addition, said Mr. Ramakrishnan.

He said that raw material supplies for food processors were seasonal, which affected both the profitability of farmers as well as processors. With the Onam season, there would be a surge in supplies of vegetables and bananas, which would once again depress the prices, he added.

The cooperative was also exporting coconut oil to different countries and had received substantial orders recently, he said.

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Printable version | Aug 1, 2022 5:40:26 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/processed-tapioca-with-masala-a-hit-with-export-markets/article65542824.ece