A model called FRIG (Farmers, Government, R&D, and Industry) has been launched, with the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) taking the lead in helping banana growers.
A recent stakeholders’ meeting involving growers, processors and market players in the banana processing industry was organised at the CFTRI with the aim to create a robust food value chain, which would be beneficial to the processing industry.
There were press reports during December 2015 that farmers were forced to sell banana for a meagre Rs. 2 a kg.
In this context, AcSIR students, as part of their project studies, initiated interaction with farmers of Chamarajanagar district. Accordingly, around two tonnes of fresh banana was procured and processed at the Institute Pilot Plant, and packed and stored in cold storage.
Some buyers were brought into the loop for the purchase of banana pulp. Samples were sent to pulp exporters for evaluation of the product from their end. And some quantity of pulp was sold through this route, said CFTRI Director Ram Rajasekharan. CFTRI has a range of technology available to make banana-based products, which include banana nectar, RTS beverages, banana bar, and so on.
Some quantity of Ready to Serve (RTS) beverage was made from the pulp and made available through CFTRI canteen for sale to staff and students of the institute.
For anganwadi centres
Interaction with the Department of Women and Child Development was a major step, as they agreed to buy banana bars for distribution as a food supplement to anganwadi children. About 25 gm/day of the bar can provide approximately 90 kcal energy along with other micronutrients for a price of Rs. 4, he explained in a release here.
Farmer groups, buyers and export houses, along with officials from the department and technologists from CSIR-CFTRI, attended the meet to share their views and formulate a sustainable framework for a better future.
Accordingly, the model of FRIG was unveiled by Prof. Rajasekharan. Demonstration on value-added products from banana was also arranged on this occasion.