Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal inaugurated a unit to process small onions in Perambalur district in Tamil Nadu and this will help farmers of the region earn extra income. She said Indian agriculture needs to be supplemented with food processing and value addition for achieving the target of doubling the farmers’ income by 2022. Badal was speaking after launching the food processing incubation centre for shallots (small onions) via video conferencing.
The unit set up at Chettikulam at a cost of Rs 1 crore, will process small onions to produce vacuum packed peeled onion, onion paste, onion flakes and onion powder. While vacuum packed peeled onion will last for 1 month (under refrigeration), the shelf life of Onion powder will be 6 months, onion paste 5 months and onion flakes 6 months. Badal said, “Perambalur is the hub of small onions. Farmers of this region had suffered huge losses due to lack of post harvest handling facilities. Farmers in Perambalur district are producing 70,000 tonnes of shallots per year in a cultivation area of 8,000 hectares land. Today, agriculture needs to be supplemented with value addition to ensure farmers income increase. Farming is difficult due to rising input cost, unpredictable weather, disease outbreak and farmers not getting adequate prices in the market.
The minister praised the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) Thanjavur for taking initiatives to help double farmers’ income by 2022. This unit will ensure that small onions do not get waste and increase farmers’ income.
IIFPT Director C Anandharamakrishnan said the institute has decided to take one crop per year and develop processing technologies and related infrastructure for that crop. The IIFPT is working on Mission Coconut, which will be launched next year on World Coconut Day (2nd September 2018). In this regard, Mission Banana was implemented in the previous year and this year it is Mission Onion.