Mysuru: The Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL) in a bid to rescue the tomato farmers is mulling over setting up a tomato processing centre at Ahalya village of Mysuru Taluk which is nearly 30km away from the city. The unit will help farmers to get better price for their tomato produce.
For the past many months, the farmers who are growing tomato are not getting good price for their produce. Due to lack of suitable price for their produce, some of the farmers even threw tomatoes on the streets. After seeing all these issues, for the past couple of years, the DFRL scientists have been contemplating various measures to help these farmers. Scientists have developed a range of products to minimise the post-harvest loss of tomato crop incurred by farmers.
They have developed technologies that enable the making of tomato-based products with special focus on farmers, self-help groups and small and medium enterprises. The products include tomato ready to serve beverage, tomato sambar paste, tomato rasam paste, tomato curry paste, green tomato chutney, tomato sauce, hot filled tomato pulp and tomato chutney. All the products have a shelf life of 6 to 9 months and the technologies are affordable, simple to adopt and user friendly.
Already training has been conducted in few villages including Chikkaballapur, Chintamani and Suttur. According to DFRL officials, the response from farmers is good, especially in Chintamani. Here, the people with the advice from DFRL staff are coming out with various products. During the training through live demonstrations, handbills detailing the technologies and products in local language have also been distributed to the farmers. Similarly on Sunday, DFRL along with the Spoorthy Janaabhivrudhi Samsthe conducted awareness sessions to farmers of Ahalya village about various products prepared from tomato. The farmers who had come in good numbers made use of the opportunity to the maximum extent.
Speaking after inaugurating a tomato process unit awareness workshop organised by Spoorthy Janaabhivridhi Samsthe, with the technical training and demonstration given by DFRL at the village, DFRL Director Rakesh Kumar Sharma said, “There are instances where farmers are found selling tomato for Rs 1 per kg and some even just disposing them off. After seeing the plight of tomato growing farmers our scientists have come out with various technologies and products. In days to come we are planning to set up a registered body at Aahalya village and promote tomato processing and other food processing products. Here the farmers can sell tomato and can get better price for their produce. The key objective of the initiative is to help the farming community. We are ready to buy the value-added tomato products to assist the farmers in generating the earnings. If the farmers themselves are ready to come out with various tomato products, they will be provided loans and subsidies from the government. After coming out with products the farmers can also sell the same to HOPCOMS”.