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Value Adds, Processing Perishable Goods; Here's How Farmers Are Adapting To COVID-19

Even in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak, the farming and horticulture industry is holding on as they slowly mold themselves to adapt to the new challenges


Even in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak and lockdown, the farming and horticulture industry is holding on as they slowly mold themselves to adapt to the newer challenges. In an interesting way to utilize the excess produce that cannot be sold in the markets at the moment, farmers in Tamil Nadu are using perishable goods and making chips and dried fruits out of it. They are even adopting the method of fermenting fruits since these can last for months and be sold post the lockdown period. 

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"Chips last longer, the fruits, if they haven't ripened, can be made into chips, if they're ripe, they can be turned into dried fruits using a solar dry process. Alternatively, they can make juice and sell in markets. Since they're essential services, they're allowed to function," said D Kirubakaran, a farmer from Trichy, who has a banana plantation. He added that around 200-300kgs of chips were being sold daily. 

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The process of fermentation is available for free on the internet and the food research centre (Central Food Technological Research Institute) or CFTRI, a central government department is giving away access to this information for free to anyone who wants to try it, either for personal or business reasons. "At this juncture, as per the instructions of the district administration, officials from agriculture marketing and horticulture department have done a tremendous job," he added. Banana farmers from Trichy have sold out about 4,500 tonnes of the fruit during the lockdown period.

Even the tribal community who have been honey gatherers are trying their best to sustain themselves during these difficult times. Due to the lockdown, 5000 jars of their honey are lying unsold. The Kattunayakan honey gatherers of the Nilgiris have requested people yo buy their honey through with a reassurance of the bottles being delivered post the lockdown period. 

Read: Italy: Farmers Struggle As Country Witnesses Driest Spring In 25 Years

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