The city got its first National Horticultural Mission (NHM) funded fruit-ripening unit on Thursday, thanks to the efforts of a middle-aged couple, Pushpa and MP Bhatt.
The state-of-the-art project, the third of its kind in UP, has a capacity of ripening nearly 18.5 metric tonnes of bananas every day — under natural conditions without using harmful chemicals.
Spread over 1.5 acres of land in Malhaur and consisting four chambers, the unit — Suyush Nutraceutical Foods Private Limited was inaugurated by agriculture production commissioner (APC) Alok Ranjan. The project would aid the sale of quality fruits and help retain their nutrition value.
Generally, commercial ripening is done using calcium carbide, which is considered hazardous for health. But here ingredients of natural plants would be used to ripen fruits. Not only would the fruit ripen uniformly, its shelf life would also be enhanced, according to the Bhatts.
"Chemical ripening softens the fruit and spoils its nutritional values and the natural taste. It may lead to cancer and several other health problems," said MP Bhatt, a science postgraduate himself.
The Bhatts worked on the project for nearly two years with the help of three scientists. Now, with the unit seeing light of the day, their dream is realised. It would encourage farmers to optimally utilise it and go in for a larger-scale storage facility in the course of time.
"This is the first such state-of-the-art unit funded by the NHM in the state capital. I believe that it will encourage more private entrepreneurs to come up with such projects," APC Ranjan said after inauguration.