This machine was put on display for pea farmers from across the state at Ladhowal Agro Farms near here on Saturday. Punjab Agro Industries Corporation chairman and former MP, Amrik Singh Aliwal, was also present on the occasion.
Amrik Singh Aliwal informed that at the national level 40 lakh metric tonnes (MT) of green peas was produced mainly in Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, of which only 10% was processed, with annual production of around 1.25 lakh MT of frozen green peas. Likewise, pea is the most popular crop of Punjab and in the year 2012-13 green peas were grown on 20,326 hectares across the state with production of 2,08,171 MT. Of this, only 10-15% was processed by Frozen Vegetables Processing Plants located in the state.
Aliwal said that due to the manual picking of green peas, farmers faced huge problems in organising semi-skilled women labour, which not only increases the cost of green peas but also restricts adequate quantity supplies to the processing industry. Owing to this, more than 50-60% demand of green peas processing industry was met through procurement from the adjoining states like Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand.
He said that is why this machine was specially procured from Holland with a thrust to promote food processing industry on one hand and diversification of agriculture in the state on the other.
Aliwal said that this machine would not only curtail the labour cost but also enhance the value addition as the peas plucked through this machine would be 100% utilized for processing. He said that this effort of the state government would help the farmers and processors to enhance area under peas and also result in diversification in agriculture.
Amrik Singh Aliwal informed that this machine can pluck and hull green peas from 15 acres of land daily. He said the cost for plucking and hulling one kilo of green peas would be less than 50 paisa, that is very economical. He informed that this is the first of its kind machine in entire South East Asia and in Asia, this machine is available only in Turkmenistan. He appealed to the farmers of Punjab to adopt farming of green peas.