Now, farmers will not have to dump their surplus vegetables in absence of buyers, as Jharkhand’s first frozen vegetable processing plant is all set to start commercial production from Tuesday.
Mother Dairy has set up the plant on 27 acres of land with an investment of Rs 82.77 crore at Ranchi’s Tikratoli area under Nagri block. Chief minister Raghubar Das will inaugurate the processing plant, which will process vegetables including green peas, jackfruit, beans, cauliflower, ginger and litchi.
Mother Dairy, a subsidiary of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), markets its vegetable and fruit products under the brand name of Safal, which has been exporting processed food products to 38 countries.
The trial run for pea and jackfruit processing, which was started in February this year, has been successful and the plant is ready for commercial production.
The plant of second phase, which will extend the processing of tomato, mango, guava, amla and other fruits, is expected to begin functioning from November this year, said officials on Monday.
“This will be the eastern region’s first high-tech integrated automated processing plants along with individual quick freezing and aseptic pulping line facility,” said Dilip Rath, chairman of NDDB.
Das had laid the foundation stone of Mother Dairy’s third biggest vegetable and fruit processing plant in February last year.
Jharkhand is a vegetable surplus state, producing 38 lakh metric ton vegetables annually against the requirement of 30 lakh metric tonne. The state supplies around one million tonne vegetables to other states, mainly Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal .
Due to shortage of buyers, farmers have to dump their surplus produce every year. This year, thousands of farmers dumped tomato and peas at their farm fields, as tomato price dropped to 50 paise kg, while green peas was sold at Rs 2 per kg in wholesale market.
“Farmers income will grow with operations of the plant, as raw material would be purchased from farmers at fair price. The project will help 50,000 farmers of the state. We have set a target to add value to 75,000 metric ton of raw vegetable and fruit produce, including 50,000 metric ton of vegetables and 25,000 metric ton of fruits,” Rath said.
The processing plants at Nagri are at par with NDDB’s Delhi plants. The plant has processing capacity of 5,650 metric ton annually.
Jharkhand’s vegetable & fruit graph (annually)
Fruit production: 9 lakh MT
Vegetable production: 38 lakh MT
Vegetable requirement: 30 lakh MT
Tomato: 3.45 lakh MT
Peas: 2.75 lakh MT
French bean: 1.10 lakh MT