Training in potato processing to help farmers tackle financial crunch

Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, January 11

Giving impetus to its efforts towards saving farmers from financial crunch, the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) is organising a training programme on potato processing from January 29 to 31, for preparation of different value-added products. The department is emphasising on low-cost technologies, which can be adopted at farm gate and house hold level.

Giving information about the same, Dr Poonam Sachdev, Head, Department of Food Science and Technology, said Punjab stood 6th in potato production in India, contributing to 5.3 per cent of the total production. She added that since potato was a perishable commodity, inadequacies in its storage, handling and non-availability of processing grade potato in our country had resulted in frequent gluts in the market causing economic loss to the farmers and wastage of precious food.

“In such situations, it really becomes a challenge to help the farmer realise even his input cost of potato cultivation and production. In view of the above situation, the Department of Food Science and Technology, PAU, has developed affordable technologies for the production of low-cost diverse potato products (Aloo wari, potato flour, Aloo bhujia,. potato papad, potato chakli and potato-maize chips) which can help farmers fight financial crunch.”

She also said, “We have the technology for preparation of dehydrated potato fingers, cubes and potato flour. Dehydrated potato products have a shelf life of 18-months and when reconstituted, retain the fresh like flavor. This potato mash can be further used for making potato-based snacks. We are working on the technology for preparation of potato starch from non-commercial potato varieties. From this starch, soups and custard powder will be prepared. The department is also working on the technology for preparation of potato noodles and pasta,” she said.

Canning facilities for preparation of ready-to-use canned potatoes (whole cubes or curried) and frozen facilities for preparation of french fries, frozen cubes and frozen ready to fry potato-based snacks have also been developed. Farmers, farm women, rural youth and progressive entrepreneurs are provided with hands-on training and facilities on processing and value addition of potato in Food Industry Business Incubation Centre, PAU.

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