Keeping in mind the plight of tomato farmers battling price fluctuation, the Mysuru-based Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) has come up with a low-cost tech solution that would enable them to store their produce for over four months at just Rs 4 a kilo. The technology has been developed by the food packaging wing of the institute, and involves a brine solution-based preservation for tomatoes.
Usually, farmers are forced to sell their produce at lower prices, sometimes for dirt cheap rates, sacrificing their earnings, even as the price tends to show an upward trend immediately after.
Speaking to TNIE, H.S. Satish, head of the food packaging wing, said: “The technology does not need any expensive machinery or refrigeration and involves a solution based on 4 per cent of salt, which maintains a pH level in which micro-organisms that spoil the vegetable cannot thrive, thereby delaying the decay.”
According to Satish, the farmers only need to have heat-sealed filling pouches of certain specification designed by the CFTRI and the solution should be maintained at a specified ambient temperature as well as a thermostat to measure the temperature, apart from keeping the pouches themselves at a specific ambient temperature.
“There is no need of refrigeration which is of high cost and consumes more energy,” he said.“With this, farmers can choose to sell their produce at the right time, when the price is on their favourable side.” Satish added that the specification of the solution is devised to be directly used for cooking. “Salt is generally used in cooking, and the percentage of salt in this solution is moderate and suitable for cooking,” he said.
The technical knowhow will be transferred to the farmers free of cost through farmers’ organisations as part of the institute’s farmer-centric approach. He added his team will be working on expanding the use of similar tech on other vegetables as well.