KAU offers a hand of help to cassava farmers in distress in Wayanad

Dryer unit installed at Krishi Vigyan Kendra to bring out value-added products from cassava

The timely intervention of the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) by offering to bring out value-added products from cassava has offered a ray of hope to farmers reeling under crisis during the pandemic.

After traders abruptly stopped procuring cassava owing to huge availability and low demand for the produce in the market, Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Ambalavayal, under the varsity, made the intervention along with the Kerala State Horticultural Products Development Corporation (Horticorp) by using a demonstration dryer unit at the Kendra, Allan Thomas of KVK told The Hindu.

“The unit can dry 60 kg of cassava in a shift, but we operated the unit in two shifts a day to help farmers,” Dr. Thomas said.

Horticorp collects the produce from farmers and return it to them after drying. The dried product has long shelf life and good demand in the market. Horticorp will provide ₹11.50 a kg to KVK as processing charge, he added.

Apart from cassava, the centre also brought out nearly 300 kg of value-added products made from jackfruit such as jackfruit halwa, toffee, and dried jackfruit as well as 500 kg of jackfruit seed powder with the support of the Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam.

The varsity has directed all KVKs to take all possible measures to help the farming community during the pandemic, KAU Vice Chancellor R. Chandra Babu said.

The diverse initiatives of KVK also provide job opportunities to nearly 40 women of five self-help groups.

“We have requested the Wayanad district administration to set up a dryer unit with a capacity of one tonne a day at KVK to cater to the needs of farmers in the district, and it has agreed in principle,” he informed.

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