- Created: Friday, 16 June 2017 03:00
Jain Irrigation Systems commenced trial run at its mango processing plant at Elayamuthur near Udumalpet, in Tamil Nadu last week.
The crushing capacity of the unit is 200 tonnes of mango per day and varieties such as Totapuri and Alphonso alone will be processed here, Ashok Bhavarlal Jain, Chairman, Jain Irrigation said.
The unit will, however, crush only 100 tonnes per day to start with this year, he said pointing out that the mango season had come to a fag end. “We have the capacity to scale up and will utilise it if there is a requirement. During the next season, we will commence processing the fruit from May 10 to end-August,” he added.
To ensure supply of mangoes, the company has tied up with around 750 farmers in the region.
“We are at present procuring the fruit from major mango growing areas of Tamil Nadu such as Salem and Dharmapuri and the neighbouring States as well. But in the coming years, there should be no issue as we have entered into a buy-back agreement with farmers under the Unnati programme,” said Sunil Deshpande, Managing Director, Jain Farm Fresh Foods Ltd, a subsidiary of Jain Irrigation. The company has invested ₹25 crore in the facility.
Explaining at length about the farmer partnership programme, he said “we have sensitised and demonstrated the adoption of Ultra High Density Plantation (UHDP) practice for mangoes. The mango orchard with 674 plants per acre in Udumalpet is the oldest UHDP in the country. Farmers have benefited by more than doubling their income on account of this.”
Under UHDP, one can go up to 675 plants/ acre as against the conventional method of planting 60 trees/ acre.
Farmers are given financial incentives for the planting material supplied by the company, pitting, planting and drip irrigation. This is to ensure that the farmers get the right type of planting material and irrigation system, Deshpande added.
The trees start to bear fruit from the third year onwards and from the fifth year, the yield per acre rises to 10-12 tonnes.
To protect the farmers from price fluctuation, a minimum guarantee price is fixed. The market price or guaranteed price – which ever is higher is paid to those enrolled under the programme, Deshpande said. The company is in the processing of enrolling another 1,500 farmers under Unnati programme.
The Unnati programme was introduced to the farmers in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka about 4–5 years ago.
On the Udumalpet facility, Ashok Jain said: “we acquired it in 2005. It was initially a vegetable processing facility. We went in for UHDP of mango the following year. The trees started bearing fruits from 2009. We are at present looking to extract mango pulp, but would in due course process other fruits such as aonla, guava and pomegranate as well.
While the company has entered into a strategic relationship in the domestic market with Coco-Cola for supply of pulp, it is also being exported to Japan, Europe and West Asia. “There is a shortage of pulp processing capacity, which we feel can be bridged in two years with the addition of this facility. We have processing plants in Jalgaon, Chitoor, Baroda and now in Udumalpet as well,” he said.
Source: Business Line