If the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysuru, succeeds in its plans to empower farmers, sugar cane growers in neighbouring Mandya district may soon produce a nutritious juice on their own.
Addressing the ‘Dakshin Bharat Mahila Krishi Jagriti Karyashala - empowering women farmers with CSIR-CFTRI technologies,’ organised on the institute premises on Wednesday, CFTRI director Ram Rajasekharan said, “The institute has decided to set up one exclusive centre in Mandya, where farmers shall bring their produce (sugar cane), crush it, name it and can the juice.”
Referring to the spate of farmers’ suicide in the State, Rajasekharan said that if the agrarian community was empowered, they could find answers to their problems at their own place. The sugar cane growers in Mandya would be able to offer the juice or cola (soda) to the nation.
“The naturally rich juice is imperative, when people are drinking carbonated water. The people of Mandya can give a natural food that is a nutritious diet. The CFTRI is committed to solving this problem (of suicides) and we are quietly working on the product that could prove handy to sugar cane growers,” said Rajasekharan.
With only a few months left in the year, the institute is working hard to realise the plan in the same period, he said.
Rajasekharan said, farmers from neighbouring Tamil Nadu, who recently visited the institute, had evinced interest in preparing banana-flavoured juice and also soda.
Rajasekharan said, “Now, I realise that nutrient security lies with the soil and the institute has articulated programmes to deliver the same.”
Indira Oinam, founder secretary, Women’s Income Generation Centre, Manipur, said, “It is only with the help of technology that one can face challenges.” Oinam appealed to the CFTRI to rate the quality of the Manipuri Chak-Hao (purple rice), a variety from the north eastern state.
Welcoming the initiative of CFTRI, Kurubur Shanthakumar, president of Karnataka State Sugar Cane Growers Association, said, “The institute should give impetus to transfer technology to farmers. They are the backbone of the country and womenfolk form the formidable force behind the farmers. In the last 58 days, 298 farmers have ended their lives in the State due to various reasons.”