Banana bar may join menu of Anganwadi kids

CFTRI develops range of food products

If all goes well, farmers into banana cultivation in the region may see brighter days as Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) is coming to their rescue. CFTRI has developed a range of products, based on banana, besides planning a new plant variety to protect crop from spoilage.

In the recent stakeholders’ meeting for banana farmers, processors and market players held at CSIR-CFTRI, director of the institute Ram Rajasekharan disclosed that the institute has a range of technologies for making banana-based products. It includes banana nectar, RTS beverages and banana bar. Some quantity of Ready to Serve (RTS) beverages were made from the pulp and was available through CFTRI canteen for staff and students at the institute, he added.

Women and Child Development Department officials were introduced to the products in the meeting. Now, they have agreed to buy banana bars for distribution as a food supplement for anganwadi children. A 25 gram/day of the bar can provide approximate 90 k cal energy.

In another major initiative, the institute will launch a new plant variety, which has the potential to protect banana crop from spoilage. The plant can be grown as an intercrop, along with other plantations.

The meeting was convened following dwindling market for banana during December 2015, when farmers were forced to sell their crop for a meagre Rs 2 per kg. The students, as part of their project, initiated interaction with the farmers of Chamarajanagar district.

Two tonnes of fresh banana were procured and processed at the institute’s pilot plant, where it was packed and stored in cold storage. Some buyers were brought to the loop for buying banana pulp. Samples were sent to pulp exporters for evaluation of the products from their end too.

Farmers’ groups, buyers and export houses, along with officials from Women and Child Development department and technologists from CFTRI attended the meet. A model called FRIG (Farmers, Government, R&D and Industry) for helping farmers was unveiled during the session.

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