IIFPTs neera tapping machine gains popularity

IIFPTs neera tapping machine gains popularity

The neera tapping machine, used to extract sap from coconut palm, designed by the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT), Thanjavur, in Tamil Nadu, is gaining popularity among coconut growers in Karnataka.

Although the automated tapping machines, designed under Mission Coconut Programme, are under trial tests, in three districts of Tamil Nadu, the institute, functioning under the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), has been receiving a lot of queries from Karnataka, particularly Tumakuru district, says, IIFPT Director Anandharamakrishnan. He is in Mysuru for the Mega Food Expo, featuring manufacturing industry, analytical laboratories, ingredient manufacturers, educational institutes and other stake holders, at the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), here.

The tapping machine eases the process of extracting neera from the tree, as there is no need for a tree climber. Owing to lack of skilled tree climbers and tappers, farmers are suffering huge losses. Many have even stopped extracting neera. The solar-power neera tapping machine automatically taps neera sap from coconut palm and transfers it to a container placed at the bottom of the tree. The unit can be fixed conveniently to the trees during taping season, says the Director.

Preservation and processing of neera requires a suitable technology, as it is highly susceptible to fermentation. The chances of formation of alcoholic compounds are high, if proper scientific practices are not adopted. The IIFPT has developed the machine to address a majority of the farmers' problems, said the Director.

IIFPT initiated the coconut mission programme on September 2, 2017. It aims to provide end-to-end solutions to coconut farmers, from harvesting to value addition to enhance the farmers' income.

Apart from the neera machine, the institute has developed a technology for onion to help farmers increase their income. Anandharamakrishnan said, when a large number of onion growers in Perambalur district, Tamil Nadu, suffered huge losses, the institute developed a technology, which increases the farmers' income by five times.

“The institute has developed a technology to convert onions, including small onions, into paste, powder and flakes. We have developed an incubation centre to add value to onions,” the Director said.