Facilities provided by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University through Post Harvest Technology Centre
The Post Harvest Technology Center (PHTC) was established in April, 2004 as a constituent discipline of Agricultural Engineering College and Research Institute, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore to provide an infrastructure for multidisciplinary post harvest and food process engineering programmes and to play a lead role in developing appropriate, need based and cost effective post harvest technologies and dissemination of the technologies to the user groups for large scale adoption. The centre functions with an interdisciplinary approach to find solutions for field problems of current importance, and the scientists working on the center’s research project include Process Engineers, Food Technologists, Food Microbiologists, Biochemists, Entomologists, Horticulturists and Agricultural Economists.
The centre contributes its success to its renowned faculty and world class facilities .The PHTC is one of the leading unit in India and with its resources, the centre makes an excellent extended resource for the food industry entrepreneurs. The centre also serves as a focal point for faculty to form multidisciplinary research and out reach teams focused on various issues in food processing and post harvest operations. The centre is currently collaborating with McGill University, Canada on consolidation of Food Security in South India.
- Developing improved methods of processing and designing gadgets for highly perishable commodities such as fruits and vegetables for value addition and to meet the global standards and consumer demand.
- Developing cost effective processing technologies and equipments at farm and village levels for economic utilization of agricultural waste and by-products.
- Exploring the scope and possibilities of establishing cold chain and providing low cost pre-cooling facilities for farmers and entrepreneurs. ,
- Development of low cost, environment friendly and consumer appealing packaging technologies to increase the shelf life and consumer acceptance both in the domestic and global markets.
- Establishing agro processing complexes in and around the production centres.
- Developing standards for food safety, quality and technology (Quality control).
- Imparting training to the farmers, entrepreneurs, development department staff and bank officials to promote agro-processing facilities especially for horticultural produces.
- Development of Food – Processing Incubators in selected localities.
- Post production mechanization for fruits and vegetables
- Establishment of quality standards, Food testing and Quality Control Laboratories
- Innovative research on advanced food processing technologies
- Providing National and International leadership in post harvest
- Food processing technology, food safety, quality and public policy issues.
- Establishment of Production Centers cum Food processing Business incubators at district level.
- Food security and food safety by 2020.
The PHTC is currently collaborating with various national and international level organizations in conducting applied and problem solving research on priority areas. Multi disciplinary team of this centre is associated in carrying out the need based and solution oriented projects. Some of the key projects undertaken by the centre are reported below.
1. Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
A scheme on “Consolidation of Food Security in South India” is functioning in Post Harvest Technology Centre of Tamilnadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore with the financial assistance from CIDA, through McGill University , Montreal , Canada under the leadership of Dr.G.S.V.Raghavan, James McGill Professor. The scheme is sanctioned for a period of five years from 2002 to 2007.The project operates with the prime objective of reducing post harvest losses with the focus on value addition. It also aims at enhancing the livelihood security and food safety network of women and their economic empowerment. The major beneficiaries of the scheme are farmers, rural women, unemployed youth and progressive entrepreneurs. The scheme activities are focused in such a way to strengthen the food security in South India.
The important activities are as follows
- Strengthening and dissemination of need based post harvest technologies, value addition of agricultural commodities, processing and preservation of food products.
- Imparting training to women Self Help Groups (SHGs), farmers, unemployed youth, active entrepreneurs and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
- Establishing and equipping agro processing complexes in rural areas.
- Improving the standard of living of rural women through various training on food processing and preservation and cost benefit analysis of processed food production.
- Establishing model pilot plants to promote small scale entrepreneurs.
- Up-gradation of infrastructural facilities for action oriented research activities.
- Human resource development through staff exchange programme.
The scheme is being operated in the Post Harvest Technology Centre, Coimbatore and Home Science College and Research Institute, Madurai . Free trainings are being offered to women SHGs and members of NGOs with a focus on post harvest handling of fruits and vegetable processing like squashes, jam, pickle, Ready To Serve (RTS) beverages, value added products from papaya, guava, aonla and tomato, masala powders preparation, bakery , confectionery, sugarcane juice preservation and investment analysis of the projects.
The trainings are so designed to cater to the needs of rural women, who are interested to venture into the processing unit after the training period. Trainings are organized on 10th and 25th of every month in Coimbatore and on 19th in Madurai and for each training, a minimum of twenty members are selected.
2. Venture Capital Scheme (VCS)
a) Food processing business incubator
This scheme is in operation since March, 2004.Major focus of the scheme is entrepreneurship development and new product development.
The specific objectives of the programme are:
- Imparting techniques of food processing to the entrepreneurs
- Extending the facilities of food processing pilot plant to the private entrepreneurs on custom hiring basis
- Generating income through the sale of processed products
Thrust Areas of Training
- Fruits and vegetable Processing
- Tomato products manufacturing
- RTS, squash and bottling of sugarcane juice
- Small scale manufacturing of masala powder
b) Technology Transfer Training Programme (Venture Capital Scheme – FSN)
The scheme is in operation since July, 2003 and it functions with the following objectives;
- Imparting knowledge, skill and techniques of agro processing and allied activities to women groups and entrepreneurs
- Transfer of technology for starting food processing industries
I. Imparting training to women groups and entrepreneurs
ii. Preparation of technical reports, manuals, study materials etc.
- Establishment of cottage scale preservation unit
- Establishment of cottage scale pickle production units
- Establishment of small scale bakery unit
- Instant food mixes
- Home made desserts, pudding and confectionery preparation
- Processing and preservation of aonla, mushroom and drumstick
3. GOI (Government of India)-Setting up of Food Processing Training Centre
The specific objectives of the scheme are as follows.
- To impart training to entrepreneurs, house wives, farm women etc. on processing of products like squashes, jam, jelly, pickle etc. on commercial scale.
- To expand the existing teaching and research activities on post harvest operation, processing and preservation of fruits and vegetables.
- Novel product development for preserving under exploited fruits of Tamil Nadu such as fig, west Indian cherry, aonla, wood apple, etc., which are grown generally in drought prone areas with limited water resources.
- Commercial production of squashes, jam etc.
- Imparting training on fruits and vegetable preservation.
Thrust Areas of Training
Fruit and Vegetable Preservation
4. ICAR –ADHOC – Research Scheme – Impact of Establishing Guidance and Counseling Centre for the Overall Improvement of the Life of Rural Families
The scheme functions with the following objectives.
- To conduct a base line survey to identify the educational, psychological, economical and social problems of the individual families and society in the villages of Madurai East and Melur panchayat unions. To analyse the reasons for the problems identified and to conduct awareness campaigns to make the women to organize and take up income generating activities. To impart technical skills and knowledge to the women to take up income generating activities. To identify and render the need based guidance and counseling services to the beneficiaries. To evaluate the impact of the above services in solving the psycho-social problems of the rural families. To establish a co-ordination, guidance and counseling cum training centre at Home Science College and Research Institute, Madurai .
- Training for income generating activities
- Guidance and counseling for problematic families
Thrust Areas of Training
- Home care products like soap oil, soap powder, computer sambrani etc.,
- Fruits and vegetables preservation jam, squash, pickle etc
5. GOI-Ministry of Food Processing Industries-Establishment of Small Scale Bakery Unit
The scheme was sanctioned in November, 2004 and the objective of the scheme is establishment and utilization of small scale bakery unit for teaching, research and extension activities. The scheme focuses on organizing training programme to women self help groups and small scale entrepreneurs.
Infrastructure & Laboratories
1. Food Processing Pilot Plant
The department is equipped with a food processing pilot plant consists of a state of the art food process equipments for the production of fruit and vegetable products like jam, jelly, squash, ready to serve beverages, tomato products, pickles instant foods, masala powders.
The following equipments are available in the food processing pilot plant; Steam boiler, Fruit washer, Vegetable cutter, Fruit pulper, Steam jacketed kettle with scraper, Bottle sterilizer, Bottle filling, capping and sealing machines, Form fill and sealing machine, Microwave oven, Retort pouch sterilizer, Spices roaster, Ribbon blender, Sugarcane crusher, Bottling washing and rinsing units, Pulse milling units with cyclone separator, Canning machineries, Deep freezer and Cold room.
The pilot plant is utilized for teaching, research and outreach mission of the Post Harvest Technology Centre. In addition the Pilot plant facilities are utilized by the entrepreneurs as a Food Processing Incubator for their commercial production.
2. Bakery Unit
The pilot scale bakery unit is established in the department with the modern equipments viz., Rotary oven, Country ovens, Dough kneader, Planetary mixer, Bread moulder, Sheeter and Slicer, with a production capacity of 6,000 bread per day.
The Post Harvest Technology Centre is closely associated with a number of outreach activities to disseminate the laboratory level outcomes to end users.
Following are the core activities of outreach mechanisms.
Collaborating Extension Agencies
DHAN Foundation, Madurai
District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), Coimbatore
State Departments of Agriculture, Horticulture and Agricultural Engineering
Tamilnadu Women Development Corporation Ltd
This centre is organizing entrepreneurship trainings to women and unemployed youths on Food Processing and post harvest operations. Following are the details of the trainings.