BANGALORE: The Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) at Hesaraghatta, near Bangalore, is ready with various farm technologies for transfer for industrial application. These technologies include a range of tractor mounted farm equipment to simple hand-operated machines.
More than 10 simple machines have been exhibited at a hall at the Agricultural Engineering Division at the IIHR. Farmers, food technologists, fabricators and exporters are now visiting the facility and picking up designs. The range of products includes transplanters, sprayers, hand-pulled onion seeders, garlic peelers, raw mango peelers and processors, compost mixers and several other tractor attachments.
According to IIHR Director G.S.R. Murthy, “The institute has a strong Transfer of Technology division. An Agricultural Technology Information Centre is operating in this institute which serves as single window for delivery of technical knowledge and the supply of seeds, seedlings, bio-pesticides, bio-fertilizers, publications and compact discs. This institute is recognised by many universities for postgraduation education. Several women empowerment programmes such as processing and value addition, mushroom cultivation and ornamental gardening are being addressed”.
Speaking to The Hindu Principal Scientist and Head, section of Agricultural Engineering at IIHR, S.C. Mandhar said: “The farm mechanisation equipment is suited for Indian crops such as chilli, onions, garlic, sugarcane and various types of legumes and orchard crops. One of our products — the vacuum seed plunger has attracted the attention of the multinational Monsanto Corporation, while the raw mango peeler and processors had been used extensively by a pickle manufacturing company.”
Mr. Mandhar who is working on a few more models of farm mechanisation, said: “India has the largest number of tractors in the world (32 lakh), but their usage has been minimised owing to non-availability of tractor mounted attachments for farm applications. The Indian farmer uses his tractor for not more than 400 to 500 hours a year and the investment he makes to buy the tractor and the money he spends on its maintenance makes it unviable. This calls for more tractor-mounted farm equipment for all applications.”
Senior scientist (Horticulture), Division of Post Harvest Technology at the IIHR, I.N. Doreyappa Gowda says his division has given the technology transfer prime position. “The various types of ready to serve products developed and marketed under the FPO certification have been well received by entrepreneurs.”
Listing out the products developed by the division through technology integration, Dr. Gowda said that 15 products had been developed in the last few years, including osmotic dehydration of mango, butter fruit spread, watermelon candy, watermelon pickle, passion fruit beverage, enzyme liquefied jackfruit and Guava, which have been accepted in the market.