AIP Conducts Solar Dried Product Trial at Coimbatore: Food Product Innovation Initiative for Entrepreneurs
April 3–5, 2013 | Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

Product development initiatives under the Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP) through development and commercialization of novel food products from locally available raw materials not only aims to enhance value of the selected products, but also creates an innovation ecosystem among universities to maximize income of farmers and small entrepreneurs.

Solar dried fruits are among the product categories selected for innovation under AIP. The initiative kick started with first product trial for solar dried fruits in Coimbatore on April 3-5, 2013. Faculty from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology, Dr. Samsher, Dr. Suresh Chandra and Mr. Sahadad from Assam Agricultural University conducted the trials with support from private enterprise M/s Reny Agro private limited. Reny Agro has adopted Tamil Nadu Agricultural University’s solar drying technology. It manufactures and supplies solar drying equipment to the entrepreneurs.

Faculty from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University Dr. Venkatachalam guided the team on the various aspects of solar drying. He reviewed the weather data of two target regions – Jorhat in Assam and Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, collected by the faculty and suggested modifications in the existing design of the solar drier to perfect it for drying targeted fruits under the local weather conditions. Prototypes of dried pineapple, mango, papaya and ginger were compared with the globally available products from Thailand, Middle East and with those available in the domestic markets. The performance of the machine was found to be satisfactory. The AIP product development team concluded that few more iterations on the process and solar drying conditions needs to be carried out at the university level under local weather conditions for perfecting the product and making it better.

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