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Andhra’s unique zero-waste banana cluster coming up soon

Representational image. The Andhra Pradesh Food Processing Society implemented banana cluster project in Pulivendula will help farmers add value to the fruit and increase their income (Pic. Courtesy krishijagran.com)

The banana plant is one of the most useful ones as each and every part of it can be used. Keeping this in mind, a multi-crore banana cluster project will come up soon in Pulivendula in Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa district. This project is bound to be beneficial for the banana farmers of Kadapa and Anantapur districts where this fruit is grown extensively.

The project to be built at a cost of Rs.4.82 crore is coming up under the Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Industries, and will be implemented by the Andhra Pradesh Food Processing Society. A special purpose vehicle —  Pulivendula Horticulture Farmers Producer Company Limited — has been formed with 700 farmers for this initiative.

Talking about this project with India Narrative, its Technical Agency Director said: “Its primary objective is end-to-end use of banana plants. It will enable farmers to utilise the raw materials of banana plants and add value to it and increase their income.”

Sharing details about the value-added products with India Narrative, the Director informed: “These will include banana stem juice, banana powder, sheath plates and cups, banana fibre and honey-dipped banana slices.”

Dehydration of banana and powder made from the fruit will increase its shelf life. The former has high content of fibre, potassium, carbohydrates, sugar and calories and helps in lowering blood pressure.

According to www.kitchenaid.com: “Dehydrated bananas are a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different recipes, making them great for adding banana flavour to recipes without excess moisture.” Alone it can be enjoyed as a healthy snack, as a delicious dessert topping or as an addition to trail mix or yogurt, added the website.

Banana powder is widely used as a component for making milk shakes, baby foods, and a wide variety of cakes and biscuits.

Elaborating about the use of stem, the Director told IN: “The stem of the plant will be used at the cluster to extract juice and fibre. This extraction will be done through an innovative method and for this, machines will be provided to farmers right at their plantations for a nominal fee thereby helping them to avoid spending money on infrastructure. The fibre can be used to make mats; toys; cups and plates that are biodegradable and eco-friendly.”

Banana stem juice according to www.healthifyme.com has potassium, vitamins, copper, iron, magnesium, carbohydrates and other minerals and can help to prevent diabetes, reduce weight, prevent urinary tract infection, kidney issues and anaemia, relieve constipation, reduce bad cholesterol and regulate blood pressure.

Tapping into the energy bar segment, dried bananas can be dipped in honey and eaten like a chocolate bar. “It is a healthy snack and very high on instant energy,” observed the Director.

According to a report in New Indian Express, the cluster will have machinery that can produce 13,500 kg of honey-dipped banana slices, 6,075 kg of banana powder, 27,000 litres of banana stem juice, 56,250 stem sheath cups and 25,000 stem sheath plates.