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Tirupati to host incubation centre to foster entrepreneurship among farmers

IIT Tirupati and APSPS have collaborated to start a high class incubation centre to help farmers to turn into entrepreneurs

To fulfil the aim of the Central and Andhra Pradesh Government to help farmers become entrepreneurs and help them add value to their produce, the AP State Processing Society and Indian Institute of Technology-Tirupati have collaborated to start a state-of-the-art incubation centre.

A grant of Rs.2.60 crore has been allocated under the Central Government’s Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro Food Enterprises scheme and the centre will commence work from October in Tirupati as the building to house the incubation centre is ready and equipment has been installed.

The incubation centre which is expected to provide a big boost to the food processing sector in the State will focus on nurturing the food processing entrepreneurs. For this it will provide customised training and guidance based on specific processing lines and product offerings while also allowing round-the-clock access to them to the centre’s infrastructure and equipment.

To provide mentorship and technical guidance, well known experts and specialists in their respective fields will be available. The centre will get entrepreneurs connected with retailers, distributors and potential buyers. It will provide an array of services including facility management, procurement and logistics.

The centre besides helping the farming sector is expected to help in innovation in the food processing industry. It will support three product and process lines which will be concerned with tomatoes, mangoes and lemons — three horticulture crops that are extensively cultivated in Rayalaseema and south Andhra region.

The tomato process line segment will have tomato crush, rasam and bhath powder. The first will provide puree which is a basic ingredient for different dishes. The last two are spice mixes which are used in traditional South Indian dishes.

In case of mango processing there are four sub lines. The first is a fortified mango bar – a blend of mango pulp and seeds, nuts and other ingredients – to manufacture nutrient-packed snack bars. Dried mango slice is the second one which will enable making of dehydrated mango slices, a favourite snack among consumers. The beverage line in this segment will allow production of mango-based beverages, including mango juice, nectar and fruit drinks while the carbonated mango beverages line is crafted to produce mango-flavoured drinks.

The lemon process line includes two sub-lines. The first will help in producing dehydrated lime slices, again a favourite snack and used in various other dishes and the second is carbonated lime beverages line in which beverages with lime flavour will be manufactured.