TECHNO INCUBATION CENTRE

Tuber crops are important sources of starch after cereals, besides being used as staple or supplementary food. Being the crops with adaptability to wide range of soil, climate and environment of the tropics and sub tropics and requiring minimum agronomic input and care for growth, they can be very well fitted into the prevailing cropping system. Cassava and sweet potato are the most important among the tuber crops and other tubers are grown as vegetable crops in homestead or semi commercial scale. Tuber crops though branded as poor man’s crops in rural areas, being high source of starch, they have considerable unrealized potential for processing into high end products for food, feed and industrial uses. The perishable nature of tropical tuber crops and the difficulties in long distance transport, storage and marketing constitutes major problems for farmers whose bargaining power is at its lower edge. In order to overcome this problem, in situ processing or value addition near the farm site is recommended which ensure promotion of entrepreneurship at various levels besides ensuring food security by incorporating tuber flour/starch to a certain extent in various food preparations.

ICAR-Central Tuber Crops Research Institute, a pioneer in the R&D activities of tropical tuber crops evolved a number of value addition technologies suitable for home, farm and industrial front. The Techno-incubation centre is the realisation of the importance of tuber crops in creating and promoting entrepreneurships to enhance the value of these treasures of soil. It is financially supported by Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium, Department of Agriculture, Govt. of Kerala.

Objectives

The main objectives of TIC are:

  • To organise awareness training programmes on value addition of tuber crops to stake holders viz., farmers, entrepreneurs, officers of agrl/horti. departments
  • To provide hands-on training on preparation of value added products from tuber crops
  • To provide incubator facility to prospective entrepreneurs for the production of value added products from tuber crops
  • To provide technical assistance to innovative entrepreneurs for product development in tuber crops
  • To act as a production/processing unit of tuber crops based products for its widespread popularisation

Processing Units

The Centre have three major processing units viz.,

  • Flour Production Unit (FPU)
  • Snack food manufacturing Unit (SMU)
  • Fried chips manufacturing unit (FCMU) to undertake the activities viz.,
    • edible grade flour production from cassava tubers and its further processing into value added snack foods including fried snack foods and oil free extruded ready-to-eat snacks
    • production of low glycaemic pasta products as food for diabetic and obese people as well as nutritionally enhanced pasta for children and youth
    • manufacturing fried cassava chips and strips with good texture and taste respectively

The prospective entrepreneurs will also get an idea on the essential infrastructural requirement for setting up a processing unit on tapioca based value added products. Besides, training will also be a major activity under the Techno-Incubation Centre, so that a large no. of people could derive benefit from it. This benefit could be translated into an income generating activity not only for the entrepreneurs, but also for the cassava farmers through backward integration. The main objectives of the projects are setting up of a Techno-Incubation centre at CTCRI, with the essential facilities required for the manufacture of value added products, which will help the prospective entrepreneurs to utilize the facility and add value to the crop ensuring sustainable income to the entrepreneurs. Self Help Group members can also utilize the facility by paying a nominal user fee and make profit from the produce, without investing much by them. Another objective is to effectively disseminate the value addition technologies, as more and more people could get convinced about the benefits of the technology by producing the various products by themselves.

Facilities at Techno Incubation Centre

Various facilities provided by TIC are:

  • TIC is equipped with a training hall occupied with modern audio visual aids and short distance projector to seat 30 people
  • Different types of machineries and equipments are available at the centre to suit for the various processes for the development of value added products from tuber crops. These include:
    • Chipping machine-manual/ mechanical type of various capacities to produce round chips, finger chips, cubes , slices etc.
    • Electrical dryer for drying of tuber chips
    • Flour mill (hammer type) for making tuber flour from dried chips
    • Dry blender (horizontal ribbon type) for thorough and uniform mixing of various dry ingredients
    • Kneading machine for making dough for the production of snack foods
    • Pasta making machine- table top and stand alone type for making nutritional and functional pasta products of different shapes
    • Twin screw extruder for making ready to eat oil free extruded snacks products
    • Floor type sheet making and diamond shape slice forming machine from tuber flour dough
    • Mixture making machine with different types of jalis suitable for making different fried snack foods
    • Two burner range (Industrial type) suitable for the mixture making machine
    • Packaging machine: hand and pedal operated, band type and automatic filling centre sealing packaging machine
    • Deep fat fryer (basket type)
    • Biogas plant

Products to be popularised through TIC