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Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Post-Harvest Technologies for Sustainable Development of NER India

Prof. Harish Hirani, Director CSIR-CMERI
CSIR-CMERI has developed a number of Post-Harvest Processing units considering the technological, social, economic, traditional knowledge and skillsets of rural people to address the specific needs of North Eastern Region. In the north eastern regions, almost 70% of the population has the primary profession of agriculture of which the major cash crops of the region are Ginger, Chilli, and Turmeric etc. besides a wide array of citrus fruits such as lemon, pineapple etc. In the journey to make efficient technologies and minimize the uncertainty and risk of mechanization, CSIR-CMERI developed multiple prototypes to learn, test and refine Post-Harvest Processing technologies incorporating insights gained from the real-world experiments. Finally, the developed technologies were implemented in Mizoram (Appreciations from Mizoram) and Arunachal Pradesh (Appreciations from Arunachal Pradesh); and efforts are being made to utilize know-how in the state of Manipur (Appreciations from Manipur) and Nagaland (Appreciation from Nagaland). While developing every product special care was taken to enable the rural population to have a larger voice in decision making of the required machines to improve the productivity of off-farm activities. 

To understand the local socio-economic variability, the need to partner with NGOs dedicated towards local development was felt to strengthen the value-based development parameters of the exercise. In this regard, CSIR-CMERI collaborated with one NGO CDAR (Community Development Action & Reflection) to setup the Post Harvesting Centre named CSIR-CMERI-CDAR, Mizoram. A number of Skill Development Programs for Self-Help-Groups, focusing on empowerment of womenfolk have been organized. Hundreds of local participants have been trained in preservation and processing of ginger, turmeric, and pineapples. The primary target of these projects is to benefit the marginalized segment of society that does not have the means to transform its socio-economic prospects without able help and guidance from Science & Technology practitioners. As per data provided by CDAR (Details) the projects has benefitted more than 50,000 beneficiaries till date and counting. The development of the technologies was also coupled with creation of economically and socially viable Rationalized Business Model to eradicate the marketing related woes. This customised market reach out framework were also reframed to gain access to specialised markets which cater to the value-added end-products created by the CSIR-CMERI technologies. 

We thank various ministers, government officials and NGO who expressed their confidence in CSIR-CMERI. This exercise of "Sustainable Rural Development" has massively benefitted the CSIR-CMERI scientists as actual users with true feedback remain active throughout and quick response on maintenance and power management has helped the scientists to develop cost effective and robust processing assembly (Technology Video) in relatively short span of time. Fourteen micro/small enterprises have already expressed interest to buy newly developed ginger processing assembly, which will help the technologies to further permeate to the society and in turn benefit millions of residents of the North East Region.