The National Horticulture Fair 2023 (NHF2023), which is ongoing in Hesaraghatta, under the theme of ‘Innovative horticulture for self-reliance’, has recorded footfall of 20,000 people since its commencemet, said Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) officials.
“We have had more than 20,000 people visit since it started. Farmers are visiting regularly from different parts of the country such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala,” said Kala Shetty S.G., Chief Technical Officer of Transport, IIHR.
Many visitors are thronging the incubation facility on the campus that helps out startup companies who want to venture into business. The centre is called BESST – HORT (Business Entrepreneurship and Start-up Support through Technology in Horticulture). A senior official said, “We have all different kinds of facilities and equipment meant to aid food processing, bio fertilizers, as well as for mushroom production. The companies will just have to take membership in the incubation center and pay the hiring charges for the equipment required.” The centre has over 170 products and equipment that the new businesses can use such as products for bar packaging, juice pasteurizers, waxing and drying machines etc.
The advantage of using the facilities at the institute is that the products are more sustainable and healthier to consume, according to officials. “We have the technology for osmotic dehydration. It is the process where the fruit slices are subjected to osmosis first which is followed by the process of drying out the fruit slices. Due to this process, the water will be removed from the fruit and sugar molecules will enter which enables the fruit to enable its texture and remain soft and hydrated. It will not be dehydrated and brittle,” said Vijay Rakesh Reddy S., a scientist at ICAR-IIHR.
The institute has developed an innovative product that is the technology for the preparation of Ready to Serve beverages from Dragon fruit.
The research for this was headed by Pushpa Chethan Kumar, a senior scientist who works at the division of Post-Harvest Technology and Agricultural Engineering. “The most recent beverage we developed was a Dragon fruit RTS beverage as it is an exotic fruit. You can find processed products of this fruit but not ones that can be instantly consumed as it is a new crop in India,” said Dr. Pushpa. The method used to make the juice involves a process where the seeds and the mucilage have been removed but the exotic color and taste is retained. Earlier the institute has developed RTS juice including Mango, Guava, Watermelon, Amla, Kokum etc.