A conference of vice-chancellors of various horticultural and agricultural universities across the country was held in Hyderabad recently. The event focused on exploring ways to generate revenue from the institutions. The V-Cs were given examples of the College of Horticulture, Mojerla, and Sri Konda Laxman Telangana State Horticultural University; these institutes, over the past few years, have been preparing various natural products on a commercial scale by processing fruits, vegetables, aromatic and medicinal plants.

Since 2019, the post-harvest technology lab has been abuzz with student activity. Horticulture students have been getting hands-on experience making products such as soaps, cosmetics, dried food products, and immunity-booster capsules from horticultural crops.

These products are being sold through ‘Plantaessence,’ an android application. These days, the laboratory has come up with some innovative products, which include car air fresheners that can help with motion sickness and nausea. For controlling diabetes, the lab has been making laddoos from moringa flowers. Inulin, garcinia, and moringa are mixed in specific quantities for the preparation. The students claim that their product also increases lactation in pregnant and new mothers.

Man on mission
Professor J Shankaraswamy, assistant professor and head of post-harvesting technology at the department of fruit science, is a man on the mission. He registered the first patent in India for green chilli powder
in 2022.

He claims that the powder has anti-carcinogenic properties, is cost-effective, and retains the colour of the chilli after drying and pre-treatment in a solution. He says that the product has antioxidant properties and has the potential to replace the traditional red chilli powder, which is mixed with harmful azo-dyes. “The green chilli powder has been selling like hotcakes,” Shankaraswamy said.

Recently, he received the ‘Distinguished Scientist Award’ from the Agro-environmental Development Society (AEDS) at an international conference held in September.

Extending benefits
The lab students have been selling their produce at a weekly stall on the Bengaluru highway near Kothakota. They have also been teaching the netizens how to make those products through their programme ‘Talk of the Table with Processing People.’ Speaking to TNIE, Shankaraswamy said that soon the lab would interview progressive farmers via video link and train them in manufacturing the special products.

Since 2019, the post-harvest technology lab has been abuzz with student activity. The products made by students are being sold through ‘Plantaessence,’ an android application.