Mechanised system for processing makhana developed

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Published: May 23, 2019 4:23:06 PM

The machine is now commercially manufactured by two Ambala-based manufacturers under license from ICAR and has been installed at six places in the country.

The technology has helped a lot in solving the long due indigenous problem of manual popping of the indigenous crop, ICAR said in a statement.

A completely mechanised system for threshing, cleaning, seed grading, drying, roasting and popping of makhana (gorgon nut), an aquatic plant seed mainly grown in Bihar, has been developed by ICAR’s Ludhiana-based Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET). Costing `15 lakh to set up a small unit for producing 12kg puffed makhana per hour from processed seeds, this integrated machine has reduced the processing time from earlier 2-3 days to only about 20 hours.

“The process has helped to save the poor fishermen from the drudgery and for improving upon their working conditions besides producing high quality makhana for domestic consumption and export markets,” said S N Jha, assistant director general at Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Jha, who was involved in developing this project since a long time, said a ready-to-eat makhana kheer (milk-based pudding) mix has also been developed from the second or third grade of makhana.

The value addition of second or third grade of makhana will help farmers to earn more as this will help fetch better prices in the market, he said. In Bihar alone, it is grown in about 15,000 hectare water-bodies. About 5 lakh families are directly involved in makhana cultivation, harvesting, popping and selling while the production ranges between 7,500-10,000 tonne per year. Other states where it is also grown include Assam, West Bengal, Tripura and Odisha.
In this integrated system, the roasting is carried out in a closed barrel using the electric heated thermic oil. However, any heating source can be utilised depending upon its availability. The thermally insulated barrel helps in saving the worker from intensive heat and prevents the malleting as the hot roasted seeds automatically hit closed casein within seconds for breaking the hard roasted seeds for popping. As there is no human intervention between the roasting and popping, the developed system helps in completely saving the operators from intensive heat and boils in the hands. The technology has helped a lot in solving the long due indigenous problem of manual popping of the indigenous crop, ICAR said in a statement.

The machine is now commercially manufactured by two Ambala-based manufacturers under license from ICAR and has been installed at six places in the country.

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