To improve the income of levels of scheduled caste fruit vendors of Visakhapatnam district the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India has sanctioned a project to GITAM Deemed to be University to train the fruit vendors on packaging methods for fruit preservation using the natural and synthetic packaging materials.
As part of the project the university biotechnology department established a low cost controlled atmosphere storage facility within the campus. GITAM Deemed to be University Vice-Chancellor Prof.K.Sivaramakrishna inaugurated the storage facility here on Thursday. While addressing the gathering he mentioned that the university is always trying to connect with community for the benefit of society.
He informed that the biotechnology department is actively engaged with several training program which are directly helpful to the farmers and unemployed youth in and around Visakhapatnam. He announced that after the tenure of the present SEED project, the university is planning to establish a “fruit vendor’s cooperative society” to handover the storage facility for future maintenance.
The project Principal Investigator Prof.Sk.Khasim Beebi said that most of the fruits are being rotten or getting wasted due to the lack of adequate storage, packaging and processing facilities and access to cold storage, especially for small-scale fruit vendors, is extremely limited. She informed that the fruit vendors of the scheduled caste population with low income will be selected from each village for the training program at the installed facility because the project was sanction by DST as part of their Scheduled Caste Sub Plan.
The vendors will also be trained in packaging methods for fruit preservation using the natural and synthetic packaging materials and the female fruit vendors will be trained for the preparation of jams puree etc., along with bottling, sealing and their storage using natural and synthetic preservatives, she added.
GITAM Institute of Technology Vice-Principal Prof.M.Venkateswara Rao hoped that the training programs and the processing methods for the preparation, bottling and sealing of jams and purees, and selling to the retailers will improve the living standards of SC fruit vendors.