Value addition always lends more value for any crop that is marketed. It can be the common rice or wheat, or even the most ignored millet like ragi,when it is converted into some sort of value-based product like ready-to-mix dough in powder form, it brings in better revenue than as mere produce. If this is the case for food grains, fruit crops value-based additions are more important since they offer possibilities of making new products from it. For a rural economy to turn prosperous, farmers have to concentrate on two areas. First, they have to take on the job of marketing and sell their produce instead of depending on some unknown face to sell it, and secondly, they should convert their raw produce into some value-added product to bring in more revenue.
The externalities go beyond the farm gate. Food processing invariably creates employment opportunities for the local population. The local economy also remains within the village and therefore enhances the incomes of farmers and creates a surplus for export. Take the example of the jackfruit. One finds this large fruit in many places across southern India. The fruit is available in large quantities during season and can be effectively processed into many value-added products Udupi district is the main belt for jackfruit cultivation. However, value addition aspect has traditionally been neglected. To change things in his area, Vasanth Nayak, a progressive farmer from Byrampalli village of Udupi, has taken bold and innovative steps towards creating further value out of the fruit. In addition to growing his own jack trees, Nayak also purchases tons of fruits from different jack growers in Udupi and neighbouring districts. Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Udupi located at Brahmavar motivated him to go in for value addition and has given some technical ideas for his entrepreneurship. “Nayak manufactures about 10-12 lakhs papadas in a year and is able to get a net income of about Rs. 5-6 lakh. In addition he makes jack chips based on demand, which gives him an additional income of Rs.7-8 lakh annually” says Jayalaxmi Narayan Hegde, programme coordinator. The entrepreneur has devised some machinery locally for grinding, boiling, frying, etc. There is a huge demand for his produce in the market due to its taste and quality. Nayak, who has only studied up to class 10, initially invested a lakh of rupees as capital for this enterprise and now the unit has expanded, generating several lakh a year. He has taken on board 42 young workers, both male and female. Unlike other agro- based enterprises, he doesn’t close his unit after the jackfruit season. The work goes on throughout the year.