TODAY -

Empowering hill communities in Manipur via cassava / U-Mangra chips

Dr Angam Raleng *



Introduction

In Manipur, cassava is widely grown by farmers in a number of districts. Cassava farming is facilitated by the State's ideal agroclimatic conditions. Cassava is recognized for its versatility to many types of soil, and farmers in Manipur plant the crop using stem cuttings.

Due to its adaptability, cassava is a valuable crop in Manipur for both commercial and subsistence farming, helping to provide cash for the local community and ensure food security.

Manipur is an excellent place to cultivate cassava, especially in the hills. It may thrive in semi-arid regions with little water requirements. It's possible that people in Manipur once consumed cassava when there wasn't enough grain. It is one of Manipur's principal tuber crops, and the soil in the hills is especially conducive to growing it.

While cassava comes in a variety of types, farmers in the hill district are beginning to choose CAU Umangra. Umangra, in contrast to conventional cassava, is larger, more flavourful, and simpler to grow. Compared to conventional cassava, they have a larger yield and are produced closer to the plant, thus they require less space when planted.

This comprehensive article outlines a strategic initiative to empower hill communities in Manipur through the production and promotion of Cassava/U-Mangra chips as a value-added product. By leveraging the abundant cassava resources in the hilly regions of Manipur, this article also aims to generate additional income, support skill development, and foster entrepreneurship among the local population.

Through collaborative efforts involving Government agencies, NGOs, and community stakeholders, the proposed intervention seeks to create a sustainable economic ecosystem that enhances livelihoods and contributes to the overall development of Manipur's hill regions.

Rationale for Cassava Chips Production

Explanation of the value-added benefits of cassava chips, including extended shelf life, market demand, and higher profit margins compared to raw cassava. Analysis of market trends and consumer preferences, indicating a growing demand for snack foods and processed products in Manipur and neighbouring regions.

Strategies for Implementation

a. Capacity Building and Training: Establishment of training programs to enhance farming techniques, post-harvest handling, and cassava processing skills among hill farmers and entrepreneurs. Collaboration with agricultural extension services, research institutions, and industry experts to deliver comprehensive training modules tailored to local needs.

b. Infrastructure Development: Investment in processing facilities, storage units, and transportation networks to support the efficient production and distribution of cassava chips. Utilization of existing community centers or establishment of processing cooperatives to promote collective ownership and resource sharing.

c. Market Access and Promotion: Development of branding strategies and marketing campaigns to position Manipur's cassava chips as a premium product in regional and National markets. Participation in trade fairs, food festivals, and promotional events to showcase the quality and diversity of cassava chip offerings from Manipur's hill regions.

d. Policy Support and Institutional Coordination: Advocacy for supportive policies and regulatory frameworks that facilitate cassava value chain development, including incen- tives for Agro-processing enterprises and small-scale farmers. Collaboration with Government agencies, NGOs, and private sector partners to streamline coordination, resource allocation, and monitoring of project activities.

Expected Outcomes and Impact

Economic Empowerment: Increased income opportunities for hill farmers and entrepreneurs through cassava chip production, leading to poverty alleviation and improved livelihoods.

Skill Enhancement: Enhanced technical skills, entrepreneurship capabilities, and market orientation among hill communities, contributing to human capital development and employment generation.

Sustainable Development: Strengthened resi- lience of hill ecosystems and communities through sustainable agricultural practices, value addition, and market diversification.

Cassava chips production

First, the cassava roots were properly cleaned under flowing tap water to remove adhering dirt, soil, and undesirable materials. The outer thick skins were peeled out manually with the help of knife or it can be easily peeled off with hands. Peeled cassava roots were thoroughly washed again with clean water. The peeled cassava roots were then sliced in slicing machine with a thickness of 1-3 mm.

The cassava slices were then blanched in a hot water at a temperature under boiling point for 3-5 minutes to make slices soft and to inactivate the enzymes. It is also done to prevent unwanted color changes. After blanching the slices were transferred into a stainless-steel container filled with chilled water for around 2-5 minutes to stop the process of heat treatment. After cooling excess water were drained out.

Blanched cassava slices were then spread on muslin cloth one by one and kept under the fan to remove the surface moisture from the slices. They are then dried till desired moisture is removed from theslices. After drying, slices were fried using deep fryer in Palmolein oil at 160-180C for 2-4 minutes.

The fried casava chips were then taken out from the deep fryer and kept on the tissue paper to absorb the excess oil. Finally, the cassava chips were season with spices, salt etc. and packed in suitable packaging material like polypropylene, aluminum coated pouches etc.

Conclusion and Way Forward

Emphasis on the transformative potential of cassava chips production in driving economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability in Manipur's hilly regions.Call for continued collaboration, investment, and innovation to realize the full potential of cassava value chain development as a catalyst for holistic development and empowerment in Manipur.


For details contact: -
Public Relations& Media Management Cell,
CAU, Imphal.
Email: [email protected]


* Dr Angam Raleng wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is from
College of Agricultural Engineering & Post Harvest Technology,
(Central Agricultural University, Imphal),
Ranipool, Gangtok, Sikkim -737135.
This article was webcasted on May 09 2024.



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