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Varappetty society exports chips, coconut oil to US, bags a spicy deal- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

KOCHI: At a time when farmers are forced to sell their produce at throwaway prices due to exploitation by middlemen and fluctuations in demand, a cooperative society is setting an example by exporting value-added products to foreign countries. The Varappetty Service Cooperative Society at Kothamangalam has started exporting products such as coconut oil, tapioca chips and banana fruit chips under the brand name Varappetty to the US, New Zealand, Australia and Kuwait.

Cooperation Minister V N Vasavan, who flagged off the first consignment of products on Saturday, said the initiative marked a new beginning towards the empowerment of farmers.“We have imported a dehydration plant from Malaysia to process fruits. The technology was sourced from the Kerala Agricultural University. The banana fruit is sliced, dehydrated and processed in organic coconut oil produced in our own unit. Another product is dried tapioca with masala, for which we sourced the recipe from abroad. We had sent consignments to the US and New Zealand and have already gained the customers’ trust. As they are satisfied with the quality, the importers have signed a 10-year contract with us,” society president M G Ramakrishnan told TNIE.

The society, which has 9,436 members, has decided to distribute 10,000 coconut saplings to members at a subsidised rate every year. It will also establish a processing unit to support farmers in distress. Two years ago, the society had rented a coconut oil extraction unit and begun production, after which it started to procure coconut, tapioca, banana and jackfruit from farmers. “We procured tapioca at the rate of Rs 15, when the market rate was just Rs 8,” said Ramakrishnan.

The society bought a 1.35-acre plot at Myloor near Varappetty and established the processing unit with an investment of Rs 3.5 crore. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) provided it with a loan of Rs 3 crore at a 4% interest rate. Nabard provides 3% subsidy on interest. Similarly, the Coconut Development Board also provided a subsidy of Rs 35 lakh, besides promising another Rs 25 lakh. 

Read More: Varappetty society exports chips, coconut oil to US, bags a spicy deal- The New Indian Express

2022-01-01 18:47:00

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