Dr.(Mrs.) Neelima Garg
Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow
India has become one of the largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world producing approximately 30 million tonnes of fruits and 60 million tonnes of vegetables annually. In recent years, there has been a shift from conventional farming of food grains to horticulture which include fruits, vegetables, ornamental crops, medicinal and aromatic plants, spices, plantation crops which include coconut, cashew nuts and cocoa and allied activities . With a huge population of 1.08 billion and population growth of about 1.6 % per annum, India is a large and growing market for food products. Its 350 million strong urban middle class with its changing food habits poses a huge market for agricultural products and processed food, which accounts for 32 per cent of the total food market. It accounts for US$ 29.4 billion, in a total estimated market of US$ 91.66 billion. The food processing industry is one of the largest industries in India. it is ranked fifth in terms of production, consumption, export and expected growth. According to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) the food-processing sector has the potential of attracting US$ 33 billion of investment in 10 years and generate employment of 9 million person-days. As a result there is a remarkable push in horticultural commodity processing sector .The installed capacity of fruits and vegetables processing industry has increased from 1.1 million tonnes in January 1993 to 2.1 million tonnes in 2006. The processing of fruits and vegetables is estimated to be around 2.2% of the total production in the country. The major processed items in the fruit and vegetable segment are fruit pulps and juices, fruit based ready-to-serve beverages, canned fruits and vegetables, jams, squashes, pickles, chutneys and dehydrated vegetables. Some recent products introduced in this segment include vegetable curries in retortable pouches, canned mushroom and mushroom products, dried fruits and vegetables and fruit juice concentrates. The fruits and vegetable processing industry is highly decentralized, and a large number of units are in the cottage, household and small-scale sector, having small capacities of up to 250 tonnes per annum. Since 2000, the food processing industry has seen significant growth in ready-to-serve beverages, fruit juices and pulps, dehydrated and frozen fruits and vegetable products, pickles, processed mushrooms and curried vegetables, and units engaged in these segments are export oriented.
However, processing of horticultural commodities generates two types of waste - a solid waste of peel/skin, seeds, stones etc -a liquid waste of juice and wash waters. In some fruits the discarded portion can be very high (e.g. mango 30-50%, banana 20%, pineapple 40-50% and orange 30-50%). These wastes are rich in organic constituents like, cellulose, starch pectin vitamins, minerals etc and posed serious health hazard problems due to high biological oxygen demand (BOD). Proper regulation of this waste is both a regulatory requirement as well as economic necessity. The composition of waste sugggest enormous potential for use as substrate for value added product. One way of managing the situation is to reduce the loss and the other is to utilize the available material for the production of value added products. The utilization of waste will not only economizes the cost of finished products but also reduce the pollution level. The waste could be used for the production of fertilizers, fuel and other value added products through processing, extraction, hydrolysis or fermentation and as animal feed as detailed below: Potential value products from fruits and vegetable waste
A number of beverages such as cider, beer, wine and brandy, and vinegar can be obtained from the fermentation of fruit wastes. Apple pomace has...