IIT Mandi Invents Infusion Technology to Help Farmers
The Indian Institute of Technology Mandi has developed a herbal infusion technology that can work as a sustainable means of income for local farmers in the mid-Himalayan area.
Researchers at the Botanical Garden and Medicinal Plant Laboratory of the Institute have analyzed many herbs that grow in the mid-Himalayan region around the villages surrounding IIT Mandi. Their purpose was to develop value-added products in the form of herbal infusions that are primarily rich in antioxidants.
The technology is ready for licencing for industries that are ready to work with EWOK, a rural incubator at IIT Mandi with a view to uplifting the farmers in the Kamand Valley.
“Till now, the team has successfully formulated nine different herbal infusions with constituents such as tulsi, mint, rose, amla, turmeric, rhododendron and lemongrass,” said Shyam K Masakapalli, an Associate Professor with IIT Mandi.
“The goal is to create 100 Kamand Valley Infusion formulations and establish a farmer-academia-industry-NGO network for buy-back and sustainable market linkages. Vacuum drying process is optimized for each herb for maintaining quality,” he added.
The incubator has received funding from NABARD to set up three Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs).
“One FPC is mainly focusing on aromatic and medicinal plant farming, value-addition and market linkages. The lab is training local farmers in collaboration with EWOK with regards to farming of herbals, processing, packaging and marketing of the infusions.
“It is anticipated that this FPC will support about 200 farmers within the next few years,” Masakapalli said.