Pune: BioFreshPack standing for 'Bio based Fresh Food Packaging', a Indo-UK collaborative project was launched at MIT-World Peace University (MIT-WPU) on Thursday.
It was launched by Vishwanath Karad, founder President of MIT-WPU. The aim was to provide solution to current issue of large wastage of agriculture produced world-wide. In India alone, it is estimated that one lakh crore rupees are lost due to waste of agro product.
“More than 45 percent of the vegetables and fruits are lost before it reaches the actual consumer. Such a colossal loss cannot be borne by our country with a hungry population. Prime Minister Modi has time and again referred to this problem and appealed to people at large to reduce this wastage. It may be pointed out that the wastage of agriculture output has side-effects such as 25 per cent of fresh water used for growing food is lost, while 45 per cent of deforested land goes waste and 150 million barrels of oil used to produce the food is ultimately wasted,” said S Radhakrishnan, Director Research and Development of MIT WPU.
He added, “A number of solutions have been provided to increase the life of fresh agriculture product, one of them being proper packaging. Currently, the urban population needs fresh fruits and vegetables transported and delivered from the farms. Most of these products are packed in plastic films. However, these packaging films are not very effective in retaining freshness and increasing shelf life.”
“Further, all these types of films are not biodegradable or eco-friendly. Thus, when the packed vegetables and fruits become putrid and thrown in the garbage, plastic package goes along with it causing environmental pollution,” Radhakrishnan said.
The Indo-UK Collaborative Project comprises five members from Indian team and five from UK team. The Indian team led by S Radhakrishnan has Punjab Agriculture University, Manbras Plastronics in Pune, Balson Industries in Pune and Quality Starch Industries in Tamil Nadu as participants.
This project has been funded by Innovate UK and Department of Biotechnology of Government of India under the Newton Fund-UK-India Research and Innovation Bridges Programme. The total outlay for this project is Rs 4.89 crore from India and Rs 45 crore from UK.
The final product targeted is biodegradable plastic film which can be used for packaging of fruits and vegetables with improved properties of preservation and long shelf-life.