Innovative hermetic bags prove valuable to farmers

ST CORRESPONDENT
Tuesday, 3 October 2017

PUNE: The produce of farmers suffer a huge loss once it is sealed in gunny bags or plastic bags. At times, when the produce is in bulk, the farmers and traders usually preserve the stock and strive to maintain the commodity in perfect condition. However, since the traditional preservation methods and poor, storage techniques often fail to prevent wastage due to pests and diseases.

PUNE: The produce of farmers suffer a huge loss once it is sealed in gunny bags or plastic bags. At times, when the produce is in bulk, the farmers and traders usually preserve the stock and strive to maintain the commodity in perfect condition. However, since the traditional preservation methods and poor, storage techniques often fail to prevent wastage due to pests and diseases.

Panama Agriculture Private Ltd (Panama Foundation) has innovated ‘Save grain bag,’ also known as ‘Hermetic bag’, which is an air-tight bag that helps to preserve the produce for a longer period of time while the aroma of grains stays intact.

Sachin Gangal, who has done his Post Graduation in Plastic Engineering, innovated Hermetic bag in 2012, which has Ethylene Vinyl-Alcohol (EVOH) technology - a Japanese technology. Gangal said, “The main reason behind grains germinating is because the oxygen present in the air gets in contact with the dry pulses inside normal storage bags, and therefore the pulses get infested with pests. The Hermetic bag doesn’t allow the oxygen to get inside the bag, so the pulses stay fresh for longer period of time without getting germinated.”

Gangal was working on it since 1999 and for 24 months, the bag was tested. He approached farmers directly at agriculture exhibitions from October 2015 in various cities. Some bags were sold for free. ”We got a good response from the farmers and that is how we started commercialising it in India in April 2016. The 50 kg bag was sold for Rs 70 and 25 kg bag for Rs 50. Simultaneously, we approached cities in other countries including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Colombia and started commercialising it in February 2017. Furthermore, we are approaching Tanzania, Bangladesh and Ghana,” Gangal said.

In India, 2.22 lakh bags are sold to 18,000 farmers, 70,000 bags are sold in Nepal, and 4,000 in Kenya. “According to a test conducted by our team, if the turmeric is stored in the hermetic bag, it does not lose its colour while if it is stored in other bags, the colour fades away. The polymer used in these bags are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved,” Gangal added.

The hermetic bag has to be inserted inside a normal storage bag and then the grains have to be poured into it. The bag has to be tied tightly with the cable wire provided along with it so that the air does not get in contact with the dry pulses inside.

“Only dry pluses along with tea and coffee beans can be stored in these hermetic bags in dry places. Fruits and vegetables cannot be stored, as it creates a contrast effect. Until and unless there is no gas leak from any opening, the pulses inside the bag will be preserved for over a year without infestation,” Gangal explained.

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