Food processing

    Kerala has always been a ‘Leader State’ in food processing. A State with food processing sector forming a backbone towards making major contributions to food exports from the country ever since the time of independence. Banana, cultivated in 0.57 lakhs ha with a production of 4.89 lakh MTs, is a crop for which Kerala has earned reputation for its ‘Nendran’ variety.

    It is the home for 75% of India’s EU Certified Sea Food Units, 5 state-of-the-art Food Processing Parks including 2 Mega Food Parks and a new Spices Park coming up in Idukki. Though small in size, Kerala is a very fertile land with a diverse range of crops providing numerous opportunities for value addition.


    Coconut

    Coconut is the most important cash crop, cultivated in 7.81 lakhs ha with a production of 5384 million nuts. Traditional processing sector of coconut involved copra and coconut oil. Value addition in the form of packed tender coconut water, virgin coconut oil and desiccated coconut powder have become a commercial reality. The scope for generating new innovative products from coconut like coconut jiggery, palm sugar, beverages mixed with coconut, coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut jam, coconut chips, coconut jelly and coconut vinegar are very bright. Neera is a recently promoted product from this sector.


    Banana

    Banana, cultivated in 0.57 lakhs ha with a production of 4.89 lakh MTs, is a crop for which Kerala has earned reputation for its ‘Nendran’ variety. The processing of banana is restricted to primary processing in the form of chips. However substantial quantity is being exported in the fresh form. Banana milk shake powder, banana based baby food and banana pulp are some of the potential food processing opportunities.


    Jackfruit

    Jackfruit, cultivated in 0.92 lakhs ha with a production of 281 million numbers, is used in a limited manner in terms of any value addition. There is a good potential for developing a number of products from jackfruit.


    Pineapple

    Pineapple, cultivated in 0.08 lakhs ha with a production of 0.66 lakh MTs, produced in the State is the main source of fruit in the fresh markets for Southern India. However, there is only limited value addition of pineapples with few units dealing with canning of pineapple and aseptic packing of juice concentrates.


    Mango

    Mango, cultivated in 0.79 lakhs ha with a production of 4.20 lakh MTs, is mostly consumed in fresh market as well as for primary processing in the form of pickles. There is limited processing of Papaya, cultivated in 0.20 lakhs ha with a production of 1.16 lakh MTs, in Kerala. Papaya pulp, tutti-frutti, and papain, an enzyme from Papaya, have commercial potential. Tapioca, cultivated in 0.68 lakhs ha with a production of 25.30 lakh MTs, is another food crop of Kerala produced in substantial quantities. Value addition or processing of tapioca in the State is undertaken in a limited way in the form of flavoured chips. A number of products from tuber crops including tapioca like tapioca rava, tapioca porridge and extruded snacks from tapioca are potential opportunities.


    Pepper

    Pepper is a crop in which Kerala enjoys near monopoly in terms of area of cultivation and production. Pepper is cultivated in 0.85 lakhs ha with production is 0.34 lakh MT. Pepper is part of the well-established food processing sector in Kerala making significant contributions to exports.


    Ginger

    Ginger is another important produce from the State cultivated in 0.05 lakhs ha with a production of 0.20 lakh MTs (cured form). Value added products like ginger paste, ginger candies, ginger based fruit cocktails/beverages, and ginger beer and ginger marmalade are some of the potential opportunities. Cardamom, also called as ‘Queen of Spices’, is another important spice crop cultivated in Kerala with the cultivation being in 0.39 lakhs ha and a production of 0.17 lakh MTs.


    Cardamom

    Cardamom is part of the well-established spice processing sector in Kerala catering mostly to exports. Turmeric, cultivated in 0.02 lakhs ha with a production of 0.06 lakh MTs, is also a part of the well-established export based spice processing sector from Kerala.


    Cashew

    Cashew is another commercially important crop, cultivated in 0.41 lakhs ha with a production of 0.28 lakh MTs, having a huge concentration of processing units around Kollam. The sector has grown to such an extent that raw materials are being imported from abroad as the raw materials available in the State is insufficient to meet the needs of the processing sector.


    Coffee

    Coffee, cultivated in 0.85 lakhs ha with a production of 0.63 lakh MTs, and Tea, cultivated in 0.30 lakhs ha with a production of 0.62 lakh MTs, are two produces with substantial exports from the State.


    Meat, Fish, Eggs & Milk

    It is estimated that Kerala produces 4.69 lakh tons of meat. However the meat production in the State is not sufficient to meet the needs of the State. According to the report of the MOFPI, Kerala has the highest per capita consumption of meat in India. However, the value addition of the meat in the State is very meagre despite being the leading consumer. There are very few units involved in meat value addition activities in Kerala. The prospects of meat processing are very high. The absence of licensed meat butchering and abattoirs in Kerala also underlines the importance of promoting large value addition units in meat processing with in-house butchering and waste-rendering facilities. Chilled and frozen meat products, ready-to-eat meat products like cutlets, sausages, soups, meat masala powders and pickles are some of the potential food processing opportunities. It is estimated that Kerala produces 6.73 lakh tons of fish including 4.84 lakh tons of marine fishes and 1.89 lakh tons of inland fishes. Fish is part of the well-established export sector of the State. There is no value addition for fish for the domestic market, which also holds lot of prospects for future development. Production of milk in Kerala is estimated to be 6622 lakh litres. However, the milk produced in the State is not sufficient to meet the needs of the State and the shortfall is met by importing milk from neighbouring states. Egg production is 2442 million numbers in Kerala. There is limited value addition of eggs in Kerala. As consumption of egg is high in the State, there are good prospects for products like egg powder.


    Spices

    Export of Spices from Kerala was 100,076 MT valued at INR 3905.18 crores in 2015-16


    The export of spices from Kerala through Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram ports rose to 95,45.86 MT valued at INR 4,152.96 crores in 2017-18 as against 84,418.84 MT valued at INR 4,271.20 crores recording an increase of 13.07 per cent in volume and a decline of 2.77 per cent in value due to decrease in prices of spices.

    The share of Kerala in Indian export of spices and spices products recorded a slightly fluctuating trend in the last several years. It was 9.96 per cent in 2013-14, slightly declined to 9.12 per cent in 2014-15, went up to 11.87 in 2015-16, declined to 8.91 per cent in 2016-17 and rose to 9.29 per cent in 2017-18 in terms of quantity.


    The State already has a robust industrial infrastructure with five fully functional Food Parks exclusively for Food Processing sector

    • 1) KINFRA Food Processing Park at Kakkancherry in Malappuram District
    • 2) The Food Zone in KINFRA Small Industries Park at Mazhuvannoor in Ernakulum District
    • 3) KINFRA Food at Adoor in Pathanamthitta District
    • 4) Seafood Park India Ltd at Aroor in Alappuzha District
    • 5) Exclusive Special Economic Zone (Agro Based Food Processing) at Kakkancherry, in Malappuram District

    These 5 Food Parks have been set up by Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (KINFRA). Additionally, two new Mega Food Park one by KINFRA at Palakkad and the other by KSIDC at Chertala will become operational shortly.

Mahabali