Usage of Paddy straw as fuel boosting jaggery cottage industry in Faridkot, Punjab
Faridkot, Dec 29 (KNN) The usage of paddy straw as a fuel is turning out to be beneficial for jaggery making units in Faridkot district of Punjab and more and more farmers are shifting on to it, according to a report in The Tribune.
The primary reason for this shift by the farmers is owing to the difficulty to use bagasse as a fuel during cold wave conditions due to the high-moisture content in it.
Since a lot of fuel is needed for boiling of sugarcane juice in jaggery units (kulhadas), farmers have switched over to the easily available paddy straw. After extracting sugarcane juice in a conventional crusher, it is filtered and boiled in a shallow iron pan and allowed to cool down.
Although Punjab imports a huge quantity of jaggery from Uttar Pradesh every year, local jaggery-making business witnessing a boost as farmers hardly use chemicals to clean the impurities.
“Due to indiscriminate use of chemicals in the making of jaggery, this coarse sweetener is now no more a much-loved inducement for connoisseurs of good food,” said Umendra Dutt, executive director, Kheti Virasat Misson, an organisation promoting organic agriculture and farm products.
“In their attempt to manufacture quality jaggery, some farmers have started growing organic sugarcane. Abandoning chemicals helps in preserving minerals and vitamins,” said Dutt.
Two decades ago, the jaggery cottage industry could be found in a cluster of every three-four villages.Once again, this cottage industry has witnessed a comeback in rural areas of Punjab. (KNN Bureau)