Tribal groups to be trained to make, market premium infusion-drink blends

Infusion is the process of extracting chemical compounds or flavours from plant material in a solvent such as water. Instead of sunlight, dehydrating machines are used.
Guava leaf dried drink mix
Guava leaf dried drink mixPhoto | Express

KOCHI: Dried guava leaf powder, dried passion fruit flower, dried hibiscus flower, and dried passion fruit pulp. These are some of the six infusion drink concoctions that a Kanthalloor-based company has received a licence to market across the country.

What’s significant is that tribal communities based in the hills of Kanthalloor will be trained in preparing and selling these premium products in a move to benefit them financially. The move is also expected to promote neglected and under-utilised plant species of the region. “The initiative is aimed at achieving nutrition security. The World Health Organization (WHO) has a programme named ‘Solution for Insecurity of Nutrients’. It has declared 2019-28 as the ‘nutrient-security decade’. As part of this, we received the central licence for six products,” said M M Abbas, a member of the advisory board of Organic Kerala Charitable Trust, a non-profit.

The products are manufactured by Tropical Evergreen Herbals, Kanthalloor, as an initiative of Rural Agriculture Innovation Study Centre, Kanthalloor.

Abbas said the plan is to train the tribal communities of Kanthalloor in preparing these premium products and packing them in glass bottles. “Raw materials such as guava leaves and chembarathi flower (hibiscus) are available abundantly in Kanthalloor. This will provide the communities a source of income as these products are in great demand in premium outlets,” said Abbas, adding that infusion drinks are gaining popularity in markets such as the US and Germany.

Another product set to hit the market is dried plums. “We are carrying out trials,” said Abbas.

Infusion is the process of extracting chemical compounds or flavours from plant material in a solvent such as water. Instead of sunlight, dehydrating machines are used.

Abbas said there is a big market for such products across the country. “As far as guava leaves are concerned, they are dried, dehydrated and powdered. Three grams are added to 200 ml boiled water, and after 15-30 minutes, it is ready for drinking. The drink is rich in micro-nutrients necessary for the body,” he said. While 80 grams of the guava leave product, which is sold in glass bottles, is priced at Rs 400, Abbas said a similar product in the international market costs around Rs 1,000 for 100 grams.

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