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Pulse Processing

Providing value addition to the agricultural produce is an important factor to usher in

rural prosperity. Post harvest processing either primary or final helps in reducing the losses and
adds value to the produce. Processing helps in conservation of the produce and by-products from
qualitative and quantitative damages, enables value addition to bring additional income and
employment generation to the farmers through farm produce.
Efforts are being made to diversify the agriculture in Punjab, mainly due to the depleting
water table and pollution caused by the wheat paddy rotation. Plans have been initiated to cut
down the area under paddy crop and raise the area under cultivation of maize, pulses and cotton.
At present, the area under pulses is 98 thousand hectares with a total production of about 80
thousand metric tons (Source: Department of Agriculture, Punjab). Out of the total area under
pulses, major part is under the summer moong. Other pulses include desi gram, field pea, mash
As far as marketing of pulses is concerned, there is no such minimum support price as in case
of wheat and paddy. Although there is spurt in prices of pulses, farmers seldom get this benefit.
Here comes the need of processing of pulses. Post harvest operations may include cleaning,
grading and packaging and milling (dehusking, splitting of pulses etc.). Generally the farmer
ignores these operations and sells the produce directly in the market, depriving him/ her benefits
of value addition. Sometimes these operations are done by labour or farm women using the
improper equipments resulting in the poor end product and lot of drudgery. There is a need to
strengthen the farm level primary and secondary processing of pulses. The machinery for such
processing operations includes cleaner/grader, specific gravity separators, destoners and pulse
mills. As the pulse milling industry as almost non existent in Punjab, there is a very good scope
for setting up of such industry.
Primary processing
The cultivation of summer moong beans is popular among the farmers after wheat and
paddy. The area under this crop is increasing continuously. The income of the moon growers can
be enhanced if the primary processing is done at the farm itself. The primary processing
operations include cleaning, grading, drying and packaging.
After harvesting, the moong beans should be dried on the pucca floor or on black polythene sheet
in thin layer. Care should be taken that in the evening, the grains should be collected on the sheet
and on the next day; it should be again spread for drying. Drying should be continued till the
moisture content reaches to 10-11%.
Cleaning and grading
It is very important to remove all the impurities from dried moong beans otherwise there are
chances of spoilage of grains during storage. The light undesirable particles such as dust, straw,
leaves etc. can be removed with a cleaner attached with fan or with a manual siever (Chhajj).
Similarly broken and shriveled grains can be separated with sieves or with a mechanical cleaner
cum grader available in the market. This grader cost about Rs. 35000/- and can clean and grade
125 kg/ hr. This machine can be easily managed by the farmer himself.
Moong beans should be stored in air tight metal or plastic bins. The bins should be properly
cleaned before using. Pulses are mainly damaged by dhora during storage. There is a very simple
technique to avoid this loss. For this, only properly cleaned and dried grains should be stored.
The bin should not be filled completely. A 6-7 cm layer of dried sand or ash should be put over

the grains. Then the bin should be made completely air tight. With this technique, the produce
can be stored for a longer duration without using any chemical or insecticide. This requires little
investment and moisture content of the grains also does not rise.
Packaging and marketing
By using the above method, stored moong beans should be taken out only when there is
favourable price. For a further value addition, produce can be packaged in one kg polythene
bags. For packaging, heat sealing machines available in the market can be used. Such packaged
produce can be directly sold to the consumers, retailers or wholesalers. This helps in increasing
the income of the farmers.
Secondary Processing
Secondary processing or milling of pulses means dehusking and splitting of graded
pulses. Pulses are usually converted into Dhal by dehusking and splitting. Both dry and wet
milling processes are employed. By and large carborundum emery rollers are used for dehusking
and burr grinders for splitting. Basic processes in dhal milling are cleaning, dehusking, splitting,
separation and bagging. Major variation is involved with dehusking process only. Moong is
difficult to dehusk due to which repeated operations by dehusking rollers are required. Rewetting
and drying is done to loosen portions of husk sticking after repeated rolling. The removal of the
outer husk and splitting the grain into two equal halves is known as milling of pulses. To
facilitate dehusking and splitting of pulses alternate wetting and drying method is used. In India
milling methods produce dehusked split pulses. Loosening of husk by conditioning is insufficient
in traditional methods. To obtain complete dehusking of the grains a large number of abrasive
force is applied in this case as a result high losses occur in the form of brokens and powder. Yield
of split & pulses in traditional mills are only 65 to 75% due to the above losses compared to 82
to 85% potential yield.
Technical knowledge is required for secondary milling of pulses. Pretreatments with
water and oil are very important for getting the maximum yield of dal. Modern dal mills
developed by CFTRi, Mysore, IIPR, Kanpur etc. are available with a cost of up to Rs. 1,50,000/(Figure).

Figure: Primary and secondary processing of pulses