Following the announcement that the use of calcium carbide for ripening in India would become a punishable offence as of 2015, a small local company has developed an easy-to-use alternative for traders.
En-ripe, a small pouch which releases captured ethylene gas could be an effective replacement for the carcinogenic former option. Yungandhar Reddy developed the product and his subsequent firm, Heighten Innovative Solutions, alongside two other friends, Madhava Reddy and Shravan Reddy.
Currently, the trade uses ethylene-producing sachets imported from China as an alternative to carbide, as the market is short on ethylene chambers. En-Ripe sachets cost US$0.28 each and a single sachet can ripen a 20kg carton of fruit.
An Indian Institute of Horticultural Research report also found the product ripened fruit to the same level of quality as fruit ripened in ethylene chambers, according to The Hindu.
The powder utilises natural ingredients to capture ethylene under high pressure which is sealed into pouches. The pouches can then be punctured at either end to release the gas and ripen fruit. Madhava said the powder is so harmless it could even be eaten after use.