According to reports, Planters’ Energy Network, a research organisation, and Bayer MaterialScience have joined hands to develop sustainable and efficient drying technologies to solve post-harvest problems.
In Tamil Nadu, Bayer has chosen eight places for installing solar dryers and sensitising farmers on the benefits of the technology.
These include Krishnagiri for mango, Thottiam for banana, Pollachi and Ottanchattiram for vegetables and Virudhunagar for chilli.
Isaac Emmanuel, Head – Business Development and Social Business Initiatives, Bayer MaterialScience, told Business Line that his company has commenced work at these sites through public-private-partnership (PPP).
“We want to drive home the point that sustainable agriculture is possible through solar drying and cold storage. We have completed installation in four sites. We expect to complete the rest by January.”
German major KFW DEG is co-financing this project.
To a query about return on investment, Emmanuel said that Bayer “will handhold the farmers and co-operative groups till September next year, before giving away the driers to farmers.”
Solar dryers help in drying the harvested agri-produce hygienically; and at low cost.
Products are protected from flies, pest, rain and dust. It is also not labour intensive. The quality of the product is better in terms of nutrients and colour, he said.
A cross-section of banana farmers said that they found the solar dryer installed in Thottiam belt very effective and useful.
“We are able to get a better price for the produce, ensure longer shelf-life and minimise wastage,” said a grower from Thottiam area.