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Tamil Nadu Mango farmers install greenhouse solar dryers adapting Covestro’s technology in pursuit of generating additional revenues

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The site at Krishnagiri installed with the greenhouse solar dryers.
The site at Krishnagiri installed with the greenhouse solar dryers.

Covestro, one of the world’s largest polymer companies, along with Vivunes, an organisation focused on green energy, has successfully helped an entire community of 70 farmers in Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri to find an additional source of revenue. The mango farming community have acquired solar dryers which will empower them to tap demand for dry resins in both domestic and international markets.

India’s ranking in terms of food security is not on par with its status of being one of the biggest producers of vegetables. According to a research study, it produces 220 million tonnes of vegetables and fruits in a year, but about 30% of the production never reaches the table and the main reason for this waste is a lack of storage infrastructure, particularly at harvest-time. To support the farmers, Covestro along with Vivunes recently executed a project for drying of multi-fruit bars which consist of six units of greenhouse solar dryers for MCI Agro Industries, Krishnagiri.

Covestro has also helped in establishing a fruit park, thus helping the farmer community in Krishnagiri to reduce wastage of fruits, especially mango due to weak demand or weather-related delays. Many food preservation techniques like cold storage, drying, etc. have been evolved over the years to tackle the losses. The major constraint is that almost all the technologies utilise fossil fuel resources, which are depleting very fast, and wise use of these precious resources are preferred for long-term energy sustainability.

“Weather, weak demands, logistical issues, long credit periods and low shelf-life have been key issues plaguing the farming community for long. Despite a good harvest, we have seen our produce facing a risk of spoilage. Therefore, we wanted to use dryers which will not just help us sell the fruit bars and fruits in market, but also provide an entrepreneurial opportunity for the women of our community,” said Sathiya Moorthy, one of the farmers.

Commenting on the initiative, Richard Northcote, chief sustainability officer, Covestro AG, said, “India is a fast growing country and has the second largest population, with agriculture being the source of income for nearly 60% of the total population. Still, post-harvest storage loss is a major difficulty that needs to be addressed meticulously. Food preservation methods such as solar drying help in reducing food insecurity among farmer communities and will help in boosting the economy by supporting them with an additional revenue source.”

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May 2019
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