Every third banana on the planet is produced in India. 9 million tons are produced within the state of Tamil Nadu, but over the years farmers of Tamil Nadu have witnessed a post-harvest loss of 30%. A huge problem which the Danish company Danfoss and the Confederation of Indian Industry decided to fix together. Danfoss has worked on two interventions based on the company’s global expertise in cooling. First, pre-cooling the newly harvested bananas to extend the shelf life and quality of the bananas. Second, ripening chambers have resulted in better efficiencies and better control. “We see cold chain as a game changer. The two interventions have resulted in three times higher value for the farmers and a wastage reduction of nearly 20%” says Ravi Purushothaman, President of Danfoss India.
Director of the National Research Center for Bananas, driven by the Indian Government, Dr S. Uma, explains that cold chain is ultimately about giving the millions of farmers control over their crops: “India is a vast country and even sending bananas from the south to the north becomes equivalent to exportation – it is a huge process. So here, cold chain has a major impact. Previously, we were concentrating on producing more. Now we understand the use of post-harvest management techniques”
A Game Changer
The new technology has been a game changer for banana farmer Mr. Sivamani from Tamil Nadu: “Ten years ago, we had 10 employees. Today, 200 families are dependent on this farm. New technologies like cold chain and reefer containers have made it possible for us to extend the quality and shelf life of the bananas, and we have exported the first bananas to Europe. My dream is that soon we will export to the whole world.”