Cold chain technology has been a game changer for Indian banana farmers. In 2018, the first Indian bananas were exported to Europe by ship, which marks a new era for the world’s banana giant.
Every third banana on the planet is produced in India. A third of this number, nine million tonnes, are produced within the state of Tamil Nadu. But, over the years, farmers of Tamil Nadu have witnessed a post-harvest loss of 30 per cent. The biggest problem is, however, that the bananas were wasted in a country in urgent need of food for 300 million people. In other deprived areas of the world, post-harvest losses are also a common issue, calling for smart solutions to minimise the waste.
The situation has taken a positive turn since Danfoss initiated a task force with the Confederation of Indian Industry to address the challenges of food loss – focusing on bananas. The task force identified three major blocks: lack of good agricultural practices at the pre-harvest stage, good post-harvest management and failure to connect with the market. 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.
Cold chain has been a game changer for Indian banana farmers. Their income has doubled and even tripled, while banana wastage has been brought down by almost 20%. And in 2018, the first Indian bananas were exported to Europe by ship, which marked a new era for the world’s banana giant.
“Previously, we did not know that we had to take care of the produce post-harvest as well. We were concentrating on producing more. Now we understand the use of post-harvest management techniques. This has enabled us to reduce losses as well as get better prices for our produce because of better quality. European markets were not known to us previously. However, this is only the beginning”.