New Delhi (Sputnik): An Indian company, Carpro Technologies, has designed, tested and deployed a novel solution for spice farmers, especially growers of cardamom and turmeric, in the state of Kerala to dry their agricultural produce within a day or two of its harvesting in a way that retains its colour and flavour, while taking much less time and energy, reported The Hindu.
Carpro Technologies has been incubated at Science and Technology Entrepreneurial Park in Coimbatore in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
At the time of harvest, moisture content is high in cardamom, necessitating the use of dryers. Most growers use firewood for this purpose, which turns out to be quite expensive and environmentally damaging.
"It costs about Rs 800 to dry 1 quintal (100 kg) of cardamom. The challenge in cardamom drying is to remove moisture from the surface of the pod, its inner area and from its core in such a way that the colour of the crop is not affected", says one cardamom grower from Idukki district in Kerala.
The newly designed machine from Carpro uses "low heat dehumidified dry air technology with a unique airflow system" and runs on electricity. It has multiple chambers that remove moisture in two stages. It can dry 500 kg of cardamom in 14 to 18 hours, compared to 20 to 22 hours drying time required when using firewood dryers.
The media report quoted one of the founders of the company, Uthayakumar, as saying, "Colour is important for cardamom. We conducted 25 trials at several plantations in Idukki and took the feedback from the planters. It was successful as the properties were retained and the weight did not reduce much even as the moisture content reduced".
Carpro is also working towards helping turmeric producers to dry turmeric in a cost-and-time efficient manner. It is experimenting with using solar energy to further reduce costs. "We will try using solar energy and reducing the time and energy consumed during the trials for turmeric", Uthayakumar informed.
Meanwhile, an agricultural expert says that innovations in Indian agricultural practices lack proper exposure and hence it has resulted in the shunted utilisation of the technology.
"Indian agricultural innovations rarely find popular commercial usage because these innovators rarely find a proper platform to attract investment and find proper use of their technology for larger good use. The use of new media in agricultural technological publicity can be a great help to overcome this bottleneck", Vijay Sardana, an agri-market expert, told Sputnik.