Carpro Technologies has designed tested and deployed a novel solution for spice farmers, especially for growers of cardamom and turmeric. This is to dry 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. Carpro Technologies has been incubated at Science and Technology Entrepreneurial Park in Coimbatore in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
This newly developed product would help cardamom and turmeric growers in Kerala. During the harvest time, moisture content of the produce is high and it needs driers to dry the moisture content. The growers use firewood for this purpose, which turns out to be quite expensive and environmentally damaging.
One cardamom grower from Idukki district in Kerala said, “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.”
The newly designed machine 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.
Uthayakumar, the founders of the company said, “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”.
He also mentioned that they are also trying the same thing for 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.”