With research and truly innovative technologies, Covestro was able to revive an entire community of 5000 farmers. Located in Tamil Nadu, Thottiyam is renowned for its banana farms but lacks ways to process its produce and protect it from the vagaries of climate and inclement market forces.
To effectively address the stated pain points, Covestro launched a Public Private Partnership project called SUSTAIN which is co-funded by KFW-DEG (the German Development Bank) and Covestro. It identified such communities and went on to offer simple yet innovative technologies such as farm-level solar dryers and cold storages, to help create opportunities by allowing the farmers to preserve their produce.
The Green House Solar Dryer was invented by Prof. J Serm from Silpakorn University, Bangkok, Thailand which uses Covestro’s polycarbonate sheet ‘Makrolon®’. It became an instant success in Thailand with almost 400 units being within a short span of 4 years. Green House Dryer dries various products including fruits, vegetables etc. in a hygienic manner, allowing the farming communities to open new revenue streams. Inclusive Business team of Covestro brought this sustainable technology to India through this project.
Two years down the line from when the project first started, the farmers were able to increase their revenue, in addition to achieving a positive shelf-life as significant amount of Banana was getting wasted due to the lack of processing and infrastructure. In short, this dried banana now serves as mid-day meals, snacks and more, providing the required nutrition which was all easily achieved due to the entrepreneurial attitude of the farmers.