India ranks in second place in the world production of fruits and vegetables but more than 30% to 45% of production are being wasted every year due to non-availability of processing facilities.
Drying is the only preservative method for long storage of fruits/vegerable products but mechanical drying needs fossil fuel and hence economically not viable. Open sun drying renders fruits/vegerable products into unhygienic products including a large wastage. Control drying is needed for long shelf life and solar drying offers low cost hygienic method.
PEN has introduced the technology of roof mounted solar air collector, which is connected to a re-circulation dryer of capacities varying from 250 Kg to 1000 Kg per batch. These units were tested in South India as well as in Ladakh. It also offers attractive employment opportunities for entrepreneur who could use this technology for producing value addition to fruits and vegetables like fruit rubber and dehydrated fruits and vegetables. A factory near kodaikanal processes using solar heat organically grown dehydrated cut fruits, which are very popular in Europe. Shyam Coperative in Ladakh operates a 400 kg capacity solar drying unit gets higher price for its finished products due to higher quality and appearance. Nearly 8 large units for drying fruits and vegetables are in usage in Ladakh region including one in Kargil. PEN also introduced fully solar fan operated dryer for fruits and vegetable of capacity 30 kg to 70 kg which are installed in many parts of the country.
Kuriniji Organic Fruit Processing Unit,
Batlagundu Sham Fruit & Vegetable Growers
Co-operative Marketing Society Ltd., Nimoo, Ladakh
The Fruit Grower co-operative marketing & Processing and society ltd, Kargil
Chief Horticulture Offfice, Leh, Ladhakh