Thottiam Banana Producer Group is one the primary producer of banana fruits in an area of about 400 acres in Thottiam Panchayat in Tiruchirappalli District of Tamil Nadu. Thirteen Banana growers jointly started a partnership company with their investment in the year 2014. The member of the group comprises of small and medium farmers, tenancy holders with an average landholding of less than one-hectare wetland that is irrigated by the Cauvery river distributory canals. The higher yield of bananas and lower demand in the market reduced the price realization for the produce, and the farmers were forced to sell with the distress. Besides, the perishing nature of the fruit does not permit storage and the high volume of arrivals during the season brings down the selling price level eventually. Hence they found the scope for solar dried bananas a vast and lucrative opportunity.

Taking cue of the commercial opportunities of this project, the government of Tamil Nadu announced 100 solar dehydration units with a 50 percent subsidy to all the commodity grower groups to enter business ventures in different clusters. They have scaled up the capacity of the Thottiam project to an extent of processing 12,000 fruits per batch (5 batch cycles per month on an average) to roll out 1.2 MT of dry fruit a month.

The group opines that taking up the value addition of traditional banana varieties like Poovan and Karpuravalli can bring about a new dawn of dry fruit making that is likely to impress and create a change in the food habits of the general public; especially the youth. For them, the banana dry fruit consumption can become a natural instant energy snack.

The group has a marketing tie-up with Tamil Nadu Banana Producer Company and to have a wide customer base. They established the brand –YUMMY BANANA from Madhur Fruits. The Project commenced its commercial production by July 2014 with an investment of Rs. 35 lakhs and has a turnover of Rs.15 lakhs per year besides employing twelve farm women.

Thottiam Banana Producer Group’s main objectives are to improve rural employment, empowering communities, and tackling various constraints in the food value chain and to eliminate poor farming practices, inefficient processing, and establish a strong storage and supply chain infrastructure.

Thottiam Banana Producers Group is engaged in producing and marketing solar-dried banana fig [dried/dehydrated banana] also received the ‘Best Entrepreneur Award: 2014’ from ICAR-National Research Centre for Banana, Trichy, on 21st August 2014 for its contribution to the society and food processing industry as well.

Commercialized products of Madhur Fruits (Solar dried banana fig)

[Content shared by ICAR – National Research Centre for Banana, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu]