How Tan90 is increasing farmer ROI with affordable cold storage solutions

With portable cold storage solutions that simplify the transportation of temperature-controlled products from farm to fork, Chennai-based thermal management solutions provider Tan90 has increased the income of farmers.

Tan90, the brainchild of three Indian Institute of Technology- Madras PhD students Soumalya Mukherjee, Rajani Kant Rai, and Shiv Sharma, is enabling farmers to increase their profits with affordable cold storage solutions that simplify the transportation of temperature-controlled products. While large retailers have access to centralised cold storage as well as transport, smaller retailers and farmers have to overcome challenges like lack of adequate infrastructure and power cuts.

Increasing farmer income

Tan90’s portable cold storage solutions – Box90, P90, Bag90, and Evap90 – are being used by farmers, fishermen, and flower vendors. Since flowers are high value products and highly perishable, harvesting of flowers is done thrice a day to maintain their freshness. This increases the labour cost as well. With cold storages, farmers are now harvesting once a day and storing their produce in cold storage boxes, thereby reducing daily operational costs by a third.

Bag 90, Box 90, EVAP90

Tan90’s consortium partners, Greenbliss Agro and DbyT Dynamics, are working to provide end-to-end cold storage solutions to marginal farmers. Farmers are seeing a return on their investment within six months when roses are harvested and three months, when jasmine is harvested.

The pandemic-induced lockdown led to a sudden increase in the demand for fresh greens at the consumers’ doorstep. DbyT Dynamics also helped in fulfilling the urgent requirement by deploying electric two-wheelers. This not only increased the awareness of the program among gated societies in Hyderabad but also helped farmers with price realisations during the early days of lockdown.

“Through the Krishi Mangal programme, we could reach out to approximately 5,000 farmers, increase their income by more than 16 percent, create 81 jobs, and work with 21 FPOs. We received support even in terms of marketing efforts and this enabled us to reach out to more clients, primarily for the agritech sector,” shares Soumalya.

Major focus was placed not only on setting up infrastructure, but also on providing support with market linkages. Electric vehicles are further increasing the green approach of the Krishi Mangal program. Special attention was paid to creating the cold storage infrastructure with a low carbon footprint.

The whole idea was to make the ecosystem sustainable, with farmers and FPOs (Farmer Producer Organisations) being not only the beneficiaries, but also partners in the program. The FPOs took over 40 percent of the costs of the cold storage infrastructure which were realised from the farmer who stored their products on a rental basis.

Nagaraju, a farmer associated with the Peddavoora Farmer Producer Company, grows roses, highly delicate flowers. He shares how cold storage infrastructure as well as mobility solutions offered by Tan90 helped him prevent wastage.

“If not stored properly, rose petals come off from the bud. To prevent wastage, I used to wrap the flowers with wet cloth before, and still faced wastage due to the shedding of the petals. Through the Krishi Mangal programme, I was introduced to Tan90 cold storage bags. Since the cooling pads were kept in designated pockets, they were not in direct contact with the flowers. I used to wrap them in papers and store them overnight in the bags. Due to controlled temperature, I could sell my harvest the next day as well”, he adds.

Impact: Profitable, sustainable, and long lasting

Tan90 cold storages have been deployed in about 12 Indian states, with customer interests ranging from green organic produce, dairy products, meat, fish to frozen foods. These affordable storages negate the need for ice in fisheries, thereby increasing volume optimisation by 40 percent and decreasing operational costs by 25 percent.

This is generating opportunities that enable transport of temperature sensitive perishables in a part-truck loading configuration, or by two-wheelers which reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent, as compared to refrigerated trucks.

With Bag90, users can convert their normal vegetable crates to a portable cold storage box in a jiffy. And these bags are designed in a way that women farmers can also use them, thereby including women in the crucial supply chain. Steps have been taken to empower women farmers in Tamil Nadu for the last mile distribution of flowers and fish. The replacement of diesel-based reefer vehicles and stationary cold storage will result in reduction in CO2 emissions. Additionally 40 litres of diesel is being saved everyday due to the intervention of Krishi Mangal and Tan90.

The India cold chain logistics market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 14 percent during the forecast period of 2020-25.

Tan90 is one among a handful of companies that provide inorganic PCM in the positive temperature ranges, at +10, +15 and +24 degrees centigrade. Each of their PCM panels can be used 1,500 times, which is roughly 3.5 to 4 years for a single customer, thereby increasing their return on investment over a period of time.

“Since we are involved in the research, development, and manufacturing of Phase Change Materials (PCM), we have a strong R&D team in place. We have the capacity to provide temperature control from +30 to -24 degrees centigrade. This provides flexibility to our users to have a targeted approach for temperature control while carrying their perishables in any logistics system,” shares Rajani Kant Rai, Co-founder, Tan90.

Tan90 is looking to provide energy efficient and cost effective thermal management solutions to businesses and aims to be a leader in South Asia. The organisation aspires to reduce carbon footprint wherever thermal management is involved through their innovations.

“We aim to work on real life problems. Through our technology, we want to disrupt the energy storage space by enabling efficient thermal management of batteries,” shares Shiv Sharma, Co-founder, Tan90.


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