Jeypore (Koraput): At a time when farmers across the State are grappling with unavailability of cold storage units to store their products, Koraput district administration has come up with ‘Sabji Coolers’, an innovative and alternative storage units for farmers to preserve their vegetables and other agricultural products by spending affordable amount of money.
The new idea has brought smile in face of distress farmers who had to bear heavy losses from farm products in the absence of cooling facilities in rural belts year after year.
Each of such vegetable cooler is designed as an enclosed small-sized chamber-like storage unit made of brick and mortar that insulates the entire structure. From the inside, metal casing with liquid nitrogen filled bulbs acting as coolant for inner wall of the storage unit.
The important aspect of the cooler is that it does require electricity or solar power or battery to run because it runs on the principle of evaporative cooling with water application at least once a day.
The cost of the storage is around 50,000 out of which the farmers are now required to spend only Rs 3,500 only while the rest of the amount is being borne by the government to encourage farmers adopt this unique method of storing vegetables.
Sources said one such cooler is capable of storing vegetables of around 1.5 quintal and keeps them afresh for around a week.
“We store the unsold vegetables from the regular/weekly market, which later fetch good returns. Earlier, we were resorted to distress sell as the products usually perish only after a day or two,” said Sashi Majhi, a woman farmer at Pakajhola village in the district.
Earlier, we used to sell the vegetable at throughway prices if remained unsold at markets. But, that fear is now a thing of past. We can resell our products even after storing them in the cooler for days,” another farmer said.
Meanwhile, the Koraput Livelihood Mission has taken the responsibility to spread the idea among farmers so that more such facilities are installed in villages.
Mumbai-based Rukart Technologies has offered the technical support and providing equipment for the construction of the sabji cooler. The farmers are required to construct only the outer wall with bricks and cement.
District Livelihood Mission manager Sasmita Samantray said that the administration has aimed at covering more areas with the new innovation to help farming community reap proper benefits from their produce.
“I think the innovation has been a success in the district as farmers who are using the sabji coolers currently have expressed happiness. We have targets to install more such units in other villages in the district for the benefit of farmers,” she added.
Earlier last year some farmers of Sundargarh district were also seen adopting this method for storing vegetables produces.