Sundargarh: ‘Sabji Cooler’ or ‘Zero Cooling Chamber’, provided by the district administration under Odisha Livelihoods Mission (OLM), has come as a boon for the vegetable farmers.
Built with indigenous know-how, it has brought a significant change in the financial condition of the farmers. The district administration provides financial support to build the coolers which do not require any power source to function and can keep around 100 kg of vegetables fresh for 7 days.
As a result, the farmers are now able to store their produce which they are not able to sell immediately. “I used to face losses because my vegetables would rot if I could not sell in time. Since I installed the Sabji Cooler, vegetables are staying fresh much longer and helping me increase my earnings,” said Digambar Rana, a beneficiary.
More than 50 farmers of Balishankara, Kuarmunda, and Tangarpali blocks have benefited by building the cooler in their homes. Another 50 installations are in progress in these blocks.
“The Sabji Cooler can be a game changer for the farmers in Sundargarh. By building a cooler in their backyard, they are to preserve their vegetables and reduce losses from farm to market,” said Sundargarh Collector Nikhil Pavan Kalyan.
Mumbai-based Rukart Technologies is providing technical know-how and equipment for the construction of the Sabji Coolers while ‘Desh Premi’, a local producers group takes care of the installation and maintenance. The project is funded from the District Periphery Development Fund.
Sabji Cooler is a metal chamber developed by Rukart which uses over 1,600 plastic balls to enable cooling. The farmer only needs to construct a brick and cement chamber to house the cooler. This small chamber acts like a cold storage.
“Self Help Groups (SHG) play an important role in the implementation of this initiative. Going beyond their traditional role, the SHG members are involved in different stages of the project including awareness, installation and maintenance,” said Bhairab Singh Patel, Project Director, DRDA Sundargarh.