Prof. Narendra Shah
Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA)
Digant Swaraj Foundation, Palghar, Maharashtra
Farmers in Mokhada block of Palghar district in Maharashtra grow Paddy as main crop. However few farmers with small land holdings (land less than an acre) and having access to water for irrigation prefer to grow vegetable such as Chili, Brinjal, Bhindi etc. along with fruits like Mango, Chikoo and flowers like Mogra. The produce is transported to nearby towns for sale. The quantum of day’s harvest is often very small to transport economically. Hence harvest of two to three days is collected and sold. In absence of proper storage facilities the farmers suffer on account of post-harvest losses, in terms of weight loss as well as quality deterioration. On farm evaporative cold (EC) storage is suggested as a solution for short term (3-4 days) storage. The system designed by the Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET), Ludhiana is found beneficial by Punjab farmers. The EC system can lower storage temperature by about 5 to 10 °C than ambient temperature. Hence the shelf-life of locally grown vegetables and fruits can be enhanced by 3 to 4 days.
The objective of this project is to construct a low cost evaporative cooled storage system as per design specifications of CIPHET with storage volume of ~ 25 m3. Performance of the system in all 3 seasons with respect to indoor temperature, relative humidity and shelf-life of farm produce as compared to current supply-chain will be tested at Mokhada. This will facilitate demonstration of the technology of farm-EC storage for economic benefits to small and marginal farmers in Maharashtra.