Hyderabad, February 03, 2024: Smt. Debika Biswal, aged 58 years, a vegetable farmer belonging to Penthapal village of Pattamundai block, Kendrapara district has been cultivating different kind of vegetables like ladies’ finger, bitter gourd, brinjal, pumpkin, chilli, cucumber, tomatoes and cauliflower as well as leafy vegetables like Amaranthus and Spinach in 2.5 acres of land. She grows vegetables across 12 months. Vegetable cultivation is her main income source of family of four.
She is a member of Maa Tarini SHG and had received “Subjee Cooler” under Post Harvest Management and Marketing Support Scheme (PHM Scheme) 2022-2023 through Office of the Deputy Director of Horticulture, Kendrapada, in the month of April 2023. She received 70% subsidy supports under PHM Scheme from District Horticulture Department.
Conventionally, she used to store the unsold vegetables in gunny bag and sprinkle water over them to keep them fresh as a result, they used to get stale and black quickly within few days itself. And, she needs to sprinkle water many times in a day. The family was compelled to make distress sale just after one day because of deterioration of produce/ vegetable quality This was a time consuming and tiring process for her.
Adding to the woes, the vegetables which couldn’t be sold on a specific day had to be stored few more days without any proper storage and as a result had to be thrown away outside. Consequently, those vegetables used to get rotten and had to be sold at a much lesser price than that of the original selling price.
Using Subjee Cooler an innovation by RuKart, Debika Biswal is able to store the fresh vegetables for 4-5 days and she is receiving same price even after 4-5 days. She says, Subjee Cooler has enhanced her income by more than Rs. 6,000-7,000/month. Earlier, after the harvest of vegetables they used to store the vegetables in gunny bags, along with it, sprinkled water over it. That used to keep vegetables fresh and cool but as a result, it got stale and black easily.
She says no need to sprinkler water on vegetable regularly in a day and thus apart from income enhancement other benefits like drudgery reduction, wastage reduction, time saving is also substantial. Thus, it also boosted stable economic returns on the investment done as well as minimized the loss and wastage.
Subjee Cooler is an innovation by RuKart (rukart.org). RuKart is founded by 3 IIT Bombay Alumni in 2019. RuKart is working across 12 states in the country including Telangana. The Subjee Cooler has dual benefits: storage of Vegetables, Flower, Mushroom as well as natural ripening of fruits. Subjee Cooler is an innovative portable technology for storage of horticultural produce without any external source of energy like electricity or solar. It functions on a thermodynamic principal called “Enhanced Evaporative Cooling” and needs only 15-20 Litres of water without emitting any harmful gas in environment.
Additionally, A Subjee Cooler saves about 4,699 Kg of CO2 per year. Thus, helps in climate change mitigation which is very important for states like Telangana which is bearing the impact of climate change.Additionally, youth can set-up their own business with the help of Subjee Cooler. They can either purchase the un-sold vegetable/fruit/mushroom from haat & supply to traders in towns or can supply to customer directly after sorting/grading & packing.
Bharat Parmi has started direct supplying of fruits from his farm to customer after installing a Subjee Cooler in farm and the second one at his roadside shop in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. And, so Raja Swami in Kengeri, an outskirt of Bengaluru. Ms. Avidha Jambhale, a single mother of 2 from Solapur, Maharashtra, sets a mission - to provide fresh, quality produce to her community – with the help of 2 Subjee Coolers. She bought these Subjee Coolers in 2022 & 2023 respectively. And, she is not alone. RuKart has been helping more than hundred women farmers in Maharastra to lead by an example. These women farmers have either set-up a village level Vegetable shop or expended their existing retail shop with the help of Subjee Cooler. This is an example of an innovation being game changer for women farmers, marginal farmers & retailers. Odisha shows way for states where Marginal & Small Farmers are dominating & looking forward to diversify their income as income from marginal size farm would not be enough to sustain family.
The Mobile Subjee Cooler has created additional benefits to the FPCL in term of storage and mobility. As per the information shared by Mr. Mallesham and Narasimha Reddy, the FPO is able to deliver their commodities to Vikarabad market two times on single charge which help in saving nearly Rs 250/- for each trip. Usually there used to be a 5-10% price drop as they are harvested a day earlier & freshness was an issue. But, but no distress sales any more. Retailers like Ratnadeep & More has tied-up with the FPCL to get fresh produces.