Reducing food waste with solar-powered cold storage

Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

Fruits and vegetables are perishable agricultural products. Agricultural products should be immediately transported to the nearest market to ensure freshness and prevent unwanted food waste. According to the United Nations, about 40 percent of food produced in India is wasted.

Time is critical for Lalmuankimi Bawitlung, an orange farmer in northeastern India, who had to throw away a large amount of the harvest from the previous years due to overripening and rotting caused by the country’s hot climate. He is usually forced to sell the oranges at low prices to minimize loss.

To address the problem, the state government installed a solar-powered battery with a storage capacity of 10 tons. The facility is a project of the Mizoram Science, Technology & Innovation Council (MISTIC) and the cold chain company Inficold. The facility uses the energy from the sun to generate electricity and stores it in batteries which convert water to ice.

The cold storage facility enables Lumuankimi and the other farmers to store their harvest rather than throwing them away. They no longer have to harvest their crops all at once. They can also keep their harvest until the off-season and sell it for more than the usual price. They can store their produce for a month with a minimal maintenance fee of one rupee per kilo. 

The construction of solar-powered facilities is a big help to small-scale farmers because conventional cold storage connected to the power grid is too expensive to run. And the fuel cost to back it up when the power is out is also costly. The solar-powered cold storage is more sustainable. It lessens fuel and carbon emissions, making it a greener option. 

Inficold plans to reduce the cost of their cold storage units to install more across the country. More policies, training, and government support are also being provided to help the farmers. The solar-powered storage facilities helped many farmers improve their life by increasing their income. Farmers are now able to invest more in farm machinery and technologies.


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