Phagu Minz of Bhatipada village in Balishankara block of Sundargarh district in Odisha, is a farmer who owns 4 acres of land. Most of it is under paddy cultivation, but this time he is willing to change this. He is going to allot more of his land area to crop diversification and start vegetable farming on a huge scale.
The main reason behind the change in his thought is an innovation called ‘Sabji Cooler’. It solved his major problem of storing vegetables and saving them from being ruined.
Along with Minz, there are 49 other farmers also in Balishankara, Tangarpali and Kaunrmunda blocks who have availed the benefit of this project of district administration and got the Sabji Coolers for free over the last couple of months.
“We were compelled to sell our vegetable immediately after harvest to fetch the proper price. Unsold vegetables would invariably get a lower price as they did not remain fresh due to a lack of cold storage facilities. A substantial chunk of the produce, if left unsold, would perish in a couple of days. All these look a thing of the past now, thanks to the Sabji Cooler,” Phagu Minz said.
“After the installation of the cooler in our village, our fortunes have changed. We can now keep vegetables fresh for days and fetch good returns. I feel the Sabji Cooler has impacted my earning by 30-35 percent. I have earned Rs 8,000-9,000 from vegetables in the last crop season,” he further added.
The Sabji Cooler functions without any source of power. It can keep around 100kg of vegetables fresh for upto 7 days. With the help of this, farmers are now able to preserve their produce which cannot be sold immediately in the market.
“The Sabji Cooler can be a game-changer for the farmers in Sundargarh. By installing a cooler in their backyard, they have been able to preserve their vegetables and reduce losses from farm to market. We want to include more farmers of the district soon and support them under this initiative,” said Collector Nikhil Pavan Kalyan.