Grameen Fridge provides an easy option for storing and preserving the harvest for a period of 7-8 days without any loss in quality. It is more beneficial during summer season to store perishable agriculture produce and maintain shelf life up to seven days…
Food preservation is an important issue in the desert zone of Rajasthan. Most of the fruits and vegetables are rotten within three days. In present situation, it has been realized that in the absence of proper storage facility for perishable products, farmers are either selling their vegetable product to local market on daily basis at local rates or transport their harvest to nearby district vegetable market on every alternate day where they face considerable stress on desired price. In case of excess availability of a particular product in the vegetable market, farmers have to spend two to three days in these mandies to sell off their products. For increasing their shelf life, it is necessary to preserve them with the help of refrigeration. Conventional Refrigerators require electricity to run. Most of the under developed countries and rural areas does not have sufficient and in some cases even minimal access to electricity. But preservation of food being an integral part of human life sustenance, exploring alternatives to commercial refrigerators has become necessary. Keeping these circumstances in view, a low cost model (Grameen Fridge) of short term storage system has been designed which provides an easy option for storing and preserving the harvest for a period of 7-8 days without any loss in quality. It is more beneficial during summer season to store perishable agriculture produce and maintain shelf life up to seven days. Grameen Fridge does not need electricity to function but keeps the maximum temperature up to 10-11 degree celsius even during hot summer. It works on evaporative cooling principle. The working of grameen fridge is described as below:
The grameen fridge consists of two brick wall. A layer of sand, bricks and pebbles is kept in between these brick walls. Water is used as refrigerant. The sand acts as a medium to retain water required for evaporative cooling. Two ducts of around 4″ each are kept at bottom for aeration. A window of 2’x2′ is kept at the top for loading and unloading of agriculture produce inside the fridge. The poured water will fill voids present in the sand. The outer brick wall being porous allows water to permeate through it by hydraulic conductivity. Water absorbs heat from inner chamber and inner wall itself. Due to this process of continuous absorption of heat from the water inside the chamber, in a few hours, this chamber becomes cool (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Principle of Evaporative Cooling Refrigerator
Feature of a Gramin Fridge
• Indigenous technique with low cost
• No electricity required.
• No loss in nutritive value of produce.
• Minimize perishable losses
• Produce difference in temperature about 15-170C from ambient.
• Ease in construction.
• Maintain relative humidity in between 80-95%.
• Useful for vegetable, milk, butter and paneer.
• Minimization in losses of vegetable that ultimately increases profit.
• Saving of time which may be used in some other productive work.
• Reduction in cost of transportation, electricity etc
Grameen fridge is constructed with locally available sand, bricks and cement. Following quantity of material is required for construction of a two quintal capacity grameen fridge. Cross section of a two quintal capacity grameen fridge is shown in Figure 2. It can be constructed by a skilled mason. A total of Rs 1,000 approximately is charged by a mason including labour for its construction.
Jamna Lal Kani Ram Bajaj Trust (JKBT), Sikar (Rajasthan) is working towards sustainable livelihood enhancement of rural community through various developmental interventions with support from various agencies, partners and government departments involved in rural development. Over the past three year, JKBT has constructed a total of 75 grameen fridge units in Sikar district. All units are working satisfactorily for the last two to three years. NABARD and other government agencies helped for technical guidance, construction and its operation. JKBT organizes camps on grameen fridge technology in order to create awareness about the fruitful technology as well as to create awareness about its operation and maintenance (Fig.3).
For continuously pouring water over the sand or pebbles layer, a drip system with water tank kept on the top of the structure was arranged. Due to continuous and minimal supply of water ultimately lowers and maintains the temperature inside the cabinet. Lawn grass has also been grown on the top of its roof to lower down the inside temperature. A small roof prepared with local grass to minimize the impact direct sunrays on it.
There is an investment of Rs 5,500 approximately for construction of two quintal capacity grameen fridge. A farmer can store their farm produce in a grameen fridge for minimum 4-5 days. In between these days, he may contact for the best offer from mandi merchants and transport their produce once or twice in a week. There is no need to sell his produce on alternate day. Hence he may get a fair price of his produce and saves his transportation charges. Payback period of above mentioned grameed fridge is depends on quantity of farm produce and their market rates. After collecting may reviews, it is concluded that cost of a grameen fridge can be easily returned within 6-7 months.
AUTHORS CREDIT & PHOTOGRAPH
Jamna Lal Kani
Ram Bajaj Trust,
Er Kapil K Samar
cum Project Manager
and Training Center,