|N. Dubey, N.L.M. Raman
|temperature, low cost insulation, CoolBot, storage
Temperature and relative humidity are the most important environmental factors that are involved in the deterioration of perishable produce.
India is the world's second largest producer of fruits and vegetables but postharvest losses range from 25-40%, depending upon the commodity and location.
Most perishable horticultural commodities have an optimal shelf-life at temperatures ranging from 2-18°C. The overall issue addressed in this paper was providing an alternate technology that is affordable and available for small and marginal farmers.
A simple solution to this problem is the 'CoolBot' device which in combination with window air conditioner converts an insulated room into a produce cooler and maintains the storage temperature.
Standard cool rooms with walls made of PUF are very costly for the farmers, so a low cost structure was developed with locally available insulating materials.
The room was developed in a hybrid mode with a 1 m3 wide clay and rice husk wall, thermocool in the roof and standard cool room door.
The system was found to be successful in maintaining the set storage temperature of the room which extended the shelf-life of different products.
The products after the storage period were fresh, firm and marketable.
Some retailers have also constructed this storage room for use in their near retail operations.
The room is not only successful in maintaining the low temperatures and desired relative humidity but directly benefits farmers by allowing them to store and market their produce over a period of time rather than making distress sales.
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