A group of engineers at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in New Delhi have developed a solar-powered on-farm storage structure that can increase the shelf-life of fruits and vegetables in regions where cold storage facilities are absent.
The four-cubic-metre storage space can retain the quality and freshness of fruits and vegetables for an additional period of up to five days.
The structure can not only lower the temperature at which the produce are kept, but also increase the relative humidity, which is also known to help increase the shelf-life of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The researchers claim that if the surrounding air temperature is brought down within four hours of harvesting, it can slow down the deterioration of the quality and freshness of the produce.
Temperature and relative humidity are said to be the two most important environmental factors influencing the quality and storage life of fresh produce.
The low-cost air-cool chamber is more suitable for farmers living in villages where grid electricity has not yet reached. Farmers can install them on their farms and need only four solar photovoltaic panels to run.