Submitted Date : 20-10-2014
Accepted Date : 25-06-2016
Agriculture in India is characterised by small and marginal farmers and they constitute nearly 80 per cent of the total land holdings. The cultivation of multiple crops under small land holdings results in regular production of lesser quantities of vegetables, which the farmers cannot take to the market regularly, leading to a distress local sale of produce through the middlemen. Facilities to store the produce for a shorter period and taking a bulk of commodity to the market would be a viable option for them. Though the refrigerated storage of vegetables can keep them fresh over a longer period, the high initial investment and energy requirement appears to be the hurdles for small and marginal farmers. The zero energy cool chamber could be the best alternative to such farmers having smaller holdings especially for short term on farm storage of perishables without any recurring expenditure on energy source, as it works on the principle of evaporative cooling. The present study on the storability of vegetables under ZECC had proved its usefulness in extending the storability of tropical vegetables, with reduction in temperature up to 9o C and increase in relative humidity by 18 per cent could be achieved inside the chamber compared to ambience. The ZECC proved useful in storage of vegetables with minimum PLW and decay and the freshness was retained for 3 days in lab lab, 4 days in bhendi, five days brinjal, bitter gourd and radish.