Natural cold storage is being adjudged as an effective means of long-term preservation of vegetables and some other seasonal fruits and green spices like garlic and green chili in organic way and its prospect is very much bright in the agro-based area.
An environment-friendly cold storage with 300 tonnes capacity was opened in Bhadra area in Rajshahi city for the first time in Bangladesh in December, 2014 at a cost of around Taka 14 lakh.
Its performance is very much optimistic, said Prof Dr Monzur Hossain, director of the natural cold storage project.
During the experiment period since till July 2016, potato, onion, ginger, carrot, tomato, mango and other vegetables were kept in the cold storage. “We have found good results for potato, onion and ginger preservation. Potatoes and onions were preserved till four months,” says Prof Hossain.
Another Taka 20-lakh new research project was adopted this season in order to preserve tomato, carrot, mango and some other fruits side by side with the leafy vegetables for three to six months without using any chemicals.
Prof Monzur Hossain of Department of Botany in Rajshahi University said the cold storage has been designed to facilitate the grassroots level farmers in Bangladesh.
No electricity is required to run this cold storage. Instead the natural storage will preserve the agricultural produce through the process of vaporisation.
To help the farmers preserve perishable items such as potato, tomato,
onion, and ginger at cheaper rates, the natural cold storage which uses green technology has been set up at Namo Bhadra area in Rajshahi city.
The facility was set up by using local ingredients. As this was the first ever such facility in Bangladesh ‘we were required to conduct extensive experiments to find its effectiveness as well as limitations,’ says Prof Monzur Hossain illustrating salient features of the venture.
The 60 feet long and 30 feet wide rectangular storage is made of bricks, cement, bamboo, and shaan that can house 300 tons of produce.
The vital part of the storage is the two parallel walls. The inner wall is made of brick and cement and the outer wall is constructed with concrete blocks and bricks. The gap between the two walls is three inches that is filled with sand.
To allow sunlight inside the storage, there are two windows made of glass in the upper part of the storage. Four solar panels of 110 watt have also been set up to generate electricity to light the storage.
We become successful to keep the temperature inside the storage within 26 degrees centigrade which is convenient for keeping potatoes and onions cool, Prof Hossain added.
Temperature below 16 degrees is needed for preserving vegetables and
fruits. “We are now planning to set up another small storage beside it to experiment on other vegetables and fruits.”
To store a sack of potato weighing 80 kilogrammes in a traditional storage costs Tk 350. In this alternative storage facility, a farmer can store the same amount by spending Tk 100 saving 250 taka per sack.
There are many remote areas in Bangladesh where facilities of traditional cold storage are unavailable. Moreover, during natural calamities or political instabilities farmers cannot sell their produce timely leading them to incur huge loss.
This natural cold storage will be of great help for the farmers to store their produce at cheaper rates during such undesirable situations, Prof Hossain hopes, reports BSS.