NEW DELHI: A number of urban poor are involved in vending of fruits and vegetables. Their living conditions are poor due to less income. Many a times, these vendors suffer losses due to deterioration in the quality of the fresh vegetable and fruits. Traditionally, vendors use wet gunny bags and keep on sprinkling water on it to keep it relatively fresh. However, this leads to spoilage of produce, particularly of leafy vegetables due to direct water sprinkling, less shelf life which is usually limited to one day for leafy vegetables and two days for tomato, cucumber and others. In addition, there is also loss of income due to distress sales to recover whatever costs they have incurred. In order to help these vendors, a mobile vending Cart (Rehri) has been designed to store fresh fruits and vegetables safely for 2-5 days .
The cart works by preserving the fresh fruits and vegetables by controlling the environment around them. It has a Provision for an additional storage space of 8.0 cubic feet, below the main platform which provides an effective and uniform evaporative cooling arrangement with forced air circulation by DC fans and lighting facility through DC LED light powered by Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV) Panel of 100 Wp. It is also equipped with a portable energy bank of 7Ah with the SPV through charge controller and protection devices to meet energy requirement of any additional low power rating domestic gadgets.
The storage chamber is capable of reducing temperature by 5 -8°C and increase relative humidity by 15 to 30 percent points. This enhances storage life of fresh fruits & vegetables up to five days as it reduces evaporative losses and allows consumers’ to buy better quality produce. It also maintains freshness of the produce in terms of colour, texture and appearance up to five days which fetches more net income. It is especially useful in winter season when ambient condition is dry which induces deterioration in appearance of the fresh vegetables.
The cart has been designed by the Division of Agricultural engineering , IARI New Delhi and has a price tag of ₹30,000.