In a move aimed at strengthening the horticulture post-harvest segment, the Odisha Government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with agri-tech firm RuKart Technologies Pvt Ltd for promoting the zero energy, low cost storage solution, Subjee Cooler, among the small holder farmers in the State for the next five years.

RuKart’s Subjee Cooler is a low-cost and maintenance-free storage and natural ripening chamber which enhances the shelf life of perishable farm products such as fruits and vegetables among other products, while reducing the post harvest losses.

The MoU between RuKart and Director of Horticulture, Government of Odisha, aims to provide Subjee Cooler — to small farmers growing fruit/flowers/mushroom/vegetable across the State. Under this MoU, a farmer or a member of self help group (SHG) or farmer producer organisation (FPO) with a valid farmer identity card with get about 70 per cent subsidy from the government for procuring the subjee cooler, said co-founder and CEO of RuKart, Vikash Kumar Jha. A subjee cooler with a storage capacity of 50 kg costs about ₹35,400 and a 100 kg capacity costs ₹50,000.

Rukart’s subjee cooler installation in rural Odisha

Rukart’s subjee cooler installation in rural Odisha

“This is the first time that a State government has designed a post-harvest policy for small plot holders, particularly for women farmers. As part of the MoU, RuKart expects to cover at least 25,000 women farmers over the next five years,” Jha said. RuKart has currently installed over 1,500 subjee coolers across the country with close to half of them in Odisha. Maharashtra and Karnataka are the other States where RuKart has done the Subjee Cooler installations.

Sharayu Kulkarni, co-founder, said this MoU will take RuKart to the next level both in terms of impact and sales. This will help in reducing the fruit and vegetable wastages from around 20 per cent to less than 5 per cent for the end-users while increase the income by ₹7,000-8,000 for each beneficiary. “With this MoU, the Odisha government has not just boosted RuKart’s confidence but entire agri-tech start-up eco-system to develop more women farmers’ centric innovation & services,” she said.