UNDP is supporting the Rourkela Municipal Corporation in India to implement the Rourkela cold rooms project, an initiative that wants to address the difficult conditions experienced by farmers and vendors in Rourkela who are forced to sell their produce at a very low rate by the end of the market day due to a lack of storage facility.

The project supports Sustainable Development Goal 2 – Zero Hunger by increasing the income of farmers thereby reducing the distress selling and wastage and Sustainable Development Goal 5 – Gender Inequality by training and employing 25 women to operate the cold rooms.

A pilot survey indicates that 83% of farmers/vendors lack storage options as the main driving factor for selling the produce at a very low rate when they cannot sell all the produce at the end of the market day.  

The Cold Room project focuses on the installation of solar-powered cold rooms operated by women Self-help Groups (SHGs) with the objective to provide cold storage options to farmers and vendors.

In July 2023, the first cold room site of the project at the city’s Traffic Gate Market become operational. The women’s self-help group ‘Jai Mata Di’ comprising six women is operating the cold room which includes a cold storage room for keeping vegetables for farmers and vendors, a solar-powered system to provide clean energy for cold room operations, a common facilitation center for selling vegetables and other products, and two electric rickshaws for transporting vegetables to bulk buyer institutions.

By the end of 2023, more cold rooms would be built in four more sites across the city.