Uplifting Farmers Empowering Women

ROURKELA COLD ROOM PROJECT

Rourkela city is a winner of the 2021 Global Mayors Challenge. Led by the Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMC) in cooperation with UN SDG Action Campaign, the Rourkela cold rooms project is an initiative that wants to address the difficult conditions experienced by farmers and vendors in Rourkela. These people 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. With the cold storage local farmers and vendors can be keep the vegetables and fruits in the cold room prolonging the life and earn better returns.

EMPOWERING FARMERS AND WOMEN'S COOPERATIVES THROUGH THE PROVISION OF SOLAR-POWERED COLD STORAGE UNITS

 

Through capacity building, handholding support and financial support during the project startup phase women are empowered to operate the cold room sustainably.

Cold room has multiple income streams for the financial sustainability. Other than cold room user fee, the women will aggregate vegetables from farmers and sell to large institutions and sells local products from other women groups.

Technological interventions to ensure project sustainability The cold rooms are solar powered to reduce operating expense. Three-chambered cold room with independent temperature controls to accommodate multiple types of fruits and vegetables.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

In Rourkela, a city in India, farmers and vendors faced a significant challenge. Each day, they would bring their fresh vegetables and fruits to the market, but without proper storage options, they were forced to sell their produce at low prices to avoid wastage and losses.
As a solution to this problem, the city launched the Rourkela Cold Room Project. This project, owned by the city itself, introduced cold rooms operated by Women Cooperatives.
Here’s how it workS:
For a minimal fee of just 3 INR per 15 kg, Farmers and vendors could store their fruits and vegetables in a controlled temperature environment, ensuring their freshness and quality for longer periods. The women of the cooperatives were trained and empowered to manage the daily operations of the cold rooms. With their dedication and newfound skills, they ensure that every aspect of the facility ran smoothly, from maintaining the ideal temperature to organizing the inventory.
These cold rooms are powered by solar energy, a sustainable solution that reduced operational expenses and helped protect the environment. 
The cold rooms are more than just storage facilities. They are bustling hubs of activity, where women cooperatives aggregated vegetables from farmers and vendors, ready to supply bulk orders to institutions like hotels and canteens. 
To ensure that the produce reached its destination fresh and without harming the environment, electric rickshaws were employed for transportation. These eco-friendly vehicles not only saved on fuel costs but also reduced pollution, making the entire process more sustainable.
The most remarkable aspect of the project is its vision for the future. By providing multiple income sources to women operators through bulk institution supply and even home delivery services, the project aimed to achieve financial sustainability while building economic livelihoods for farmer and women cooperatives.

THE PROJECT IS INSPIRED BY AGENDA 2030 AND IS AN INNOVATIVE STEP CONTRIBUTING TO ATTAINMENT OF SDGS IN THE CITY AND INTRODUCE THE CONCEPTS OF SDGS TO THE CITIZENS OF ROURKELA

The key SDGs addressed by the project are Goal 2 Zero Hunger, Goal 5 Gender Inequality, Goal 7 Affordable and Clean Energy Goal 13 Climate Action Goal 17 Partnerships for the Goals.

As a SDG local action, by 2025, the project will increase the income of small-scale farmers by 60% by creating market linkages and reducing wastage and will train and employ about 25 women to operate the five cold rooms.

Empowering Women

The cold room and associated infrastructures are being operated by the women co-operatives/ self-help groups from the city of Rourkela. These women cooperatives are managed by the Rourkela Municipal Corporation.  Most of these women members comes from a low socio-economic background and as a part of the project implementation they are provided necessary technical and management skills for cold room operations. The women are now capable of using digital tools necessary for the daily operations independently.

Each cold room is being managed by a women co-operative comprising of 5 -7 women members. With five (5) cold rooms implemented the project will directly improve the lives of almost 30 women.

PROJECT
Outcomes:

01

Improve the livelihood of farmers and vendors

With cold room and improving market linkage, the project aims to increase the income of farmers and vendors by reducing wastage and distress selling

02

Empower and increase income of women

The project will improve the technical and management skills of women cooperatives, empowering them to create impacts in the lives of farmers and vendors. Their income will also be significantly improved as they are gaining extra income from cold room operations

03

Serve as a model cold room project managed by community

The project model of sustainable operation by trained women members of community is expected to replicated at state level and national level