For a farmer, even a slight variation in the climate can spell boon or doom, especially when it when it comes to weather-sensitive crops like onions and potatoes.
But Rohit Patel, a 21-year-old onion farmer and innovator from Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh, has found a way to store his harvest for a few months and earn ten times the profit!
Onions are usually harvested in the summer months of March or April. If a farmer sells his harvest at the time, he earns about Rs 2-3 per kg. However, if he stores the harvest till monsoon arrives, he can earn about Rs 35 for one kilo—over ten times the price he gets when the onion supply is in full bloom.
Therefore, many farmers tend to store their harvest until the end of the monsoon season.
However, since storage facilities do not come cheap, they tend to use their own houses or godowns to store their crop.
Now the risk that the harvest could be ruined because of heat, moisture and insect or rat infestations, cannot be ignored. However, Rohit Patel’s jugaad cold-storage innovation can prove to be a blessing.
In a room without windows, Patel made 8-inch-high rows of bricks at regular distances. He spread an iron net on these rows and spread his onion harvest on it. On every 100 square feet, he installed bottomless pits (or wide pipes). By installing an exhaust on the top of these pits, the farmer developed a home-made cold storage system. When the fans were turned on, they provided cool air to the bottom of the onions, allowing air to pass from between the iron net and onions and into the room.
Speaking to Tech Explorist in 2016, Rohit had said,
“I have developed this warehouse after four years of research, Now we can sell onions for Rs 3 a kg, and our input cost is Rs 5 a kg.
But if we can store it for longer, we will get Rs 15-20 a kg during the monsoon. Last year, we made a profit of Rs 5 lakh,” he added.
Speaking to Your Story, Rohit said, “When the onions are stored together in heaps, the heat between them results in rotting. This jugaad storage can save up to 80% of the onions from rotting over the months. Where ten onions would rot in storage, now, thanks to the innovative warehouse, hardly a couple are affected.”
Earlier Rohit would earn Rs 90,000 for 3000 quintals of onions, but after using this technique, he made earned one crore and five lakhs for the same—this translates to a profit of Rs 96 lakh!
Now if this isn’t an immensely profitable jugaad, what is?
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)