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With support from WISIONS, the People, Energy and Environment Development Association (PEEDA) built a solar-powered mobile cold storage unit for smallholders in the Dolakha region of Nepal. The project, which is the first of its kind in the country, has had a substantial impact on the community and its economy. See also here
The concept of the “community fridge” follows a simple but effective approach. The small-scale farmers amass the vegetables produced on their farms in the highlands of Nepal in the cold storage facility. After putting aside sufficient vegetables for their own consumption, the remaining vegetables can be stored and processed for commercial sale at the next local market. Before the installation of the “community fridge”, the farmers were forced to sell their produce immediately after harvest as they did not have the means to keep it fresh, which resulted in oversupply and low revenue. Preliminary numbers already indicate that the community has reduced the amount of food waste by 50% and that the increase in vegetable sales has created additional income for the families.
The involvement of the community was key to the success of the project and now the community owns and manages the system via a committee of local farmers who operate it. The holistic approach included the design of an innovative and sustainable energy solution, capacity-building for beneficiaries, value chain management and the raising of public awareness within the community about the project. We look forward to sharing future updates about this project!