With a focus on empowerment and entrepreneurship, this project was created with National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (niif), to create consistent income opportunities for 45 women in Qazigund in Jammu and Kashmir. In Jammu and Kashmir fruit production is substantial, but a significant portion of it often goes to waste due to inadequate preservation and storage facilities.
Through strategic partnerships and capital support, the project provided training and installations of solar drying units, enabling women to operate modern equipment with zero energy cost. The impact of this initiative is far-reaching, with 45 beneficiaries directly and 10 local youth indirectly benefiting from dignified livelihoods and local entrepreneurship opportunities. Each woman is projected to generate a consistent income of Rs. 6000/- per month for 5-7 years, while also contributing to a surplus pool of funds for reinvestment by the Self-Help Groups (SHGs). Environmentally, it prevents the wastage of over 384 tons of produce and significantly reduces CO2 emissions through solar drying. The Solar Drying Systems, enhanced with smart electronics, enable optimum operation and integration with distributed supply chain management. This not only enhances efficiency but also strengthens the SHGs’ capabilities to run the units independently.
The Dehydrator machines are designed and produced by NGE industries, Raheja Solar Solutions and Sukoon Solutions Limited, playing a crucial role in this endeavour. With strategic partnership of niif, we were able to implement this project successfully.
The success of the project is evident through its capacity to prevent wastage and add value to local produce. As we strive to create a lasting impact, the plan is to expand rapidly to other districts of Jammu & Kashmir, amplifying the positive outcomes of solar drying as a viable livelihood option for rural communities.