How Bungin Island’s Fisherfolks are Benefiting from Solar-Powered Cold Storage

For many years, fisherfolks in Bungin island struggled to make their today’s catch stay fresh for them to sell at the market for several days. “The duration of days for the fish still considered fresh is limited, especially when we catch a lot of fish. It is not a guarantee we will make a good profit as well,” said Boy Saputra, a fisherfolk from Bungin Island. 

Because of its high price and high electricity use, the majority of the fisherfolks use styrofoam boxes or a conventional storage unit to store their catch, therefore they were not able to keep the fish fresh while waiting for their product to be sold at the market. Making it less profitable and causing health hazards as well. 

“Fishing industry in Java and Bali depends on the supply from the Nusa Tenggara area. When the fisherfolks can’t sell their catch, it will affect the region’s income as well,” Said Nova Aryanto, CEO of Olat Maras Power (05/08/2022) 

Given the situation, Olat Maras Power offers a solution to the fisherfolk in Bungin Island who want to use Olat Maras Power’s Cold Storage Unit, NgebUTS. They adapted their payment mechanism, by collaborating with a village-owned enterprise (Badan Usaha Milik Desa- BUMDES) to run a program called “one skipjack fish every day for each fisherfolk” for two years to pay off one NgebUTS unit. Hoping it could help them be more efficient in storing their catch as well as a more well-recorded data of the fisherfolk’s product distribution. 

“At first we still need to educate people (on how and why they should use our product). We see they were happy after they tried it, and it proved to be more economical. They can save 30% off of their electricity bill and the rest can be powered with solar panels and batteries. The duration of storing fish can also be 100% longer since using styrofoam can only last 12 hours,” Nova added. 

With this new device, the sales number has been consistently increasing. “The price of fish today will be the same for tomorrow because it is safely stored,” said Boy. Right now fishermen on the island are divided into 3 groups and they all use Cold Storage Unit NgebUTS from Olat Maras Power. 

Supported by New Energy Nexus Indonesia, Olat Maras Power targeted several crucial improvements to further develop  NgebUTS such as fully applying solar power technology to the product. Olat Maras Power also plans to add a monitoring system for maintenance so that it could be controlled from phones or digital apps. 

“New Energy Nexus Indonesia has been very helpful in getting us to scale up this business. They help us connect to other startups and investors. We are able to manage this startup better. This may be a small startup, but our dream for Indonesia is big,” said Nova.

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