Despite many benifits of solar cooking the acceptance solar cooking is very marginal in India .Based on my 25 years experience, I wish to share my ideas on the subject as described below:
- To appeal at philosiphical level.Sun is the ultimate source of all energy available in the nature. Rice or vegetables etc in nature are nothing but conversion of solar energy into nutrients forms.Therefore using solar heat to cook food ,we shall be more in tune with the nature.Most of problems that we invite to us are when we act/live against the nature.
- To appeal at religious sentiments level.Hindu women widely worship the Sun God during many religious festivals.One famous festival is called "CHAT in winter months".Hindu Women seek blessings from the sun god by immersing their body in cold waters of river/ponds and perform rituals during sun rise and sun set times.House wives are connected with cooking. They play major role in decision making for use/purchase of solar cookers. Therefore while promoting sale of solar cookers deep rooted sentiments of hindu women forthe sun god should be exploited.In addition "Surya Namaskara" posture in Yoga exercise is widely followed. Its link is with the Sun in sanskrit its Surya.
- Link to the story of AKHCHYYA PATRA to solar cookers. There is an interesting story inthe hindu epic mythological story called "Mahabhartha".Draupadi wives of Pandavas was a great devout of Sun God. During 14 yrs exile in forest.
- Once an occasion arose for Draupadi to feed 100 of guests. In Hindu the religion guests are considered as god. To feed them she requested the sun god to help her. She was given by sun god an "Akhchaya Patra". Sun god told her that so long there is one grain of food in it, the vessel will never run short of food. Hence its called "Akhchaya" or endless and "Patra" means vessel in Hindi/Sanskrit.This story can be cleverly modified to promote sale amongst hindu women.
- Use of empty glass jar/bottles (1 -3 ltr size). Poor indians mostly use cheap quality of aluminium alloy cooking utensils.Minute particles of highly reactive alumnium gets dissolved when ingriedents contain tomotos/tamrind(acidic) in high temp Even branded Pressure Cookers shows minute pot holes in the base after 6-7 montths of use cooking indian recipes.Obviously metal in PPM ,has dissolved in food due acidic nature of ingriedents under high temp of gas flame.Use of wide mouthed glass jars of honey/horlicks etc shuold be high lighted in solar cooking. Glass is inert hence food cooked retains natural flavor and nutrients(slow cooking at 100 *C.).Glass being transparent state of cooking can be judged from outside especially in rice cooking. There is a lot of hassle involved in using metal cooking pots, thereby reducing acceptance of solar cookers. Use of cooking pots made of high quality metals or glassware kitchen pots makes portable and unaffordable and thus make a paradox that in poor countries "Those who need solar cookers most can not afford them and those who can afford them do not need them as cost of saving in fuel is not worth hassles involved in outside cooking under the sun".
- Lightweight Economical Portable Domestic Parabolic Solar Cookers: Sk-14 type of cookers weigh around 23 kgs made of metals frame. Many houses do not have shadowless open areas. Manual shifting of Solar cooker is required to catch the sun due shadows from trees /bldgs/walls etc.For this wt upto 3-4 kg will be suitable for ladies. Umbrella type or other lt wt psc be promoted in poor countries. French made Cookup 200 ID is good but its cost is over 300 euros.india cost should be around Rs 2-300/- as poor low middle class family need them most whose monthly income is hardly Rs 10,000/- per month.
Lt Col Dinkar Verma (Retd)