Cooling the harvest

A cool chamber developed by researchers in Ethiopia could help horticultural producers extend the shelf-life of their fruits and vegetables and reduce wastage due to spoilage.
The chamber, adapted from an Indian design, uses inexpensive locally available materials, including bricks, bamboo and riverbed sand to keep produce fresh for up to a A cool chamber developed by researchers in Ethiopia could help horticultural producers extend the shelf-life of their fruits and vegetables and reduce wastage due to spoilage.
The chamber, adapted from an Indian design, uses inexpensive locally available materials, including bricks, bamboo and riverbed sand to keep produce fresh for up to a month after harvesting.
Tested in Adet, where average temperatures reach a maximum of 26degC, the storage structure uses the cooling power of evaporation to stop metabolic breakdown and fungal deterioration. The chamber is made of double walls, built of brick, with a 15cm space in between them which is filled with wet riverbed sand. The sand is watered each morning and evening to maintain the required temperature and humidity.
Healthy green peppers and sweet oranges were stored in the cool chamber, to test its efficacy. Similar products were kept at room temperature as a control. After nine days, all products kept at room temperature were unfit for consumption. But 86.3% of the products kept in the chamber were still in good condition. About 50% of the products were still healthy after 18 days in the storage unit. In the case of green peppers, some of those stored in the chamber were still fit for consumption after a month.
Adet Agricultural Research Centre: Fax +251-1-46 1294; fentahunmen@yahoo.com