Extending the shelf-life of vegetables using low cost evaporative cooling systems in Mali
Vegetables are nutrient dense and important sources of micronutrients. However, postharvest losses in sub-Saharan African countries range from 20 to 80%. To reduce postharvest vegetables loss, there is a need for affordable and locally available technologies. The aims of this study were a) to compare the efficiency of different zero energy cooling chambers (ZECCs) at reducing temperature, maintaining humidity and prolonging shelf-life of stored vegetables, and b) to assess with farming communities in rural Mali, the efficacy and potential for adoption of different clay pot cooling systems. Different ZECC types (bricks, sacks and straw) as well as clay pots (pot-in-pot, cylinder-pot-in-dish and round-pot-in-dish) were constructed and installed. Temperature and humidity were monitored regularly. Different vegetables were placed in ZECCs and pots in order to assess the effect on shelf-life. The control mimicked the traditional storage practice and similar vegetables were stored using baskets. The results indicated that the ZECC made from bricks significantly reduced temperature and increased humidity up to 90%. The straw and sack ZECCs held less water and thus needed the water replenishing more frequently than the brick ZECCs. The zeer pot, the pot-in-pot system provided reduced temperature and an increased humidity. As a result, the shelf life of the vegetables was longer in the brick ZECCs and pots-in-pots followed by the grass. Overall, these results indicated that ZECCs and clay pot evaporative cooling chambers could play significant role in poor, rural communities to improve incomes and income stability by reducing post-harvest losses through extending vegetable shelf-life. Hence, policy makers should promote and enable implementation of these simple technologies in major vegetable producing and small market locations.
Bihon, W., Coulibaly, A., Chagomoka, T., Sanogo, O., Cisse, F., Ognakossan, K.E. and Diouf, O. (2020). Extending the shelf-life of vegetables using low cost evaporative cooling systems in Mali. Acta Hortic. 1275, 419-426
vegetable, postharvest technology, evaporative cooling chamber, clay pots, ZECCs