Notes to broadcasters
Small-scale African farmers produce as much as 80% of their countries’ food supplies. In Ghana, the agricultural sector accounts for approximately one-third of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and provides the most jobs in the country.
But in many remote, rural areas of Ghana, frequent power outages and lack of access to electricity can make post-harvest storage of vegetables and other produce incredibly challenging, especially given the country’s tropical climate. This means leftover produce is spoiled before it can be sold at the next market day, contributing to food waste and food insecurity, as well as loss of income.
This is why post-harvest storage technologies that do not rely on electricity are some of the most reliable and sustainable ways to improve the shelf life of vegetables and other produce in Ghana—and why they contribute to food security and better incomes.
This script examines the Zero Energy Cooling Chamber (ZECC), an ideal technology for small-scale farmers and remote rural communities.
You might want to present this script as part of your regular farming program, using voice actors to represent the characters called Host 1, Host 2, Farmer 1, and Farmer 2. If you wish to adapt the script to better suit your location and community, please use interviews with farmers and experts from your own community.
You could also use this script as research material or as inspiration for creating your own programming on post-harvest technologies and zero-energy solutions to storing produce in your own region or country.
How? By talking to experts who specialize in post-harvest technology, or to farmers who use eco-friendly technologies, perhaps even Zero Energy Cooling Chambers. You might ask them:
• What are the major post-harvest storage challenges in your area?
• What solutions have vegetable farmers and other experts found for these challenges?
• What are your experiences with zero-energy technologies?
• Have you used, adapted, or changed the ZECC in any way, perhaps by using custom-made bricks or local materials?
Besides speaking directly to farmers and other experts and key players in your farming community or area, you could use these questions as the basis for a phone-in or text-in program.
Estimated running time is 20-25 minutes, including intro and outro.
In this program, we learn about the technology, and about how two women in rural Bunglung in the Savelugu district, near Tamale, have become leaders in their community after learning how to build it and use it.
As you heard for yourself, these cooling chambers have many direct benefits for those who use them. The chambers are easy and cheap to build. They are environmentally friendly because they don’t require any electricity. And they prolong the shelf life of vegetables and other fresh produce. This allows farmers to increase their planting, and spend more time on marketing. It can lead to more income and financial independence, for both men and women, both farmers and traders.
That’s it: bricks, sand, and some water. Preferably fired clay bricks, but locally mixed mud-clay bricks will work too. If nothing else is available, simple mud bricks are alright as well. And a shed to prevent direct sunlight on the chamber.
You also have to make sure the ground is as flat as possible. Level the ground with a rake and clear away any clutter. Then add a layer of sand and rake it flat. This flat surface will be the foundation for the chamber, and will help with drainage.
Contributed by: Anaïs Voski, journalism intern, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
Reviewed by: Ing. Linda Dari, food and post-harvest engineer, University for Development Studies, consultant and partner for World Vegetable Center; and Ngoni Nenguwo, post-harvest specialist, World Vegetable Center.
Illustrations by Rebecca Jane Houston
Ing. Linda Dari, food and post-harvest engineer, University for Development Studies, consultant and partner for World Vegetable Center, Dec. 21, 2016.
Rahinati Alhassan, trader/farmer, Dec. 21, 2016
Nafisa Alhassan, trader/farmer, Dec. 21, 2016
Aliu Sayilou, farmer, Dec. 21, 2016
Mohamud Sayilou, farmer, Dec. 21, 2016
Documents: World Vegetable Center / USAID: Postharvest Technology Brochure 2 – Constructing a Zero Energy Cooling Chamber