Why seek retail FDI for cold storage?
The region is home to a third of Nigeria's population of over 150 million people. The people are mostly small farmers and cattle-rearers. The area suffers from poor roads and power shortage, making cold storage difficult (a description that applies to vast tracts of India).
Consequently, farmers had to sell their produce at low prices, since they could not hold the produce.After studying the problem in depth, Mohammed Bah Abba, an enterprising lecturer at the Jigawa State Polytechnic, Dutse, came up with a unique solution. Hailing from a family of potters, he invented the pot-in-pot system of cooling (calledzeerin local language).
The pot-in-pot technology consists of two earthenware pots of different diameters, one placed inside the other. The space between the two pots is filled with wet sand that is kept constantly moist, thereby keeping both pots damp. Fruit and vegetables are put in the inner pot, which is covered with a damp cloth. The phenomenon that occurs is based on a simple principle of physics: the water contained in the sand between the two pots evaporates towards the outer surface of the larger pot where the drier air is circulating.
The evaporation automatically produces cooling, causing a drop in temperature of several degrees in the inner container, extending the life of the perishable foods inside. In tests conducted, the temperature in the inner pot was reduced by 6-8 degrees C in 12 hours, and could be maintained by keeping the sand moist.
The shelf life of the produce improved significantly, as shown in the table.
The impact of the pot-in-pot was a reduction in the wastage of fresh fruits and vegetables. Farmers could hold the produce longer and sell on demand at higher prices. The cost of a pot-in-pot unit is around $5 (less than Rs 300).So where are the innovations in India? What are our hug business conglomerates doing to help the common people?