The 'Zero Emission Fridge for Rural Africa' (ZEFRA) is a seed storage silo made of local material. It supports subsistence farmers in Northern Mozambique to sustain food security through reduction of post-harvest losses. Furthermore, the silo helps the farmer families to adapt to climate change that is extending the drought-caused October-to-January 'hunger period.'
A native farmer, Gilberto Tehetere from Mozambique, produced the ZEFRA by developing the low-cost silo using only locally available materials and applying traditional construction techniques. Therefore, the silo is also known as the silo Tehetere.
The basic design of the ZEFRA is a weaved bamboo structure covered with clay on both sides. It stands on a base that incorporates vermin traps to protect the grain from rats and mice, and is installed under a simple shelter to maintain cool, dry and constant conditions. Compared to other metal silos, the ZEFRA is affordable and sustainable as the techniques required rely entirely on existing local knowledge and can easily be replicated without creating dependence on technical assistance or external inputs.
Mozambique is vulnerable to droughts. Resulting harvest failures cause food insecurity which consequently, , leads to a lack of seed material for upcoming cropping seasons. With changing seasonal rainfall patterns and periods, subsistence farmers practicing rain fed agriculture are struggling to keep sufficient food/seed reserves to overcome the hunger period (December–April). Traditional post-harvest storage facilities cause losses of up to 40% of stocks and are responsible for 22% of households running out of stock for more than 2 months each year. As a result, many families apply survival strategies such as reducing the meals per day, lowering the quality of their diet, consuming their seeds and selling production assets.
The ZEFRA reduces the vulnerability from droughts by enabling communities and individual farmers to enhance their food security trough reduction of post-harvest losses and the establishment of seed banks that store sufficient seed reserves.
With material and labour costs of approximately USD 50 for a storage capacity of 250 kg, the ZEFRA is economically affordable in comparison to metal silos that cost about USD 190 in materials alone, and only have a storage capacity of 200 kg.
Stage of development: produced in serial production
The basic design of the ZEFRA is a weaved bamboo structure, covered with clay. It incorporates vermin traps to protect the grain from rats and mice, and is installed under a simple shelter to maintain cool and dry conditions. The clay carcass of the silo seals the seeds in an almost hermetic chamber and improves the effect of the organic, herbal repellents which is used to inhibit insects such as the granary weevil.
Organization: HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation
Contact: Louise Luttikholt (Helvetas Germany)
Used by: Mozambique