|Traditional Storage of Yams and Cassave and its Improvement (GTZ)|
|5.5 Ways of and limits to. storing fresh cassava roots|
Freshly harvested cassava roots can be stored in wooden crates. The crates are lined with a layer of sawdust. The spaces between the roots are also filled with sawdust. Finally, the roots are then covered with sawdust..
The sawdust, which can be replaced by any other resorbent material e.g. dust from coconut fibres, has to be damp but must not be wet. If the sawdust is too dry the roots will deteriorate quickly. Sawdust which is too moist promotes the formation of mould and rot. To prevent the roots drying out too early, the crate should be lined with plastic foil (RICKARD and COURSEY, 1981). A storage period of 4 - 8 weeks was attained with crates in experiments.
In Ghana this method of storage was modified and the crates were replaced by large baskets. The baskets were lined with fresh banana leaves which also served as a cover for the stored produce. Before storing the roots these were subjected to three days of curing. Storage periods in Ghana using this method reached 2 months (injured and cured roots) and up to 6 months (uninjured roots) (OSEI-OPARE, 1990).
The limited availability of crates and lack of suitable baskets which can only take up a small amount of roots in comparison to the value of products, have prevented this storage method from spreading. Both types of container are relatively expensive and the labour input involved in preparing the store and the produce is quite high.
However, this storage method could be interesting where fresh (sweet) cassava roots are sold over long distances. On the one hand, this method allows sufficient storage ability and distinctly reduces the risk of early deterioration. Secondly, the crates or baskets can simultaneously be used as containers during transport (also several times) which saves on handling costs and also reduces injury to the roots during transport.