Gorongosa mud silo

An improved mud silo used in Mozambique, with a top port for loading and bottom port for discharge. It should be in kept in the house or under a screen to shelter it from the elements and contact with ground moisture prevented by placing it on rocks or wooden pallets. Pest control is by admixture of grain with insecticide. Capacities range from 0.5t to 1.6t.

Pest Control Status: Initial disinfestation required before storage
Storage Period: 0-6 months
Capacity: 500kg - 1.6t
Lifespan: 3 year - 3 year
Initial cost: US$ 28 - 31
Cost per tonne per year: US$ 4 - 5

Commodities stored:

All dried cereals and pulses

Materials used: Constructed locally from mud bricks, iron rods and a cement base and cover.
Locations made: Local trained artisans

Life span: Likely to be 10-15 years, depending on maintenance and how well sheltered.

Marketing and promotions: In 2000 – 2001, there was a campaign in Gorongosa and Cheringoma districts of Sofala Province of Mozambique supported by the Ministry of Agriculture and GTZ. In 2006 the campaign was extended to all districts of Sofala. There have been further campaigns by World Vision and CARE and in 2009 a Joint UN Programme (FAO, IFAD, WFP) within which FAO assisted in the replacement of traditional maize cob storage with Gorongosa granaries and metal silos

Success and nature of marketing:

In 2001-2006, progress was hampered by the centralized nature of the dissemination strategy. In light of this experience it was concluded that there should be:

  1. an information campaign to ensure that households know the benefits of the silos,
  2. the creation of a ‘Granary promoter’ with technical skills combining both silos construction and good storage management, and
  3. a system for access to credit to assist adoption.

Training as part of the campaign: Not known but feedback on adoption suggest that in the period 2001 to 2006, this element was relatively weak.

Degree of adoption: In the period up to 2006 only about 400 granaries were constructed. In 2011 WFP’s P4P project trained 114 farmers to construct granaries and facilitated the construction of 569 Gorongosa granaries and 370 metal silos, (Annual Report for Mozambique, 2011).

Reason for adoption: It offers greater protection that traditional stores. The wood required for traditional stores is becoming scare and a longer lasting store that is also fire-proof is preferred.

Weaknesses of this store: There is no data to back up the assertions that this type of stores is sufficiently gas-tight to allow phosphine fumigation. Two other projects testing mud granaries for gas-tightness (Ghana and Togo) have shown failure of phosphine fumigation. It must therefore be assumed that grain stored in them for more than three months should be admixed with a dilute insecticidal dust (e.g. Actellic Super). Also once the silo is built it is too heavy to move, so any siting is permanent. All these factors compare unfavourably with either a metal or plastic silo.

Barriers to adoption: The construction skills and preparation are considerably more demanding than for metal silos and the end result is a store that is immobile offers less protection that a metal silo. Farmers interviewed in Zambezia province, who were also familiar with metal silos much preferred them.

Overcoming barriers: There are no obvious ways of overcoming these barriers.

Use by institutions: Not known, but the store was intended for farming households.

After uses: No comment yet

What to like: Better alternative to wood built stores as does not require scare food and is fireproof. Also more secure against theft and less easy access to pests.

What to dislike:

No evidence that it can be fumigated, not possible to relocated it once constructed.


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