The Zeer Pot- Preserving Our Food

If you live in Nigeria like me and you are reading this, chances are that you have problems with electricity in your town or city. We have a good-sized refrigerator, but we cannot power them with charcoal?
Change Your Food Storage Mind-set
Do you know more food than you might think can go for some time without refrigeration and remain safe to eat?
Do you know the optimal temperature to store fruits and veggies is between 10  and 13 degree Celsius with low humidity?
Do you know the Zeer Pot is a new invention, created in 1995 by a Nigerian pot-maker by the name of Mohammed Bah Abba who wanted to help Sudanese families to preserve their food?
Do know his invention won him the Rolex Award in 2000 and the World Shell Award for Sustainable Development in 2001?
The zeer pot also called the pot-in-pot refrigerator as the name implies is a small earthenware pot placed inside a larger one, and the space between the two filled with moist sand.
The inner pot is filled with fruit, vegetables or soft drinks and covered with a wet cloth.
Abba, who hails from a family of potmakers, tapped into the large unemployed local workforce and hired skilled pot makers to mass-produce the first batch of 5,000 Pot-in-Pots.

1 First, bowl-shaped moulds are created from mud and water – and left to dry in the sun. Clay is then pressed onto the moulds to form the desired size of pot. Clay rims and bases are added and the moulds are removed. The pots are left to dry in the sun.

2 Once the pots have been fired in a pit of sticks, the zeer pot is ready to assemble. A smaller pot is placed inside a larger one, and the space in between filled with sand.

3 The whole structure is then placed on a large iron stand. This allows the air to flow underneath and aid the cooling process.

4 Twice a day, water is added to the sand between the pots so that it remains moist. The entire assembly is left in a dry, ventilated place.

5 Fruit, vegetables and sorghum – a type of cereal prone to fungal infestation if not preserved – are then placed in the smaller pot, which is covered with a damp cloth.

6 In the heat, the water contained in the sand evaporates towards the outer surface of the larger pot. This evaporation brings about a drop in temperature of several degrees, cooling the inner pot and extending the shelf life of the perishable food inside.
Impact of the zeer fridge pot cannot be over emphasised as it has a significant result on the shelf life of the various crop and vegetable.
In the hot weather of Sudan, Hawa Abbas used to lose half of her tomato, okra and carrot crop. She shared her thought    “They keep our vegetables fresh for 3-4 weeks, depending on the type of crop. They are very good in a hot climate such as ours where fruit and vegetables get spoiled in one day.”
Mohammed Bah Abba speaks on his invention and its impact. Watch this video
This blog post was contributed by Akinsanya Tomiwa, a vibrant youth in agriculture. He currently works as part of the IITA Youth Agripreneur.
You can read other articles from him via his blog 



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s