Effects of wall linings on moisture ingress into traditional grain storage pits

A.T. Abdalla, C.J. Stigter, H.A. Mohamed, A.E. Mohammed, M.C. Gough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing climate variability, resulting in frequent years of poor rainfall, has recently subjected the traditional subsistence farmers in the Central Clay Plain of the Sudan to longer periods of food shortage. However, excess production in years of good rainfall could bridge the gap of years with poor rainfall if the grain is properly stored. Resource-poor farmers have tried several linings to improve the traditional underground pit (”matmura") they use for storage of sorghum. In the experimental study described here, pits with two types of lining: (i) a mixture of mud, cow dung and straw and (ii) sorghum chaff, were compared with unlined pits. Six closed pits were used, two for each type, and temperature and moisture content were monitored. It was found that the temperature increased in all pits and at all positions within the pits, with few differences between the linings. Moisture levels also increased everywhere but the sources of moisture were at the sides and bottoms of the pits. The chaff-lined pits were superior to the others because they showed smaller increases in moisture content at all positions and thus maintained a better quality of sorghum. Joint traditional assessments with local farmers after the pits were opened supported these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-80
JournalInternational Journal of Biometeorology
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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