by Mkulima Young correspondent
On the shores of Lake Victoria in Budalangi, Busia County, fishermenand fish tradershave no cold storage facilities, but that does not bother them.
Well, this is because the traders have found an innovative way to prolong the shelf-life of their produce.
The method is cheaper, ordinary and home-made but very effective as the traders are able to keep their fish for up to four days longer.
The fish tradersuse what they call ice baskets, which you too can make on the farm and keep your tomatoes, fruits and vegetables fresh this Christmas in case you have no refrigerator.
The baskets are made from papyrus reeds or sisal, but one can also use their kiondo.
To convert a basket into a refrigerator, one first places inside it a polythene gunny bag, followed by two thick polythene bags.
Inside the polythene bags one then puts ice cubes, which you can make at home or buy from a supplier.
The traders in Budalangi then place fish inside the bags with ice cubes and seal nicely.
"For efficacy, we put inside the baskets several polythene bags and wrap in fish. If you put the fish in one huge bag, opening it at once will expose the fish, tomatoes or fruits," said Slyvia Atieno, a fish trader at Marenga Beach.
Using the technology will enable you keep your produce a little longer - in this case fish for up to four days depending on the quality of the ice cubes.
"We are no longer worried that our products will go bad because we don't have refrigerator. These baskets give us more time to sell," she added.
According to her, in each polythene bag, it is advisable to put 50 fish at most or 30 mangoes.
"This helps prevent one from breaking the cold chain and exposing the produce since you don't open all the polythene bags at once," said Atieno.
The ice baskets have become key in fish trading on the shores of the lake, with fishermen also using them when going into deep waters for days.
Mercy Abonyo, a fish trader, said initially, they would be forced to sell fish at low prices because they had no storage facilities but that is now behind them.
A basket goes for between Sh300 and Sh1,000 depending on the size, meaning one gets a cheaper option as compared to modern refrigerators.