G15 Building clamps for storing roots

Food Security
  • Tubers can also be stored in ‘clamps’. These are holes dug in the ground, lined with straw or leaves, filled with roots and then covered with more straw and earth or sand.
  • Clamps need to be checked regularly to make sure that any rotting roots are removed quickly before the rot spreads.
  • Underground storage pits are also common in many dry areas and are an excellent method of storing cured tubers. Putting roots in sacks allows them to be removed easily and may help to prevent any disease and pests from spreading. 


  • What are the local storage practices? What are the most serious problems? Can they be solved? How do they compare with these methods?
  • If plastic bags or sacks are used in clamps, they may cause the roots to ‘sweat’ and encourage rotting. Are cloth, jute or strong paper sacks available?
  • Try building an underground ‘clamp’ and compare this storage method with those used at present. Clamps can vary in size, depending on the quantity of roots to be stored and the level of the water table. A depth of 1–1.5 metres is common.