A farmer using the hermetic bag s to store grains. The bag keeps off storage pests for over two years. PHOTO COURTESY,
Farmers can keep off grain destroying pests for two years without chemicals after the USAID Kenya and the Ministry of Agriculture launched hermetic bags, which suffocate any crop storage enemies.
The official launch follows years of testing for efficacy in taming maize, wheat, beans, cowpeas, among other grains destroying organisms such as weevils and moths.
According to the USAID Kenya, more than three million bags of maize will be saved annually if farmers adopt these of the bags.
This would translate to saving at least 270million kilogrammes of grains per year, therefore boosting food security and profits for agripreneurs.
"Hermetic storage technology provides safe, cost-effective storage solutions. Hermetic bags enable farmers to keep grain year-round, without pesticide application, for household consumption while providing the household with a marketable asset in case of emergency."
"Improved grain retention also generates smart income for farmers by giving them the opportunity to sell when market prices are more favorable," said USAID Economic Growth Chief Officer to Kenya Michael Nicholson.
Innovation in the insecticide sector has not marched the mutation of storage crop destroying agents. For instance the commonest weevil nick-named “Osama” by Kenyan farmers destroys tonnes of maize even with excess application of pesticides.
It starts from the fields into the stores.
Osama can 90kg bag of maize into ‘flour’ and shells in a few weeks after storage.
But since the hermetic bags are air-tight as a result of the polythene layer linings, any living organism on the maize suffocates to death a few hours after packaging.
The sack is tough, therefore, it does not allow for fresh invasion.
Besides, the bags eliminate chemical residue on grains.
World Food Programme approximates that post harvest loses stand at 40 per cent globally. This includes rotting due to rotting as a result of poor drying or storage facilities and destruction by pests.
The grains, for example maize, therefore, should be dried to attain a moisture content of 12 per cent to 14 per cent. Excess moisture leads to growth of aflatoxins, making the food unfit for consumption.
Speaking during the official launch of the bags this week, Ministry of Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said the sacks could help in dealing with hunger.
The sacks are sold with the Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS), GrainPro-Super Grain, Zero Fly, Agro-Z, and Elite bags brand names.