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    Hermetic bags keep off grain pests for over 2 years

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    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.

    READ ALSO:Zero Fly stor­age bags to re­duce post har­vest loses by 30%

    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.

    READ ALSO:Unique silos in­su­late farm­ers from weevil at­tacks

    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.

    READ ALSO:Layered stor­age bags choke pests, re­du­cing post har­vest losses

    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.

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