Hermetic bags solution to postharvest losses

It’s the dream of every farmer to realise a bumper harvest and sell produce at a good price. At times, storing the crop to sell later is a sure means to better earnings. Similarly, a food trader who buys the produce in bulk at harvest time, preserves the stock and waits for attractive prices as he strives to maintain the commodity in perfect condition.
However, this is not always the case, since traditional preservation methods and poor storage techniques often fail to prevent wastage from pests and diseases.
Post-harvest losses of staple foods continue to pose a major threat to food security. Food is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain, from the farm down to the consumption stage.
This loss occurs during threshing, shelling, drying, storage and transport. Current overall post-harvest losses stand at about 10 to 30 per cent depending on the crop, with that of cereals estimated at 10 per cent. For maize alone, with 42,500,000 bags (of 90 kg) produced last year, wastage amounted to about Ksh10.8 billion.
At 10 per cent loss, some 4.25 million bags valued at about Ksh1 billion goes to waste. This is a huge loss, but it can be reduced through appropriate technologies, mainly during storage. Minimising such losses could play an important role in boosting food security.
As well as the loss of food value, poor quality leads to reduction in marketing opportunities and nutritional value and can pose serious health hazards if linked to the consumption of aflatoxin contaminated produce. Hermetic Storage Technology (HST) is the latest innovation to reduce post- harvest losses, raise the incomes of smallholders and make the country food secure.
It has been billed as a safe and cost-effective solution for households for the storage of dried maize, red beans, cow peas, green grams, sorghum, millet, chick peas and other cereals.
What is Hermetic Storage Technology (HST)?
Simply called hermetic bags, they preserve the dried cereals and pulses without the use of any pesticide dust. They have outer Woven Polypropylene (WPP) bags and the inner liners.
The WPP bag is for the protection of the inner liners that give the best hermetic properties to block gases and water vapour. Once the hermetic bag is closed as per the instructions provided, oxygen and other gases are prevented from entering or exiting.
This protects the dried grains and pulses from damage that mostly occurs during post-harvest storage and suffocates any living organisms inside.
The stored grain can last up to two years and the bag is reusable. Improved storage allows farmers to reap the benefits of improved prices by delaying sales until prices rise
READ FULL STORY IN ISSUE 34 here http://smartfarmerkenya.com/magazine/

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  1. Good info. What are retail outlets for hermetic bags in Nairobi, Nakuru, Kericho, Kisumu and Bungoma?.


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