New tech sacks to save billions
Published Tue, May 8th 2018 at 00:00, Updated May 7th 2018 at 23:12 GMT +3
A new technology has been introduced in the region to help reduce maize farmers’ losses due to poor storage, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Ministry officials said maize farmers last year lost up to Sh15 billion post-harvest due to poor storage.
Protests as NCPB puts maize stock up for sale
The technology, Purdue Improved Crop Storage (Pics), is expected to allow farmers to store grain for up to five years without having to use any preservatives.
“Once tied properly, no pests can penetrate it. If any pests are inside the maize after packing it in Pics bags, they will be suffocated,” said Kevin Owino, who is responsible for communication at One Acre Fund, the distributors of the sacks.
Mr Owino said the firm had distributed 370,000 Pics bags to small-scale farmers in the country since 2013.
According to the official, farmers using the bags had reduced their losses. The firm also offered farm inputs and seeds to farmers for a Sh500 deposit.
According to Josephine Khavutsi, a small-scale maize farmer from Buchina village, the new maize storage technology and farm inputs have been a game-changer.
“Initially, I harvested 10 bags in 2015 after getting fertiliser. Five bags were destroyed by weevils. Then they supplied us with Pics bags, and all the maize was intact at the time of selling it,” Ms Khavutsi said.
Josephine Kweyu (pictured), who used to make losses of up to 10 bags of maize every year, said she did not lose a single bag last season.
Other countries using the Pics technology include Niger, Ghana, Togo, Cameroon, Senegal, Mali, Benin, Nigeria, Chad, and Burkina Faso.
War against armyworms could cost Sh1 billion