By Albert Makendenge
One of the main issues that are usually talked about when it comes food insecurity is, most certainly, the aspect of post-harvest losses. One of the causes of yield reductions or losses after harvesting is the lack of proper storage facilities which may lead to rotting and decay. Below are some of the storage methods that farmers can employ in order to keep their produce at low temperatures and low humidity conditions and thus prevent rotting, decay and reductions in quality.
Modern facilities for storage of grains in large quantities for instance are silos, which can either be deep or shallow bins, depending on the preferences and resource capabilities of the farmer. Silos are generally circular with conical bottom. Apart from steel, these silos or bulk storage bins can also be made from reinforced concrete, mild steel block sheet, aluminum sheet, fiber glass or even bricks. Farmers therefore have a wide variety of materials to choose from and they can simply make use of that material which is easily with their budget.
The advantages of modern storage bins or silos is that they come with less costs and easier handling of contents (in the case that the farmer is able to provide for auto motion/mechanization) and make for easy quality control. They also require less space and farmers store a lot in a relatively small space on the farm and free up land for other activities. These bins also come with, if properly built and secured, much greater protection from rodents and birds.
All of the aforementioned advantages provide for better storage conditions and therefore go a long way in preventing post-harvest losses. A reduction in post-harvest losses also then means an improvement in returns and food security.