Protecting farmers' incomes through advances in grain storage

Purdue University | Afghanistan

$88,400 | Stage 1: Proof of Concept | Agriculture & Food Security

The problem: Profit losses due to crop storage constraints


Purdue's Improved Cowpea Storage Bags
Beksoubo Damienne

Grain storage loss due to moisture, insects, mold, mildew, and rodents can cost farmers 25%-30% of their yield for the season. In Afghanistan, 30 million people depend on stored grains for consumption, and 24 million people reside in rural areas where farmers experience high storage losses of grains and grain legumes. Due to unreliable storage options, these farmers sell their crops at harvest time when prices are at their lowest, and pay higher prices later in the year to purchase cowpeas back for food.

The solution: Hermetic grain storage technology

Hermetic storage bags are an ancient idea that was adapted by Purdue scientists in Cameroon and Senegal to address the problem of grain storage loss. Purdue’s hermetic grain storage technology is a triple-layer bag composed of two inner liners and an outer sack of woven polypropylene, which can almost eliminate grain storage losses from insects and can greatly reduce losses from mold and mildew. With Stage 1 support from DIV, Purdue University will lay the groundwork to develop the supply chain in Afghanistan for hermetic grain storage bags that substantially improve on-farm storage of grains and grain legumes.

The potential: Cost effectiveness, impacts, and implications

To foster the development of the supply chain, Purdue will identify competitive manufacturers in Afghanistan and launch a wholesale and retail distribution system for the bags. The DIV seed grant will enable Purdue to assess the potential profitability and sustainability for hermetic storage bags in Afghanistan. 

Effective use of the bags could reduce wheat storage loss from 25-30% to 5-10%.

Visit the Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage website and watch videos about the team's programs in Africa to learn more.

Last updated: August 28, 2015

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