Integrated Postharvest Practices to Reduce Losses in Maize Storage for Smallholders

In spite of advances in grain storage, as high as 8 to 23% postharvest losses in maize storage is being reported in Ghana. These losses emanate from poor postharvest practices and use of indigenous storage methods, which are inexpensive to construct and maintain but provide poor protection against biological, physical and environmental hazards. The objective of this study was to demonstrate best practices to reduce losses in maize storage. A study unit involved 50 kg of grain stored in jute bags, polypropylene bags, PICS bags and plastic drums. Each unit was treated with recommended doses of Actellic Super 5EC (80 g Pirimiphos-methyl and 15 g Permithrin/L), Phostoxin (Aluminum phosphate) and a control. From this study, losses of 2.2 to 5.8% was incurred in grain stored in PICS bags and plastic drums as compared to 7.2 to 21.7% losses when stored in jute and polypropylene bags during 12 months of storage. Due to differences in varieties, harvest timing and drying operations among farmers, the use of grain protectants should be considered where prolong storage of 8 to 12 months is anticipated; particularly if jute and polypropylene bags are  to be used.  Treating grain with chemicals may not be necessary when using PICS bags or plastic drums during 1 year of storage. However, the initial condition of grain prior to storage must be examined in this case.

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