Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers
Improved grain storage structures
Recognize the problem
A number of losses occur after harvest
in maize. Losses may occur during
threshing, winnowing, drying, transporting and processing, by attack of
termites, rodents and domestic animals, especially when maize overstays in
the field after maturity. However, poor storage is the main cause of post-harvest
losses. Poor storage can make the grains turn brown and lose quality, or even
rot. The grains can also be eaten by insects and mice.
To preserve quality, maize can be
stored in bins. These can be made from mud, cement, bricks or ferrocement
(ferrumbu). Traditional storage bins are made of light branches, split bamboo
or other types of sticks. These bins can be improved by plastering both
inside and outside with mud or cement mortar which reduces the temperature
inside the bin. This also prevents the entry of insects such as the larger grain
borer or maize weevils. However, please note that insects could have also
been brought in with the harvest. All storage facilities should be waterproof
to protect the grain from groundwater and rainwater.
a suitable site for construction near the homestead under the shade, and
where no water flows during rain
materials such as cement, sand, stones, bricks, a hoe, a shovel and water
the construction using a hoe and shovel
a stone topped foundation of 25-30 cm with cement mortar or a concrete slab
and cover with a plastic sheet if available
bin walls are built 1-1.5m high with burnt clay bricks and plastered with
either mud or cement mortar although mud bricks may also be used
brick-sized chute for removing the grain is set into the first row of the
bricks as the walls are built
structure is plastered with mud or cement mortar both inside and outside
grain is filled into the bin from the opening on top
bin is closed with a concrete lid.
- When finished, protect the storage with an
overhanging detached roof or even a permanent roof structure against rain.
The recommendations in this factsheet are relevant to:
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