TOPICS: Grain storage systems

The supply of food grains is as significant as their production. This is why the governments of many countries have been striving to make supply management as effective as possible.

For this purpose, efficient methods of harvesting and storing food grains are as important as growing of agricultural production.

In Nepal, farmers lose about 20 per cent of the total output due to unscientific methods of harvesting and storing. This is an expensive waste. It has been estimated that about 250 tons of grains go down the drain in the annual loss in storage.

In the past, the erstwhile government launched the Rural Save Grain Project (RSGP) to reduce the massive waste by promoting grain saving techniques to villages. During the existence of this project, different methods were adopted.

In the context of modifying the traditional grain storage systems that can cut down losses include putting a roof over the maize stack raised some height over the ground by means of bamboo poles and wrapping the stack in polythene sheets to help in reducing moisture in the crop.

A further addition is using metal sheets as a funnel which when placed facing downward can prevent rats from climbing up the bamboo poles. Another modification to a method that has been traditionally applied is using metal sheets to cover the top and bottom openings of the baskets used to store gains.

This method deters rats from chewing their ways into the grains in the baskets.

Also, metal grain storage bins have been made available. However, their cost puts them out of reach of many farmers that are not only effective but are also practical.

In fact, grain storage systems are vital components to general development in the agricultural sector although most people are ignorant about this fact. Therefore, technologies developed in this regard need to take into account the level of the farmers they are directed at.

The practice of modifying the existing grain storage systems is being done at present makes available an efficient and scientific method to farmers with little difficulty in shifting to the new ideas.

No extra cost needs be burdened on the farmers, and this makes them more receptive to modern methods.

This method of transforming technology which takes into account the relevancy to local conditions needs to be followed in other areas of agricultural activities.