Farmers have been urged to buy the newly launched grain storage bags that are affordable and efficient.
With the hermetic storage technology (HST) comes specially designed storage bags that provide moisture and insect control without pesticides. The technology, launched by the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) this week, will save the country heavy post-harvest losses estimated at more than Sh50 billion.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett while unveiling the bags on Thursday, said the new technology will go a long way in boosting the country’s food security.
USAid has partnered with county governments and agricultural stakeholders to popularise the bags in all the 47 counties. Trans Nzoia Deputy Governor Stanley Tarus while flagging off the caravan, carrying the bags, that will be moving across the county this week urged the farmers to take advantage of the campaign.
Trans Nzoia is one of the leading cereals producing counties in Kenya. A manufacturer of the bags, Isaac Muge said a sack will retail at Sh200 during the campaign period and Sh250 after the month-long exercise. Mr Muge said the bags are durable because the inner polythene layer is first sealed after filling it with dry cereals while ensuring the bag is air tight.
No chemicals used
The sacks which are reusable for up to three years can be used to store maize, beans, cow peas, green grams, millet among other cereals. USAid technical director in charge of maize George Orido, said the the technology has been proven safe for humans since no chemicals are applied to preserve the grains. He said there was no reduction on the quantity of produce stored for the maximum recommended period.
“The technology has been well researched on and will help reduce post-harvest losses,” said Mr Orido.
The campaign to promote use of the bags dubbed “Zuia njaa na gunia tano kwa kila jamii’ also targets other African countries.
Trans Nzoia county Chief Officer for Agriculture Mary Nzomo noted that about 30 per cent of maize produce go to waste every year thanks to post harvest losses.