The government through the ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and fisheries launched a six month campaign to educate small scale farmers on the new agricultural technology dubbed Hermetic Storage Technology Bags.
Hermetic bags-these are air tight bags that prevent air/water from getting into the cereals stored in them. Additionally, and perhaps quite important is the fact that these bags preserve the contents while restricting the existence of cereal pests by depleting oxygen supply levels and producing carbon dioxide. The resulting conditions create unfavorable conditions for the existence of such pests.
Other benefits of storing cereals in hermetic bags include; great reduction of possible grain and cereal losses with the ability to store contents for a maximum of up-to two years while retaining their distinct quality.
In addition hermetic bags greatly address the human health and safety challenges posed by the earlier conventional method of treating stored cereals and grain with pesticides. With these bags, no pesticides is required to treat such stored grains and cereals. Effectively, consumption of such contents in future are highly less likely to pose health challenges attributed to pesticides.
It is important to note that this technology has been run on a trial basis in Kenya and other countries before been validated and recommended for diversification and up-scaling on a commercial level. However, evidence has shown that for such technology to be effective, only dried grains/cereals free of moisture can be stored.
According to statistics the country experiences 10-30 percent losses brought by poor post-harvest management, a greater percentage been experienced during the storage process. Currently we have over 1.5 million Kenyans facing hunger, with the introduction of hermetic bags these farmers will in future be able to store their harvests for extended periods and utilize them during critical seasons rather than selling their harvests immediately after harvests for fear of associated post-harvest losses.
KAAA was present at the launch in support of this bold move that is envisaged to address the post-harvest management challenge and other challenges for our communities.
Currently a hermetic bag is retailing at Kes 250/= and there are only five authorized manufacturers of certified hermetic technology bags namely: Purdue Improved Crop Storage(PICS), ZeroFly Storage Bags, Elite Storage Bags, GrainPro Storage Bags and AgroZ Storage Bags.