Notes to broadcasters
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Farmers who use poor grain storage methods risk losing much more than just a percentage of their harvested grain. They will lose a portion of everything they have invested in the crop, including their time and money. This script encourages farmers to use effective grain storage methods to preserve their harvest.
To accompany this script, you might want to have an on-air discussion with farmers about local storage techniques. Ask if they are using traditional storage methods, and what the advantages are. What improvements have farmers themselves made to traditional stores? These could include things like raising the platform of a traditional granary, or adding rat guards to the legs of the granary. The important thing is to facilitate a discussion on air about the different options available to farmers in your region. You may want to invite researchers or extension agents to join the discussion.
-Do you lose any of the grain you store to pests or moisture damage? Your loss is more than just a percentage of your harvested grain. You’re also losing your investment: the time and money you put into your crop. It’s important to use good storage methods to preserve your harvest. Here are some things to remember:
- Use a storage method that is appropriate for the climate, and your crop.
- Dry your grain well before you store it.
- Clean your grain well before you store it.
- Keep your stores clean and tidy.
Today, we’re going to hear about Farmer Kato and Farmer Nelson, both farmers, who also are friends and neighbours. One day, after all his maize has been harvested, Nelson invites Kato to his home. Kato gets a surprise when he sees a pile of grain sitting on the floor in Nelson’s kitchen. Let’s listen now to their conversation.
-Nelson — what is this pile of grain here in your kitchen?
-It’s just what it looks like – my maize harvest!
) But… what is it doing on your kitchen floor?
-That’s how I store my grain – in a pile on my kitchen floor. That’s how I’ve always done it.
-But Nelson, don’t you know that you’ll lose some of your grain to pests this way?
-I know. But I expect a loss – it’s normal. Anyway, I lose only a small portion of the grain. And it’s a cheap way to store it.
-It’s not as cheap as you think. You’re losing much more than just a few grains! You’re losing a portion of everything you put into producing your crop.
-Well, you have to consider all the inputs you used to produce this crop.
-I still don’t know what you’re talking about.
-Nelson, remember back to when you first planted this grain crop. You bought the seeds. You bought some fertilizer.
-That cost a lot of money.
-Exactly! What else did you invest in the crop?
-I spent a lot of time planting, and then weeding all through the season. Then of course, there was the harvest.
-Yes. So you spent both money and time to produce the crop you see before you now. Your grain represents the time and money you invested. And each time an insect or a rat carries some off, they are also robbing you of your time and money.
-Yes, but you can prevent them from stealing from you.
-Well, I store my shelled maize in a metal bin. No thieves can get in there! But that’s just one possibility. My neighbour uses sacks. In some places farmers use underground pits to store maize. It all depends on the crop you’re growing, which pests are problems, and the climate. You have to choose the method that suits you best.
-Well…you have given me a lot to think about.
-Yes. Without proper grain storage, you have a lot to lose – food, time, and money!
-Many farmers assume they will lose a portion of their grain to pests after harvest. But, as you’ve heard, farmers lose much more than meets the eye if they don’t use proper grain storage. Thank you to Farmer Kato, played by ______________, and Farmer Nelson, played by ______________ for reminding us to store our grain properly.
Contributed by Jennifer Pittet, Thornbury, Canada.
Reviewed by Peter Golob, Agricultural Consultant, Lincolnshire, UK.
Pest management in farm granaries, by Robin Boxall, Peter Golob, Robert Taylor, 1997. Natural Resources Institute, Central Avenue, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, United Kingdom.
For more information about storing, handling and processing foods, please contact François Mazaud, Post-harvest Management Group, Food and Agriculture Organization, Viale delle Terme de Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org URL:http://www.fao.org/inpho/.