Neem Protects Stored Grain

AgriculturePost-harvest activities


Using neem leaves is a simple, no‑cost way to keep insect pests out of the baskets, sacks, bins and pots where you keep your grain.  Farmers in India and other places where neem trees grow have been using neem leaves to protect stored grain for centuries.

Put a thin layer, about 1 1/2 centimetres, of fresh neem leaves in the bottom of whatever container you use to store grain.  On top of that put in a layer of sun dried grain about 30 centimetres thick.  Then put in another thin layer of neem, and on top of that another 30 centimetres of grain.  Keep on alternating a thin layer of neem leaves with a thicker layer of grain up to the top of the container.  Then close it up.  Your grain will be safe from insects.

You can also use dried, ground neem leaves to protect grain. Dry the leaves in the shade.  They will keep their green colour, which shows that they can still keep away insects.  Then grind the leaves into powder with a mortar and pestle.

In India, some farmers take this dried green neem leaf powder and mix it with clay and water.  They use about 10 grams of powder for every kilogram of clay.  Then they use enough water to make a sticky plaster.  They use the plaster to cover the inside of their grain storage containers with it.

After the neem plaster dries, they put a layer of shade‑dried neem leaves all over the bottom of the container.  Then they fill the container with grain.  Then they put another layer of dry neem leaves on top and close the container.

This simple method is an effective way to keep out harmful insects for a full year.  But the dry grain you store must be free from pests when you put it into the container.  Otherwise, the protection will not work.

Another method which has been used for centuries is mixing powdered neem leaves in with grain stored in sacks.  Mix 1 or 2 kilograms of neem leaf powder with every 100 kilograms of seed.

Your sacks of seed will be safe for about 6 months.

The neem powder does not affect the flavour or smell of the grain, and it is safe to eat.

Neem trees grow quickly, they are strong, and they do well even in poor, stony soil.  If you have neem trees nearby, or plant some around your home, you will have a free source of pest control for stored grain.


This script is based on the previous Network script, “Neem Trees Provide Safe No‑Cost Control of Many Insects Part 4‑Protection of Stored Grains,” Package 16, Script 7.

Information sources

G. Venkataramani, Agricultural Correspondent, The Hindu, Kasturi Buildings, Anna Salai, Madras ‑ 600 002, INDIA.

Dr. Ramesh C. Saxena, International Rice Research Institute, P.O. Box 933, Manila, PHILIPPINES.

Dr. A. Abdul Kareem, International Rice Research Institute, P.O. Box 933, Manila, PHILIPPINES.