Chemical, physical and organic hermetic storage technology for stored-product protection in African countries


Abstract: A myriad of beetle and moth pests associated with durable grains and processed food cause considerable quantitative and qualitative losses throughout the world. Currently, there is lack of reliable and verifiable data on postharvest losses in most African countries. Many tools are available for protecting stored food against pest infestation including the use of contact insecticides and fumigants, botanicals, inert dusts, irradiation, biological control agents as well as appropriate modified atmospheres through metal silo and hermetic storage technology. This paper focuses on the advances in stored-product protection in sub-Sahara Africa with emphasis on chemical, inert dusts and organic hermetic storage technology with the view to identifying critical challenges and information gaps that need further research. Although pest management strategies are changing to meet consumer’s demand for food free of chemical residues, address concerns about safety of insecticides to humans, delay insecticide resistance development in insects and comply with stricter pesticide regulations, the use of synthetic contact insecticides will continue to be a major component of stored product pest management programmes. Selective use of contact insecticides requires a thorough understanding and evaluation of risks, costs and benefits. Inert dusts and organic hermetic storage technology may be a safe, cost-effective and environmentally friendly method of grain preservation against pest infestation among low-resource poor farmers in developing countries who store small amounts of grains. It must be emphasized that for sustainable stored product protection, a combination of the various control options in an integrated and compatible manner is imperative. Integrated pest management (IPM) as a knowledge-based system, is rapidly providing a framework to reduce dependence on synthetic chemical pesticides. A major research priority is well-designed on-farm trials to validate the efficacy of locally available inert dusts for stored-product protection using standard procedures and formulations that can be transferred to other communities. The current knowledge of organic hermetic storage technology, its availability and adoption is limited. Appropriate knowledge transfer techniques needs to be developed and disseminated widely to encourage the uptake of the technology for grain protection in Africa.

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