Post-harvest technology transfer to reduce on farm grain losses in Kitui district, Kenya
Training and demonstrations on post harvest technology transfer to reduce grain losses at farm level were conducted in five divisions of Kitui district with the overall objective of consolidating what the farmers already knew about storage. It was also to assist them select appropriate storage methods with emphasis on proper application of pest control products. A total of 163 participants were trained in storage pest management covering pest infestation cycle, use of chemical and non-chemical methods of control, storage practices and identification of major pests using specimen and pictures, dangers of mycotoxins on maize followed by on demonstrations.
Farmers demonstrated traditional practices of determining grain moisture content, and shovel mixing, both on the tarpaulin and wheelbarrows. Sticks were other tools used to mix chemical dust with grain on tarpaulins and in the bags. The research team from Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) demonstrated proper use of the shovel and the “fuffle”, a device that is faster and more efficient in mixing grain with chemical dusts.
Treated grain and a control were stored on site in 90-kg bags. Evaluation, based on the level of damage and live infestation was done after 3 months. Despite anomalies like lack of uniformity of grain in different bags depending on source, KARI methods appeared better than farmers’ methods in most instances. Farmers were able to make informed decisions based on the mixing methods which gave better results. The fuffle was an effective tool for mixing grain with chemical dusts and farmers were keen to have it fabricated by local artisans. Farmers appreciated the training and demonstration and promised to adopt proper grain preservation techniques as demonstrated to improve grain quality.
Keywords: Post harvest, Technology transfer, Grain losses, Farmers
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