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Abstract, Natural Resources Institute, 1995

Appropriate technologies for small-scale, on-farm grain storage in sub-Saharan Africa are reviewed and assessed in the light of the current pressures resulting from the liberalisation of grain markets. The study was based on a literature survey of recent storage innovations, visits to countries in the SADC region and replies to questionnaires sent to agriculture ministries and other organisations to ascertain the extent to which improved procedures were being promoted and adopted.

The reasons for storage, and the factors which may affect the choice of a particular storage system, are noted. The construction, uses, cost and efficiency of the six main storage methods (drying/storage cnb, basket, metal tank, mud block/brick silo, pit and grain bag) are compared and contrasted; some suggestions for improvements are included.

The problems with high-yielding, improved varieties of maize are assessed with reference to their retention on the farm. It is concluded that support for small-scale, post-harvest storage projects is justified and necessary, but recommendations should reflect social, agroclimatic and economic issues as well as individual need. In most cases, grain bags would be adequate for supplementing storage capacity.