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While fulfilling the food demand of an increasing population remains a major global concern, more than one-third of food is lost or wasted in postharvest operations. Reducing the postharvest losses, especially in developing countries, could be a sustainable solution to increase food availability, reduce pressure on natural resources, eliminate hunger and improve farmers’ livelihoods. Cereal grains are the basis of staple food in most of the developing nations, and account for the maximum postharvest losses on a calorific basis among all agricultural commodities. As much as 50%–60% cereal grains can be lost during the storage stage due only to the lack of technical inefficiency. Use of scientific storage methods can reduce these losses to as low as 1%–2%.

--  Reducing Post Harvest Losses, Foods, 2017

Postharvest losses can be extensively avoided. A survey of farmers showed that for 44 per cent of respondents the avoidance of grain losses has been the most positive change brought about by the introduction of silos. The use of silos has helped to increase food security by 30–35 days per year.

The owner of a silo can save more or earn more. Immediately after the harvest, when supply is greatest in local markets as well as in the cities, the price for maize is at its lowest. However, anyone who can safely store the maize for a few months prior to selling can count on a higher price, or conversely on making a saving by not having to buy when the market price is high. At the time of the harvest, between November and February, about 80 per cent of farmers sell their maize rather than storing it in a silo. In the critical period before the next harvest, between March and July, the situation is almost reversed, with 73 per cent selling only maize stored in the silo.

---   RURAL21


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