|Programming and Training for Small Farm Grain Storage |
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Traditional farming methods are based on centuries of experience and trial and errors Traditional farmers generally make effective, if not ingenious, use of the resources available co them in storing their grain. There are widely varied methods of grain storage at the subsistence and traditional farm level. Some methods are more successful than others, with relatively high losses in some areas and relatively low losses in others.
This Handbook is designed to aid Volunteers in identifying storage problems and devising solutions to them. Often, the improvement of traditional storage methods will entail the introduction of new or non-local materials, along with new methods and concepts for their use. This introduction of new resources, concepts and behaviors requires not only technical competence, but also cultural awareness and sensitivity to the needs, attitudes and priorities of the farmer.
The approach of this Handbooks to technological innovation is based on the concept of Appropriate Technology, favoring technologies based on the local needs and resources of the farmer. This approach will generally be based on innovations which are inexpensive and labor intensive and which favor an improvement rather than replacement of the technology presently in use. Thus, the introduction or non-local or imported materials should be kept a. a minimum. There will be circumstances in which significant departures from traditional storage methods will offer the best practical avenue for improvement of storage conditions. However, this can only be determined after other, less complex, radical, or costly alternatives have been found impractical. The emphasis for ail innovations should be on simplicity, practicality, and local resources.
This Handbook is designed for use by Peace Corps agricultural programmers, trainers, and Volunteers. It provides guidance and technical resources for:
Identifying farm-level storage projects as primary and secondary Volunteer activities.
Defining project goals and objectives.
Defining the Volunteer Job.
Defining needs for pre- and in-service training and Volunteer self-instruction.
Planning and conducting training sessions.
Locating technical resource organizations to aid in the support of storage project planning programming and training, and ongoing activities.
Because there are significant variations from country to country and even within countries in agricultural, economic, political, climatic, and cultural factors as well as in the level of Volunteer skills, general guidelines and information in this Handbook will require local adaptation.
Because there is considerable overlap in the technical materials required for programming and training of grain storage projects, there are references in sections of the Handbook to other sections as well as references to the Peace Corps/VITA Small Farm Grain Storage Manual and other supplementary technical resources. The technical materials presented in this Handbook, when used in conjunction with the aforementioned manual and Handling and Storage of Food Grains in Topical and Subtropical Areas are sufficiently complete for the needs of Peace Corps programming and training. The use of local expertise will certainly improve quality of technical information and expertise to support Volunteer training and activities.
This Handbook is specifically designed for use in programming and training generalist Volunteers. Generalist Volunteers have effectively worked in the area of small farm grain storage in several countries and have been instrumental both in developing and popularizing improved storage methods at the farm level and in building local government interest and commitment to this area of agricultural development. That is not to say that generalists are the only Volunteers recommended for grain storage projects. But they are certainly capable of working in this area if they are programmed into projects for which they have been trained in appropriate skills and in which they are provided with technical supervision. The quality and competence of generalist Volunteer development activities depends directly on the quality and competence of the training and technical support .
Knowledge of and the use of all available technical resources are critical to the success of Volunteer activities, particularly in the case of generalist Volunteers. Potential sources of technical expertise and information available through worldwide organizations are listed in Section G. Local and International Programming and Training Resources. These are valuable resources of which Volunteers, trainers, and programmers are strongly encouraged to take full advantage.