Cover Image
close this bookCARE Food Manual (CARE , 1998, 355 p.)
close this folderChapter 7 - Storage and Handling
close this folderII. Selecting Food Storage Facilities
View the documentA. Criteria
Open this folder and view contentsB. Types of Warehouse Space Available
View the documentC. Determining Warehouse Capacities/Storage Plan

C. Determining Warehouse Capacities/Storage Plan

The amount of warehouse space required is based on the total volume of food and the different types of food. Information in this section is adapted from Part VI, Storage Specifications of the Commodity Reference Guide, Office of Food for Peace, Agency for International Development, January 1988.

Multiplying the length x width x height to the building eaves gives the gross volume in cubic meters, but a warehouse will never use all available space for food. There must be space available for working, ventilation, a space of about one meter between the stacks and walls, space to store materials and equipment for cleaning, and space to store materials used to repackage food.

General Guidelines for Determining Storage Space

· Allocate space for each type of food by shipment number, and all non-food materials and supplies related to food programs. If necessary, use chalk to mark the stack location on the warehouse floor.

· Allow sufficient space for easy access to the stacks for inspecting, loading and unloading. Stacks should be one meter from the walls, with another meter between stacks.

· Allow space for storage of cleaning materials and supplies.

· Allocate areas for damaged food by shipment number.

· Allow sufficient space to repackage damaged food and place it in separate stacks by shipment numbers.

Thus, while a small warehouse may have a gross cubic volume of 150 cubic meters, when taking into consideration the space between stacks, walls and the space between the stack and the eaves, its usable volume is only 48 cubic meters. In addition, non-food items and office space may take up another 15% or 20% of the usable additional space.

The following illustrations show gross dimensions of warehouses and how this volume is used when stacks of food are stored.


Figure 1: Warehouse with one stack of grain.


Figure 2: Warehouse with two stacks of grain.

Once usable volume has been determined, the next step is to calculate how much food can actually be stored in the warehouse. Use the following rules of thumb to estimate the usable space needed for different types of food:

· One metric ton of grain or pulses (twenty 50-kg bags) requires approximately two cubic meters of storage space, whether the twenty bags are end to end or stacked in layers.

· One metric ton of processed food, such as corn soya blends (forty 25-kg bags), will take up slightly less storage space because the bags are less bulky. There is less air and the grains are ground up.

· One metric ton of oil (44 cartons with six tins each) requires approximately 1.4 cubic meters of storage space, whether the 44 cartons are laid out end to end or stacked in layers.

· Similar calculations must be done for materials used to reconstitute damaged food, and for other non-food project materials and supplies.

If one MT of grain (twenty 50 kg bags) takes up approximately two cubic meters of volume, the small warehouse described above can hold 24 MT (420 bags) of corn. However, taking into consideration other possible space needs, subtracting another 5%, usable space may be reduced to approximately 68 cubic meters. In this case, the warehouse could only store around 23 MT of corn.

The illustrations below estimate usable stacking space for small, medium, large and warehouses, taking into consideration from 1 to 8 stacks. The illustrations do not take into account additional space requirements described in the above General Guidelines for Determining Storage Space.

Space Utilization - Usable Stacking Volume in Cubic Meters


Small Warehouse (Height = 3M)


Medium Warehouse (Height = 4M)


Large Warehouse (Height = 5M)


Eight stacks; four meter central gangway