| Programming and Training for Small Farm Grain Storage |
|Part I. Grain storage project programming|
Volunteer involvement in postharvest grain storage projects will often depend on the level of government interest and commitment to this area of development. It has not often been recognized that postharvest problems are within the realm of the agricultural extension service or that reducing postharvest losses is a potential solution to the problem of increasing the food supply. In countries where postharvest concerns are not a high priority, the first task may be to alert government officials to their importance. Lack of interest should not necessarily be assumed to be an accurate indicator of the local importance of grain storage problems.
Some initial areas of investigation to determine government interest include:
(1) Is there a government organization or office specifically devoted to postharvest research. or extension? This role has recently been undertaken by plant protection offices in many agricultural ministries whose principal interests are with preharvest concerns such as in-field plant diseases and in-field bird, rodent, and insect infestations.
(2) Has the government made any efforts in postharvest grain loss reduction through educational programs for insecticide use, storage loss assessment, or improved drying or storage design research?
(3) What is the comparative importance of local development efforts in postharvest versus production areas? (e.g., in terms of budge-, training, personnel, research, etc.)
(4) What training do extension agents receive in grain storage principles, improved drying and storage methods, and insecticide use?
(5) Do civil servants in agricultural extension or research believe that improved grain storage would increase the food supply? Do they feel that storage losses are significant? What do they think can or should be done about the problems?
(6) Is there an annual grain market price fluctuation, notably with high market prices occurring just before each new harvest? How does this affect farmer's storage practices?
(7) Do farmers think that they lose a lot or grain during storage, crying, or transport? Have they tried different ways to reduce the losses? Do they know of ways to reduce the losses?