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close this book Programming and Training for Small Farm Grain Storage
close this folder Part I. Grain storage project programming
View the document A. Grain storage project goals and objectives
View the document B. Assessing local interest in postharvest methods improvement
View the document C. Investigating local storage conditions
View the document D. Developing a strategy for volunteer involvement
View the document E. Determining program support needs
View the document F. Integration of storage project activities with rural development efforts
View the document G. Local and International Programming and Training Resources

D. Developing a strategy for volunteer involvement

There are four basic types of Volunteer postharvest project activities regardless of whether the Volunteers are working full or part-time in grain storage.

1. Pre-extension investigation

The Volunteer investigates farmers, storage and drying practices, the variations, innovations, apparent success and shortcomings of each, and farmers' attitudes toward both postharvest losses and innovation. Investigation results will be used to plan storage improvements and extension programs.

2. Pre-extension improved storage method design and trial demonstration

Following the identification of popular storage methods and their apparent advantages and disadvantages, Volunteers begin to: closely observe the Present methods and compare them to performance after a few simple improvements; assess the practicality of new or improved methods of drying and storage, e.g., solar dryers, metal bins, improved cribs, insecticides, etc.

3. General extension

When a specific method drying, storing, or processing has been identified as advantageous in terms of cost, practicality, and farmer acceptance, Volunteers plan and execute program extension involving:

- the development of materials such as posters, radio spots, 'air exhibits, farm-level storage demonstrations

- agricultural extension agent training

- development of materials delivery networks, such as materials transport organizations, insecticide ordering and supply networks, and credit programs for grain bin construction or grain purchase credit.

4. Grain storage and marketing cooperatives

Where there is potential for farmers cooperatives for storing and marketing individually or cooperatively produced grain, Volunteers assist in: warehouse or bin construction, teaching proper bulk storage methods, teaching cooperative members the operation of the storage scheme and purchasing regulations, setting up record keeping systems, and promoting the formation of new storage arc/or marketing cooperatives.

This section includes job descriptions which give examples or these four basic types of storage projects. The activities in these different project types could be carried on simultaneously, evolve during the Volunteer term or service or evolve over the course of several years, depending on the time available for Volunteer involvement, the advancement of host country interest, and the progress of the project.

The Peace Corps/VITA Small Farm Grain Storage Manual, Appendix E, "Working Paper on the Volunteer Role in Grain Storage," presents a practical discussion of problem assessment, storage method trial demonstration, financial considerations for program support, and extension strategies. It provides useful ideas for to programme, trainer, or Volunteer who is developing a postharvest project.

Appendix A is the report of a recent grain storage programing mssisn for Peace Corps/Costa Rica, which may serve as model for similar programming missions elsewhere.


The Volunteer will:

1. Survey storage practices of representative or typical local farmers to determine storage and drying methods.

2. Maintain accurate records of all observations, following the predetermined techniques and format.

3. Investigate the variations in local storage and drying methods.

4. Identify areas of storage loss by interview, obsession, and storage sampling.

5. Identify insect pests and the levels or infestation.

6. Determine cultural influences and labor divisions in grain storage and handling with particular note to the role of women.

7. Identify availability and cost or storage support materials such as insecticides, cement, metal roofing, new and used sacks, tar, etc.

8. Determine average storage capacities and relative proportions or grain for home consumption and marketing.

9. Investigate market price fluctuations and their influence on grain storage and marketing decisions.

10. Identify farmers with interest to experiment with improved storage methods.

11. Plan potential improved storage design trials, comparing improved storage methods to local unimproved methods.


The primary role of Volunteer is to gather quantifiable data on traditional and improved storage methods in order to identify the most appropriate. The Volunteer will:

1. Construct or select for observation five models of each method to be assessed, e.g., basket and above cooking-fire storage; sealed gourd storage; unimproved crib storage; unimproved mud bin storage; crib with improved rat guard and insecticide treatment; and mortar-sealed mud bin storage.

2. Seek out, read, and review available reports from regional storage regear-A and extension projects to assure the use of the most up-to-date information in the design and testing of local storage methods.

3. Use knowledge or storage principles in the design of improved storage structures.

4. Design and construct improved storage bins and dryers and alter existing storage structures.

5. Make regular, periodic observations of the level and type of insect infestation, the moisture content, and the general storage quality including evidence of rodent entry and depredation.

6. Draw samples from storage bins for analysis of typical storage quality.

7. Teach and supervise the application of fumigant and contact insecticides.

8. Discuss with farmers and extension agents their attitudes and perceptions of the storage methods under observation, with particular emphasis on each method's feasibility, cost, practicality, labor requirements, and performance.

9. Keep accurate records of all observations and measurements.


The Volunteer will:

1. Meet with farmers on an individual and group basis to discuss the Possibility of improved storage methods.

2. Teach extension workers and farmers the basic principles of storage, i.e., moisture and pest control and sanitation.

3. Assist farmers in the construction of new bins or dryers or the adaptation of existing storage structures.

4. Select farmers to operate model sires.

5. Organize farmers visits to model storage sites.

6. Closely monitor model sites to assure roper use arc maintenance of storage quality.

7. Develop visual aids and demonstration techniques in local language for use in schools; develop radio spots also in the local language.

8. Develop simple posters to explain proper use of insecticides, weed control around bins, use of rat guards, etc.

9. Give presentations to local school classes in basic storage principles and explain potential improvements over traditional storage methods.

10. Assist in the selection of farmer recipients for storage construction credit funds.


The Volunteer will:

1. Identify existing farmer cooperatives with an interest in and sufficient capital to construct and maintain a storage warehouse.

2. Explain criteria for government or other grain buying credit.

3. Assist in the procurement and organization or transport of necessary construction materials and storage supplies such as metal roofing, cement, gravel, reinforcing rod, moisture meter, scales, burlap bags, and wood for construction of storage pallets.

4. Supervise warehouse construction to assure maintenance of quality standards and proper installation of rat proofing, moisture barriers, loading ramps, and adequate sealing of doors and air vents.

5. Train warehouse and cooperative managers in proper warehousing techniques including record keeping, storage hygiene, insecticide use, bag labeling and sampling techniques , stacking, and inspection.

6. Supervise the organization of market transport schedules.

7. Organize the transport of neighboring farmers to existing cooperative warehouse sites to discuss warehouse operation.

8. Develop simple posters explaining to farmer members the use of scales and credit payment schedules to build a common trust and understanding of the grain purchase and credit payment system.

9. Periodically review proper storage techniques with area warehouse personnel.

10. Periodically inspect the warehouses to insure proper stacking, hygiene, and repair of storage pallets.

11. Insure timely ordering and procurement of insecticide supplies for each storage season.

12. Establish and maintain grain market price records to assist area cooperatives in locating the highest price markets.