NAIROBI – In a collaborative effort between the Kenyan government and private sector entities, a new technology in the form of hermetic storage bags is set to safeguard farmers’ grains from post-harvest losses caused by pests and environmental factors.
According to Kenya News Agency, Technical Sales and Product Development Manager at Packaging Industries Limited (PIL), the Mavuno Bora Hermetic storage bag has been engineered to maintain an air-tight environment that effectively preserves the quality and freshness of stored grains by eliminating oxygen, which in turn restricts pest activity. She spoke about this innovation during an interview with the Kenya News Agency (KNA), emphasizing the significant role such advancements play in the conservation of agricultural produce.
This storage solution has been further enhanced by a novel feature that repels rodents – a primary concern in agricultural storage. Malde detailed the integration of non-toxic, food-grade additives within the bag’s material, which act as a deterrent to rodents, thereby reducing the risk of infestation and damage to the stored grains.
Further elaborating on the technical aspects, Malde pointed out that the newly designed bags include a single hermetic liner with an Ethylene Vinyl Alcohol (EVOH) layer, which provides superior gas barrier properties compared to traditional High-density polyethylene (HDPE) liners. The EVOH layer’s exceptional ability to prevent oxygen and moisture ingress extends the shelf life of the produce and guarantees an infestation-free storage environment.
The effectiveness of the Mavuno Bora Hermetic storage bag has been corroborated by tests conducted by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KARLO), which has endorsed the product. The organization’s recommendation signifies a substantial leap forward in the methodology of food preservation within Kenya and possibly in international markets.
Paddy Likhayo from KALRO’s Entomology department highlighted their ongoing research in pest prevention. He shared results from field tests where the bags were distributed to farmers across various Kenyan counties. These tests revealed a significant reduction in rodent damage compared to traditional storage methods.
In addition to grain storage, PIL has also developed ‘Mama Silage bags,’ designed to preserve animal fodder, thereby reinforcing the stability of livestock farming in Kenya. These bags address the critical need for sustainable animal feed solutions, especially during drought conditions.
With Kenya experiencing significant post-harvest losses in key crops like maize due to insect pests, these innovative bags present a promising avenue to curb such wastage. The hermetic bags, now available in agricultural shops nationwide, come at a time when the country seeks to reinforce food security and enhance agricultural practices.
This introduction of rodent repellent hermetic bags, as Malde and Likhayo suggest, could mark a new era for Kenya’s agriculture sector, impacting food security, economic stability for farmers, and leading to more sustainable agricultural practices.