New Hermetic Bags Enhance Grain Storage Efficiency in Kenya

Nairobi – A significant advancement has been made in the agricultural sector with the introduction of hermetic storage technology bags, a development brought forth through a collaboration between the government and the private sector, aimed at preserving farmers’ harvests and reducing post-harvest losses.

According to Kenya News Agency, the technical sales and product development manager at Packaging Industries Limited (PIL), the company has unveiled the Mavuno Bora Hermetic storage bag, a product that employs a chemical-infused plastic liner designed to repel rodents. This innovation is positioned to create an air-tight environment that maintains the quality and freshness of stored produce.

The Mavuno Bora Hermetic storage bag, which includes rodent repulsion technology, is the first of its kind in the region, offering a non-toxic solution to a pervasive challenge in agricultural storage. Malde elaborated that the new bag design integrates a single hermetic liner with a high-barrier Ethylene Vinyl Alcohol (EVOH) layer, providing significant improvements over the traditional double-liner High-density polyethylene (HDPE) bags in terms of gas barrier properties and shelf life extension.

This new technology has undergone rigorous evaluation by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KARLO), which has recommended the bags for wider adaptation after successful testing earlier this year. This endorsement highlights the potential of the hermetic storage bags to transform food preservation and storage practices in Kenya and potentially, in similar agricultural economies.

Paddy Likhayo from KALRO’s department of Entomology emphasized the importance of these technologies in both field and storage pest prevention. Trials involving farmers in various counties have demonstrated a 60 percent effectiveness rate in repelling rodents compared to conventional bags, indicating a significant breakthrough in storage solutions.

In addition to grain storage, PIL has also developed ‘Mama Silage bags’, which are specialized for preserving animal fodder, a critical factor for sustaining livestock farming, particularly during dry seasons. These bags have been acknowledged for their role in bolstering food security and promoting sustainable agricultural practices.

The introduction of rodent repellent hermetic bags has come at a time when Kenya faces a loss of 35 to 40 percent of its grain production to insect pests at the storage level. The bags, which are now commercially available, are positioned in the market at Ksh.450, providing a more durable alternative to the conventional storage bags priced between Sh250 to Sh300.

Furthermore, efforts to make this technology accessible include encouraging farmers to form purchase groups, which can lead to cost savings on transportation and direct delivery of the product. Other certified manufacturers of hermetic technology bags include Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS), ZeroFly Storage Bags, Elite Storage Bags, GrainPro Storage Bags, and AgroZ Storage Bags.

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