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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Embracing indegeneous technical knowledge in grain storage and pest control

By Bob Aston
Embracing indegeneous technical knowledge(ITK) can play a big role in reducing maize post-harvest losses. Speaking during a workshop organized by Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP) for members of Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society drawn from Dimcom area at Ng’arua Maarifa Centre, Laikipia West Sub County on May 26, 2015, Mr. Moses Lokwawi,Ol-Moran Ward Crop Officer urged farmers to embrace ITK to ensure effective storage of grains and pest control.
He noted that many farmers have been embracing modern post-harvest technologies while neglecting the traditional ones which in most cases are readily available and are also cheaper.
The cooperative members from Dimcom area during the training

“You should not forget the indegenous technical knowledge as they have been proven to be effective. This can help in reducing post-harvest losses and ensuring farmers realize high returns,´said Mr. Lokwawi.
Farmers noted that some of the ITK include; smoking, use of drum, use of ash, mexican merigold and rosemary.
He said that one way of reducing pest attack include admixing ashes or sand with threshed grains that are well dried.Then shake or stir to ensure good mixing. For this to be effective, large quantities of 20 percent or more by volume should be added to grain.  The ashes and sand form a layer over the surface of the grains, which prevents insect attack.They also fill the spaces between grains and act as a physical barrier preventing insect movement and reproduction.
 He said that insects can be killed by exposure to high temperatures during solanization. This can be done by spreading the infested grain in a thin layer of 2 cm in depth on an empty jute or hessian sacks or sheet of black paper.
The grains should then be covered with a sheet of clear polythene, held onto the  ground by stones. It should then be exposed to the sun for two to three hours during the middle of the day.
Ol-Moran Ward Agriculture officer addressing the participants
Insects can also be killed by admixing inert dusts or diatomaceous earths (DEs)  with threshed grains. Unlike sand and ashes, DEs only need to be applied in small quantities, up to 0.2 percent by weight. They work by absorbing the wax from the insect’s body, causing water loss, then desiccation and death.
Maize cobs can be stored on platforms or in the loft of the house above a fire. The smoke and heat from the fire may kill insects or drive them out of the grain. The method is not always effective; in particular the larger grain borer will not be killed.
ASDSP and other partners including; Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Eastern African Grain Council (EAGC), Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), SNV-Netherlands Development Organization and Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) are implementing a maize concept note titled “Formation, Legalization and Training Maize Value Chain Groups on Post-harvest Management.” The concept note seeks to address the high post-harvest maize losses in the county by reducing it to less than 15 percent.
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