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New bags to reduce post-harvest losses

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Farmers in the country have been urged to use Purdue Improved Crops Storage (Pics) bags, which are technologically proven bags in order to reduce post-harvest losses of grains and legumes.

As the harvesting season is at peak, crop yields are put under threat by insects which destroy grains and legumes, preventing farmers from having high yields.

Director of Administration in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, McCallum Sibande, said 25 percent of grain yields is lost after harvest due to insects despite the use of pesticides, hence, farmers should try new ways of combating the problem such as the newly introduced Pics bags.

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Sibande made the remarks at the official opening of the training of trainers for the Pics bags programme in Lilongwe yesterday.

Usaid has since partnered with Purdue University to help farmers in Africa to overcome this problem by developing the bags which officials say are an effective and low cost post-harvest storage solution.

Sibande has since encouraged all farmers to embrace the innovation in order to overcome such challenges.

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He said sometimes farmers buy expired chemicals which they apply twice to the same produce, which is an expensive way of controlling insects.

“The Pics bags will help the government to achieve the agenda for food security and economic stability. I am appealing to development partners who are helping in upscaling this technology to make sure that these bags are available not only in cities but more importantly in remote areas where most farmers are,” he said.

Feed the Futures’ Chief of Party Carl Larkins said the bags are affordable and highly effective.

“The bags are non-chemical, triple layer sealable bags. Each layer is tied and closed separately which creates an air-tight environment that proves fatal for pets, moulds and aflatoxins. Pics bags have been proven as an effective improved storage technology and have spread throughout the continent and come here to Malawi,” he said.

Each bag costs about K750.

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