NEWS 498 EDIT THIS, rec’d 07/24/10 Karoline Kastanek
Brief #4 – Grain Storage April 14, 2010
Cookies are kept in a cookie jar to preserve their chewy, soft texture, and to keep from
Grains need a “cookie jar” too. The U.S. and most developed countries have dependable
“cookie jars” also known as storage bins that keep grain from retaining too much moisture and
mold, and to keep bugs from eating it all.
In Africa, some small-scale farmers store their grain in termite-resistant wooden
structures called granaries. According to the International Research and Development Centre’s
Web site, the termite-resistant wood supply is depleting rapidly. As a result, farmers find it hard
to repair existing storage granaries and build new structures.
Many countries in Africa have problems storing grain, primarily because of climate
conditions. Hot temperatures and in some places, humidity, can cause grain to spoil or rot at a
faster rate. Heat and humidity offer just the right mold, fungal, and bacterial growing conditions,
making grain spoil quickly. In “Mycotoxins,” John Leslie said that Fusarium, Penicillium and
Aspergillus are most commonly found on maize, sorghum and cassava in Eastern and Southern
Africa and can attack the crop while it is stored.
Disease is not the only factor affecting storage in Africa. Climate combined with pest and
rodent infiltration into storage facilities, makes it hard for farmers to keep grain over a long
period of time.
Without proper storage, Africa will not be able to harvest sorghum, pearl millet, and
other small grains efficiently. INTSORMIL researchers are studying this problem and are
looking into ways to reduce the high tendency of grain rot.