An assessment of the magnitudes and factors associated with postharvest losses in off-farm grain stores in Kenya uri icon

abstract

  • Off-farm grain storage is an important postharvest undertaking by government, traders and processors in Kenya. A survey was conducted in 2014/2015 to assess the kinds and magnitudes of perceived losses experienced in off-farm stores, and the factors associated with them. Store supervisors or key personnel charged with grain storage in 39 public and 74 private stores, spread across the six maize growing agro-ecological zones, were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Total perceived losses averaged 17.6± 2.3%, and were attributed to insects (7.2± 1.0%), molds (5.7± 2.1%), moisture loss (3.4± 0.5%), rodents (2.0± 0.5%), spillage (0.50 ± 0.0%) and birds (0.10± 0.0%). Total losses experienced in public and privately owned stores were not significantly different. The losses attributed to insect and the vertebrate pests, moisture loss and spillage, were also not significantly different in the two storage systems. However, losses due to molds were significantly higher in the private stores. From regression analysis, higher losses were associated with the use of residual insecticides, purchasing low quality maize for storage, reuse of storage bags, untimely control of storage pests, and the agro-climatic conditions of the moist transitional, moist mid-altitude and dry mid-altitude zones. Relying on infestation reports to initiate pest control had the highest marginal effect (21.7%). Lower loss magnitudes were associated with cleaning and drying grain before storage, early pest control and storage periods shorter than two months. These findings provide important reasons for appraising current off-farm storage techniques with a view to taking possible actions for improvements. It is recommended that innovations to mitigate maize postharvest losses should also target off-farm storage, as the losses incurred are significant

publication date

  • 2017
  • 2017