Like in any industry, agricultural businesses can be tough to manage. Success can depend on many changing elements such as volatile market prices for inputs or the possibility of having a bumper year.
An even bigger risk to agricultural businesses is the increasing unpredictability of the weather. Because of climate change, once-reliable weather patterns are becoming more and more erratic. Flash floods, wildfires, rising sea levels, droughts, and many other changes are now being felt. These changes greatly affect season-dependent agricultural practices. Even more at risk are smallholder farmers who rely on traditions that date back to hundreds or thousands of years.
For these reasons and more, traders, farmers, and handlers of agricultural commodities have begun to invest in technology as a way to mitigate loss and reduce damage to their products. One such technology is hermetic solutions.
This simple yet highly effective solution uses the concept of storing dry agricultural commodities in a gas-tight and moisture-tight container to preserve both quality and quantity. Data from a World Food Program (WFP) project in Africa shows that when combined with better post-harvest handling methods, hermetic technology helped reduce post-harvest losses by up to 98%.
Read more: All you need to know about hermetic storage
That being said, there has been significant research and applications that show the benefits of using hermetic technology.
Thus, here are 8 great ways that hermetic technology helps agricultural businesses:
1. Hermetic technology helps reduce post-harvest losses from insect infestations and mold growth. When dry agricultural commodities are stored in a low-oxygen/high-carbon dioxide environment, insects and mold cannot survive.
2. Solutions that use hermetic technology keeps food products safe for consumption. Toxic substances like aflatoxins and ochratoxins brought by mold growth are known to lead to serious health problems when consumed by humans and animals. Hermetic technology keeps away moisture necessary to start and sustain mold growth in dry agricultural commodities.
Read more: Reducing health risks by preventing mold growth
3. Quality can be preserved using hermetic technology. In high-valued commodities like coffee and cocoa, quality is an important factor. Coffee needs to have its aroma, color, and freshness preserved to be considered as specialty coffee. In cocoa, Free Fatty Acids (FFA) need to be kept at a certain level so that quality does not deteriorate. Drying, storing, and transporting these products using hermetic technology highly increases the chance to protect their quality.
Read more: Cocoa Processing, A Bean to Cup Story
4. Hermetic technology can aid in the organic treatment of products. By using carbon dioxide as a natural 'fumigant,' organic products can stay organic. Locking in the carbon dioxide in gas-tight containers causes the insects to asphyxiate while depriving the necessary moisture and oxygen for molds to grow. The use of potentially harmful chemical fumigants can be reduced, lessening the unhealthy impact on both humans and the environment.
Read more: Organic pest control for stored grain insects
5. During transit, commodities should be protected from damage due to condensation inside shipping containers. Because internal and external temperature changes lead to condensation while transporting goods, extra protection must be utilized to ensure no losses will occur. Hermetic technology can help by keeping moisture away from dry agricultural commodities.
6. Hermetic technology can be integrated with new sensing technology. Remotely monitoring stored crops is now possible with the aid of hermetic technology. Using sensors, data such as relative humidity, temperature, or carbon dioxide levels can now be observed in real time without the hassle of manual checking. Not only does this save hours and manpower, but it also saves commodities from potential damage from mold and/or insects. Once unusual levels are observed, users can immediately re-seal hermetic containers that are compromised.
7. Hermetic technology can help increase profits. By reducing quality and quantity losses, profits can remain high for all involved. High-valued products retain higher selling prices. Businesses that rely on heavier volume for profit can preserve that volume, thus keeping their profit high as well.
8. Most importantly, the adverse effects of climate change on agriculture can be mitigated with the help of hermetic technology. Sufficiently strong hermetic containers keep rain and even flood from damaging dry agricultural commodities. A prolonged storage period can preserve such commodities, creating a buffer for when stocks become too low to sustain human and animal consumption. This is increasingly becoming a necessary safeguard due to prolonged droughts that bring food insecurity and even famine.
Post-harvest solutions based on hermetic technology have been proven to reduce losses and preserve quality throughout the drying, transport, and storage processes. GrainPro's hermetic solutions are a leading innovation used all over the world. Whether in bulk, bag, or FIBCs, handling dry agricultural commodities using hermetic solutions is recommended for the best post-harvest management.
Date Published: June 24, 2019