The adverse effects of climate change are becoming more and more evident as the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events increase in different parts of the world. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), extreme weather and climate-related calamities have affected 1.7 billion people over the past decade. Drought, typhoons, floods, and other extreme weather events are resulting in severe losses and damage to vulnerable countries and communities, especially to the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
On top of that, a lot of farmers’ hard-earned harvests are lost or wasted due to poor processing, inadequate drying, storage, and transport. Unfortunately, in most situations, farmers are forced to sell their produce shortly after harvest – at a time when prices are low due to high supply — to avoid post-harvest losses and storage issues.
Since climate change is already happening and future impacts are inevitable, smallholder farmers must find ways to become more resilient by adapting new techniques and technologies.
Climate-smart and hermetic solutions aim to help farmers build and improve resilience to the negative effects of climate change on their harvests and livelihoods. By incorporating these solutions and new technologies into their post-harvest practices, farmers can then transition from their traditional ways to a more sustainable and climate-resilient post-harvest process and gain long-term benefits.
Long-term benefits of Climate-smart Agriculture (CSA)
Reduction and prevention of food loss and waste
Due to its low cost and ease of management, many farmers continue to dry their commodities using the sun drying method by spreading them on mats or laying them on sidewalks or the side of roads. However, these drying methods lead to low-quality crops as a result of getting mixed up with contaminants such as rocks and dirt and getting crushed, cracked, or damaged by passing vehicles.
To reduce losses at the drying stage, it is critical to have a climate-smart drying solution like that of GrainPro’s Bubble Dryer, which is an energy-efficient tunnel-type dryer designed to safely dry and protect agricultural commodities from contaminants, sudden rains, and unpredictable weather conditions. Using this technology, it is also possible to dry commodities even at night or during rain. With this, farmers can then ensure that their commodities are evenly dried without the risk of getting contaminated and damaged, thereby reducing and preventing food loss and waste at this stage.
For storage, traditional storage or bags like jute or woven polypropylene are inexpensive, although they are affordable and easily accessible, they provide very little to no protection from moisture, insects, and pests, and result in quality and quantity loss. The same goes for transporting commodities where they need protection from condensation and insect infestation as they travel to their destinations.
By switching to hermetic storage and transport solutions that have superior barrier protection, farmers can avoid incurring quality and quantity loss. GrainPro’s Hermetic Bag Farm is a low-cost bag liner developed primarily for smallholder farmers to help them store their commodities safely while effectively protecting them from deteriorating factors, not only preserving the quality of their stored crops but also their quantity.
Increase in agricultural productivity
Since climate-smart and hermetic solutions can effectively reduce and prevent post-harvest losses, this equates to an increase in the yield of smallholder farmers.
In Kenya, a senior maize farmer has been using GrainPro Hermetic Bags and stated that it has kept him from losing thirty percent of his harvest. Farmers who are now using this bag have more to sell and the option to sell when they choose, providing them the opportunity to benefit from markets that are generally higher months after harvest.
An increase in farmers’ yield means an increase in their income as well.
Swaleh Juma Rashid of Kwale County on Kenya's south coast had relied on the use of pesticides to protect his grains from rodents and insects to avoid post-harvest loss. But this has negatively impacted the overall quality of his harvest and profit. This changed when he received GrainPro hermetic bags to hold his maize, after 8 months of storage without the use of toxic chemicals he was able to sell his maize for twice the amount he would have earned if he had sold it immediately after harvest.
Using the right storage solution that can safely store farmers' produce while keeping insects and moisture out is a big help in allowing them to preserve the quality and quantity of their harvest longer so they can sell it for a better price.
Less environmental impact
Aside from reducing post-harvest losses, increasing yield, and improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, hermetic and climate-smart post-harvest solutions contribute to a healthier and more sustainable environment.
These solutions consume little energy while in use, and even better, there is an option to use solar energy for drying commodities. In addition, they also do not require the use of pesticides or preservatives even for long-term storage. This can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to resolving our problem with global warming and climate change.
GrainPro's drying, storage, and transport solutions have helped and continue to help many farmers and producers worldwide in safely preserving their commodities to ensure that they reach more people and are safe for consumption when they arrive at our tables.
We cannot stop climate change from happening, but we can become more resilient to it and slow its rapid progression by consuming less energy and reducing emissions. Farmers must adapt and invest in climate-smart and hermetic solutions to reap long-term benefits and help mitigate the negative effects of climate change on their hard-earned harvest.
Date Published: September 11, 2022