Long-term Storage for Grains as Food Security Solution
The lack of food security is an ever-present issue in the international arena. Both government agencies and non-government organizations work hard to tackle the problem and try to provide solutions to prevent millions of people affected by hunger and poverty from suffering its ill effects.
Therefore, producers, handlers, and traders alike need to research and be informed of all the possible choices before making decisions that can affect their budget and profit. One such decision is selecting the most efficient, cost-effective way to store grains that best fits their operations.
However, in the agricultural sector, achieving a system that would mitigate the effects of lack of food security is not an easy task. Producers, traders, and consumers need to find ways to secure commodities in a way that even long-term storage would not reduce the quantity and quality of crops, especially staple grains like maize and rice.
Commodities such as staple grains are important to achieving food security because billions of people worldwide depend on these crops for daily sustenance. In Africa alone, around 300 million people are dependent on maize. With 50 different varieties being cultivated worldwide, it is a crop that definitely is a priority in the issue of food security.
When it comes to rice, meanwhile, 90% is produced and consumed in Asia. Culture and tradition are also embedded with rice, to the extent that a country’s development can be immensely affected by the management or mismanagement of the rice industry.
But, nutrition and health remain as the biggest factors as to why there is a great need to secure the handling and storage of these commodities. When stored properly, these commodities can help mitigate the effects of hunger and malnutrition—providing the capacity for large populations to be fed all throughout the year even when harvest season is over.
Storing such commodities entails careful preparation, especially when doing so for longer periods such as one year or more. Handlers must make sure that both the commodities and the storage system are suited for such operations. In line with this, here are some helpful steps that handlers could follow to ensure successful results in long-term grain storage.
First, handlers should bring the moisture content of grains to the right percentage. The perfect moisture content is about 14% for maize and around 12% for rice. The right moisture content helps inhibit mold growth so that no harmful substances contaminate the stored commodities. This step is important to avoid aflatoxins from spoiling either maize or rice.
Second, the storage system must be prepared and should be suited to hold grains for the long haul. A controlled atmosphere that is airtight and moisture-tight must be guaranteed so that no damage can be brought to the grains. If air can enter, insects and other pests would eventually come in and eat away the stored grains, potentially resulting in huge losses in quantity and quality. At the same time, if moisture can enter, then molds will be able to damage the crops as well.
Once an airtight and moisture-tight storage system is in place and the grains contained are at the proper level of moisture content, then it is time to take the last step: constant monitoring. This step ensures that no damage is sustained by the storage system and that the grains are secured. Regularly checking that gas (either oxygen or carbon dioxide) levels are stable and constant goes a long way in securing the integrity, durability, and effectivity of the storage system.
As the leading company for hermetic solutions, GrainPro’s drying and storage solutions are perfect for long-term storage of grains. Such solutions help in achieving food security and hopefully, result in a hunger-free world.
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