The International Wheat and Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) has asked farmers to use metallic silos to reduce post harvest losses.
Speaking when he opened a workshop on effective grain storage for sustainable livelihood of Africa farmers in Lilongwe last week, CIMMYT policy economist Jones Govereh said Malawi and most countries on the continent lose about 30 percent of its grain due to poor storage.
â€œIn Malawi, farmers are losing a lot of grain to rodents and weevils and the recent Mo Ibrahim study shows that post harvest grain losses in southern Africa could total $4 billion.
â€œThis loss could meet the annual food requirement for 48 million people. It is also at par with the value of cereal imports which was valued between $3 billion and $7 billion between 2000 and 2007,â€ said Govereh.
He said this is why the organisation is promoting the use of metallic silos in southern Africa, particularly in Malawi and Kenya, and the results are impressive.
â€œWith this technology, we will enhance food security and income generation for thousands of small holder farmers in Malawi and the whole of southern Africa,â€ said Govereh.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture Ulemu Chilapondwa said efforts by CIMMYT need the support of all governments in southern Africa.
â€œThis is a move in the right direction because if our farmers continue to lose cereals after harvesting, then we cannot defeat poverty.
â€œAs a country, we will continue to assess the metallic silos through the Department of Agriculture Research Service whileh the Department of Crop Development will help to promoting technology,â€ he said.
The effective grain storage project began its two year pilot project in Kenya and Malawi and the next phase will be expanded to Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Zambia.
CIMMYT is an international organisation whose aim is to improve maize and wheat production in southern Africa. In Malawi, the organisation is working with World Vision and Catholic Relief Services.