Reducing postharvest losses during storage of grain crops to strengthen food security in developing countries
This article (PDF), published in the Foods Journal, provides a comprehensive literature review of the grain postharvest losses in developing countries, the status and causes of storage losses and discusses the technological interventions to reduce these losses. Storage losses account for the maximum fraction of all postharvest losses for cereals in developing countries, and negatively affect the farmers’ livelihoods. As much as 50%–60% cereal grains can be lost during the storage stage due only to the lack of technical inefficiency. Reducing the postharvest losses, especially in developing countries, could be a sustainable solution to increase food availability, reduce pressure on natural resources, eliminate hunger and improve farmers’ livelihoods. Use of scientific storage methods can reduce storage losses to as low as 1%–2%. The basics of hermetic storage, various technology options, and their effectiveness on several crops in different localities are discussed in detail. Chemical fumigation and natural insecticides are commonly used practices, but currently hermetic storage is gaining popularity as a storage method. Hermetic storage creates an automatic modified atmosphere of high carbon dioxide concentration using the sealed waterproof bags or structures, and significantly reduces insect infestation losses. These sealed hermetic storage structures, when used properly, have resulted in up to a 98% reduction in storage losses, maintained seed viability, and its quality for long storage times.