New storage bags decrease agricultural waste and increase rural smallhoders’ income
This article on the Inter Press Service (IPS) elaborates on the so-called PICS bags which can cut agricultural waste and increase the incomes of rural smallholders. The PICS bags are big plastic storage sacks made of triple-lined plastic that can hold up to 90 kilograms of cowpeas (also known as black-eyed beans) or other farm produce. The bags costs 2 dollar a piece. The acronym stands for Purdue Improved Crop Storage bags. By hermetically sealing dried produce, the PICS bags protect the crops from insects. This increases the potential value of the food that farmers grow, as they lower the risks of losses from insects that were known to destroy crops when traditional storage methods were used. With their crop better protected, smallholders can increase their own food security and can command higher prices at the market since they are not forced to sell the produce directly after the harvest season. An early analysis found that cowpea farmers raised their income by almost 50 per cent by using the bags. The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is trying to promote the use of these bags in Nigeria.