Storage Loss-A major cause for compromised Food Safety and Food Loss
Food loss and food safety are increasingly becoming social alarms and health threats in Ethiopia and the world. Several studies indicate that Ethiopia loses 20-30% of the national production stock after harvest; due to poor harvesting, handling, and processing practices. Each year the country loses food enough to feed up to 25 million people.. Loss due to storage is the major cause of food loss in Ethiopia. Of the total loss within the food system, storage loss accounts for over 50%; implying a total loss of food enough for 12.5 million people. In addition to the quantity loss, storage loss also results in qualitative losses that can lead to lower-income, malnutrition and may pose a serious health threat if grain develops Aflatoxin or Mycotoxin.
Our solutions and how we are reaching the people
To overcome the problem of post-harvest storage loss, Shayashone trading PLC has introduced a 100% chemical-free healthy grain storage solution to the Ethiopian food systems; Purdue Improved Grain Storage Bags (PICS Bag). PICS bags are chemical-free, safe storage technology with an estimated useful life of 3 production cycles and above. The bags are triple-layered and serve as an air-tight (hermetic) storage method to protect grains from attack by weevils and insects.
PICS bags are used to store any grain which can be infected by insects. In addition to grain storage, PICS bags have found a new application in Ethiopia; PICS bags are found to improve the fermentation of Kocho. The use of PICS bags for Kocho fermentation is under trial in different parts of the country; so far the results are very promising.
Achievements and Milestones
Since the PICS bags were first introduced in Ethiopia in 2015, they have reached more than 10,000 villages and over 1000 markets. During this period, government and non-government partners have taken the leadership and ownership in the extension and promotion of the PICS bags in Ethiopia and new ones are stepping up to avail the bags to new woredas and villages. At the same time, Ethiopian farmers are stretching their hands to get” the miracle bag’’ as they call it. So far, we have reached 1 million households with PICS bags.
Over the years we have trained more than 2,000 extension workers, more than 330 vendors, and over 400 Youth Resellers. Extension agents give training and promote the bags in the villages to farmers. By using these trained members, we have now sold close to 2 million bags through vendors and Youth resellers. Market Demonstrations and Village Demonstrations have also been major parts of our project. We carried out 10,000 village demonstrations and 1000 market demonstrations, in which farmers and customers are informed on how to properly use the bags for their grains to stay safe and nutritious.
Moving from National to regional market
Our company together with PICS Global is determined to mobilize on partnerships towards safe food for all.
In the coming years, we aim to build a route into Sudan, South Sudan and other countries in the region by scaling up our experience in Ethiopia. Besides, we hope to get more partners that share our vision to join us to achieve our goal of contributing to the regional food and nutrition security.
As part of our mission to promote and push for food safety in countries beyond Ethiopia, our first export of 150 thousand bags to neighboring Somalia has been delivered in May 2020. This is a big step forward for us and we hope to continue expanding on this success and thriving on this ambitious path we have embarked on.
COVID-19, PICS and Food Safety
Although present times, with the incidence of the Corona pandemic, have proven to be unpredictable and challenging, our determination to avail our PICS bags to farmers in the country has not wavered. Despite the restrictions on mobility, our team is still striving to fulfill its goal of reaching out to millions more farmers and contribute to solving the challenge of keeping food safe especially when worldwide crises like this threaten the availability and adequate distribution of resources.
And for all the problems that our farmers are facing, every effort we make to reach out and deliver our bags is effort well placed. We aim to contribute to the general food security and food safety in Ethiopia and beyond its borders.