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Using eucalyptus leaves to preserve maize and bean seed

Post-harvest losses account for a considerable contribution to the total crop losses incurred by farmers. Most of the times, agricultural produce prices are very low just after harvesting when there is plenty of produce for sale. In some instances, farmers need to store seed for next season. These and many more factors call for produce preservation methods. The use of synthetic chemicals in seed and grain preservation has cost and health implications to the farmers and the consumers of the treated produce.  There is need for simple, cost effective and safe methods of seed and grain preservation. Let me share with you a technology used by Andrew Chemonges, a farmer from Kapchorwa to preserve maize and bean seed.

How the practice works

The farmer uses either of the two options below;

Option one:

To preserve 100kg of seed; the farmer gets a full basin of dry eucalyptus leaves and divides them into three equal portions. One portion is put at the bottom of the sack in which the seed will be stored. The seed/gain to be stored is then poured into the sack until it is half way full.  Another layer of eucalyptus leaves is put and more seed/grain is poured until it is full. A final layer of eucalyptus leaves is put on top and the sack is sealed.

Option two:

The farmer mixes 100kg of the seed with a full basin of dry eucalyptus leaves. The leaves are mixed thoroughly to ensure uniform distribution. The mixture of the seed and the leaves is then packed in a sack and the sack is sealed.

The farmer says both approaches, can keep the seed pest free for a period of six months if kept in a dry place under a leak proof roof. He says putting the leaves in layers make it easy to sort out the leaves when the grain is being cooked.

Caution: if the grain is to be cooked, all the eucalyptus leaves should be sorted out and the grain washed with water to avoid having the eucalyptus aroma in the food.  

Comments

Dear Lea,

Maize and beans are the most commonly grown and important grains in uganda. This should be the reason farmers tried the technology on these. However, I do think the technology can work for similar pests in other grains.

Thanks

Vicki Morrone's picture

Please change the word "suck" to sack- it makes quite a difference in the meaning.

Thanks Vicki - we have corrected the typo.

Best wishes,

Charlotte

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