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How to avoid Pest damage when storing beans after harvest

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Beans are a vital staple in Kenya, providing the main source of dietary protein for more than 40 million people.

Beans are a great source of fiber. That’s important because most Kenyans don’t get the recommended 25 to 38 grams each day. Fiber helps keep you regular and seems to protect against heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and digestive illness.

Growing beans has many benefits. Its rich nutrients consist of vitamins and protein, making it an important food source for many who can’t afford other delicacies like meat. This is why we must explore proper and conducive ways of storing beans. This can be done by storing your beans in an airtight jerrycan.

Insect pests such as weevils and pod borers are fond of attacking beans that have been poorly stored after harvest. These insect pests make holes in the bean grain reducing the quality of the bean and weight.

It’s because of this that the Feed the Future Scientific Animations Without Borders Responsive Adaptive Participatory Information Dissemination Program or SAWBO RAPID as it is known, a program based at Michigan State University and Purdue University in the United States and supported with funding by USAID have come out with an animated intervention strategies to help local famers avoid post-harvest loss and other secondary effects of COVID-19.

SAWBO RAPID identifies critical food security topics and delivers knowledge through the development of animations to mitigate COVID-19’s secondary economic impacts, including disruption to trade, supply chains and markets. The project is a part of SAWBO, a university-based program that transforms extension information on agriculture, health and women’s empowerment into animated videos, which are translated into many languages. The animations are free to download and share for educational purposes.

The SAWBO RAPID project provides animations in various local languages. In a video dubbed, “Post Harvest Loss: Jerrycan bean storage” the animation is disseminated in various Kenyan local languages like Kiswahili, Kalenjin, Luo, Kamba, Luhya, etc. (the full list of languages and links is attached below the blog)

The animated video explains how a farmer can avoid post-harvest loss by the use of jerrycan bean storage. The video is part of over 100 animations broadcasted in over 200 languages. SAWBO has been disseminating knowledge for more than a decade now and has reached over 50 million viewers.

This animation is available in different language variants so you can download in your local language by clicking the “select a language” button.

Steps to follow when storing grains using this method

  1. The jerrycan being used should be clean from any hazardous chemicals or liquids such as fuel or oil.

Residues of these liquids can’t be fully removed in a container and are always harmful to human health so do not use a jerrycan that has held any hazardous materials.

  1. Always make sure your jerrycan has no holes by checking through the openings to see if there is any inlet of oxygen.
  2. Dry the beans well in the sun to make sure that they have a low moisture content.
  3. Sort the beans and carefully remove the ones that are damaged.
  4. Find a clean dry jerrycan of between 10-20 litres.
  5. Fill the jerrycan with beans to the top. Shake it to be sure that the beans are tightly packed to fill all the space. The jerrycan should be completely filled up so that no air remains. Presence of any air in the jerrycan will see the stubborn pests hatch.
  6. Cover the top of the jerrycan with a plastic bag and seal with a lid tightly and the bean will be safe.

Quick reminders for famers using this method

By storing beans in an airtight jerrycan notorious pests will suffocate and die. This is the cheapest and easiest method of preserving beans for either food or seed for sale.

In cases where a farmer lacks a jerrycan, a dry sealable container can be used as long as the beans are packed in the container and sealed tightly.

Jerrycan storage can be used for up to six months if the container being used is never tempered with and if the beans are to be used for seeds. It’s important to note that the beans can be stored longer but the germination rate will go down.

If one is storing beans for food using this method, it can last for much longer. However, when the jerrycan is opened, the beans should be used within a couple of weeks.

It’s good to label your jerrycan with the date it was sealed and the intended use of the beans whether food or seeds for planting.

Once the jerrycan is sealed it’s advised not to open for at least a month so that any pest that may have sneaked in during packaging suffocates and dies.

When storing beans for seeds, the jerrycan should not be opened until the beans are needed for planting. Opening the lid will give the jerrycan a new supply of oxygen and some insect pest may survive or hatch.

If the beans are for food, one can store for a longer period but if they are for planting they should not be stored longer than six months.

This method of storage can prevent insect’s pest damage for beans after harvest meaning more foods for the farmer’s family and of better quality and good returns when sold.

This animation is available in 36 languages. Please watch, download and share this video by sharing the link on WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, etc.



SAWBO RAPID is funded through a grant from Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. This blog article was made possible through support provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development under the terms of agreement no. 7200AA20LA00002. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Agency for International development or the U.S. government.

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Journalist/PR Practitioner who seeks to tell the African stories in an African way. Be it on Politics, Sports, Business, and Current News the story will be told. Twitter @kmajangah

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