STORAGE OF FARM PRODUCE, MEANING, AIMS AND OBJECTIVES—BY INSTRUCTOR MRS. EREKATA, O.J.
STORAGE OF FARM PRODUCE: Farm products are subject to attack by insect pests after harvesting if they are not properly kept. To reduce the incidence of pests and to avoid spoilage, agricultural products are kept in special places either for short or long periods depending on when they are sent to the market or use as input during the next planting season. The process of effectively keeping away pests and micro organisms from harvested agricultural products to avoid spoilage is called storage. Storage is the process of keeping agricultural products for use either as food, raw material or for sale.
AIMS /OBJECTIVES OF STORAGE: The objectives of storing farm produce include the following:
To ensure that food is available throughout the year at affordable prices.
To reduce to the barest minimum the amount of food spoilage caused by pests and diseases attack
To preserve planting material for the next planting season.
To maintain or preserve the quality of food.
To ensure adequate supply of raw materials to industry for processing.
METHOD OF STORAGE: The various methods of storage which are both traditional and modern are:
BARNS: This is the most common and one of the oldest methods of storing yams and cocoyam. The barn consist of big woods placed horizontally and small wooden poles placed vertically and close to themselves. The roof may be covered with grasses or farm fronds. Yam tubers are tied to the vertical pole from the base to the top by means of ropes or they may be stored in heaps. The barn protects the produce from bad weather. However, it has the disadvantage of exposing the produce to thieves, rodents and insect pest.
CRIBS: Cribs are used for storing cereals especially maize and guinea corn during the dry season. Cribs are built from the local wooden materials in either a rectangular or cylindrical shape and a thatch roof. They are produced with adequate ventilation and this helps to dry up the cobs.
RHUMBUS: These storage involve structures designed and constructed locally for storing unthreshed grains like maize, millet and sorghum in the Northern part of the country.
BAGGING: This involves keeping goods in bags for easy movement.
CANNING: This involves the storage of food items under hygienic conditions in air-tight cans and tins. In canning, the containers are first cleaned and sterilized by heating them in boiling water. Examples of items stored by canning include fish, meat, fruit, tomatoes and dairy products.
REFRIGERATING: This involves the use of freezers and refrigerated vans or cold rooms to preserve items like meat, fish, fruits, vegetables etc. This is also known as cold storage.
SILOS: Grains are stored in silos. This method is more scientific and expensive. Silos are cylindrical and rectangular in shape.
FACTORS AFFECTING STORAGE OF FARM PRODUCE: The following factors affect storage of any agricultural produce.
Quality of the produce to be stored.
The type of gas in the storage environment.