How to Reduce Post-Harvest Losses in Your Maize and Beans

Friday, June 2, 2017

Most farmers in our region have harvested or are in the process of harvesting good yields of maize (and beans) this season, in some places record-breaking yields. We know it's a busy time.

Now that your harvests are here, you should know how to prevent post-harvest losses so that all your hard work pays off and you get a good return on your investment (time, money and effort).

Let's get started:

Step 1: Harvest on time

Harvest your maize when it is ready. Place it on a clean surface such as a black tarpaulin to sun-dry for 3-5 days. If you are experiencing rainy weather you could air dry your maize.

Step 2: Check dryness

Check that your maize is fully dry by biting a grain or using a grain moisture meter.

Step 3: Shell your maize

Shell, clean and sort your maize. You can shell it by hand or using a thresher. Remove any damaged grain or foreign objects before you bag and store it.

Step 4: Bag and store your maize 

Place your well dried maize into hermetic storage bags such as the Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage bags (PICS storage bags). These airtight bags protect your maize, beans, sorghum, millet and other cereals from insects, rodents, moisture and fungal contaminants without using any chemicals (pesticide dust). This makes them cost-competitive to regular bags. They are also reusable and can be used again next harvest season. Another good option for storing your maize is a grain silo.

These solutions are not only important for us farmers, but also for traders looking to store their maize for extended periods of time to sell later when market prices are higher.

Do you want to properly store your harvest? 

Emerging farmer has started distributing airtight PICS storage bags locally in Zimbabwe. You can contact us at 0773527397 to place an order for pick-up at Musarurwa Supermarket in Sunningdale 2.

Step 5: Check market prices

Check the Agriculture Marketing Authority website or the ZFU Weekly Bulletins for current market prices. Get and stay informed about market prices and sell your maize at the right price.

Disclaimer: while Emerging Farmer does everything to ensure the accuracy of our guides, it is important to contact an agronomist or your Agritex officer for accurate recommendations for your farm. Emerging farmer takes no responsibility for any losses or damage incurred due to information in this guide.


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