So what's the problem?
Maize is a staple food in many of the sub-Saharan countries of Africa and is commonly grown by poor small-scale farmers in rural areas. However, when farming subsidies were cut in African countries, farmers were no longer able to afford inputs such as chemical fertilisers and maize production suffered. This drop in production and food security meant that many rural families suffered. Some of the affected countries have been working with development partners to try and overcome this problem.
What is this project doing?
CABI was contracted as a consultant to the Millennium Villages Project by the Millennium Development Centre, East and Southern Africa who are managing the project in this region. CABI's role was to help solve the grain storage pest problem. Surveys and focus group discussions with farmers of the maize producing areas of three countries (Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania) were carried out in order to find out which varieties of maize are being grown, which pests are causing the most damage and what the current drying, storage and pest management practices are. CABI’s staff also met with grain storage experts, government officials and other key informants to discuss the status of storage pests, and existing strategies for overcoming the issue. Finally both short and long-term strategies to combat storage pests were drawn up.
Results so far
The surveys found that the Larger Grain Borer was the most damaging of all of the pests, and it was frequently found to be causing losses of between 30 and 60%. This was higher than the experts had expected and farmers claimed that the losses would be higher had pesticides not been used. In the Millennium Villages Project, grain from the payback scheme was often being stored in makeshift storage areas run by inexperienced people such as local school teachers.
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Tel: +254 20 7224450 /62
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