Affordable, pesticide-free, and reliable maize storage containers for seed and food purposes are not available in many subsistence farming cultures. As a result, subsistence farmers lose their crop to pests and are forced to dispose of their maize for a low price right after harvest thus, robbing them of profit and food for the rest of the year. The objective of this research was to develop information to enable utilization of recycled sanitary hermetic maize storage containers. Use of these containers will allow farmers to preserve their maize for as long as they wish, using locally available resources. A market survey found edible oil containers available for sale and re-use in markets in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. A laboratory study compared three cleaning methods (oil drain+45°C water(A), oil drain+ 90 to 100°C water(B), oil drain+ 90 to 100°C water + soap(C)) for cleaning soybean oil contaminated 20 L HDPE containers. Research results, indicate that using “C” will clean the containers to a cleanliness level comparable to a new container. This is an encouraging result in light of the edible oil containers available for sale and re-use in East African markets. A Ugandan field study also tested the efficacy of recycled containers for hermetic storage, and confirmed that hermetic storage using these containers is lethal to maize weevils, while preserving the quality of stored maize.
Key words: Maize storage, hermetic storage, recycled containers.
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