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In today’s Agricultural Science class, We will be discussing the Storage of Farm Produce. We hope you enjoy the class!
Storage of Farm Produce
Storage of farm produce is the art of keeping the quality of agricultural materials and preventing them from deterioration for a specific period of time, beyond their normal shelf life.
- To ensure that food is available throughout the season.
- To ensure that food is affordable throughout the season.
- To reduce food spoilage from pest and diseases attack.
- To maintain the quality of foods for future use.
- Stores viable seeds for subsequent planting season.
FACTORS THAT AFFECT FARM PRODUCE IN STORAGE
- Microorganisms: Major microorganism associated with storage includes fungi, bacteria, yeast. The activities of microorganism result in colour degradation, off flavour, moisture upgrading, wet spot and mouldiness, loss of viability, etc
- Insects, mite and pests: Insects, mites and pests attack both the stored material and wooden components of the storage structure. Weevils are the commonest insects in grains. They attack seeds, bore through them, and lay eggs in the seeds and storage structures. They reduce seed weight, quality, and nutritional value.
- Rodents: Rodents are mammals that destroy stored materials and attack storage structure. They eat grains and waste the remaining parts. They are vectors. They also contaminate stored materials with their faeces, urine and carcasses.
- Environmental factors: This includes temperature, relative humidity, moisture content,
- (I) Temperature: different farm produce can best be stored at different temperatures. The wrong temperature causes spoilage of farm produce
- (ii) Moisture and humidity: moisture and humid environment should be avoided as it encourages the growth of moulds and other fungi which lead to food spoilage.
- (iii) Quality of produce to be stored: it must be viable-to increase the life span of the stored product.
CLASSIFICATION OF STORAGE
Types It is based on the following factors:
- Duration of Storage
- Size or Scale of Storage
- Principle of Storage
Classification based on Duration of storage
- Short Term Storage: Stored products mostly do not last beyond 6 months. It involves highly perishable products (such as egg, meat, fish and dairy products). High loss of quality is associated with highly perishable crops except controlled systems are used.
- Medium Term Storage: Medium-term storage involves keeping the quality of stored products without appreciable deteriorations for up to 12 months. The quality of such stored products may not be guaranteed after 18 months.
- Long Term Storage: Long term storage can guarantee the quality of. stored products beyond 5 years.
Classification Based on Size of Storage
- Small Scale Storage: have capacity for up to 1 ton, but not above. They are mostly used at domestic and peasant levels.
- Medium Scale Storage: Most of such storage systems are in the capacity range of 2-50 tons, with very few having capacity beyond 50 tons. Some are used in breweries for the temporary storage of spent grains.
- Large Scale Storage: It is used either for temporary or permanent storage of very large quantity of various products. It has a very high initial cost but eventually reduces the overall unit cost of production.
Classification Based on Principle of Storage
- Physical Storage: utilizes physical principles for storage and preservation. The physical environment (moisture content, temperature and relative humidity) within the storage system is mostly controlled or manipulated to retard the activities of agents of deterioration or prevent deterioration. E.g. cold storage or controlled environment.
- Chemical Storage: utilizes chemicals to stop or retard the activities of agents of deterioration. The use of chemicals such as wax, actellic, or phosphorene dust or tablet to prevent respiration or insect infestation in stored produce are examples. Some chemicals are however poisonous and their uses must be highly monitored, e.g. phosphorene.
- Biological Storage: utilizes biological agents, especially microorganism, to stop or retard the activities of agents of deterioration or enhance the shelf life of stored products. This is a very good area of the application of biotechnology in agriculture.
Broadly, storage structures are classified as:
- Traditional Structures: These are devices used mostly for short term and small-scale storage. Occasionally they include some medium-term and medium scale storage devices. They require a low level of scientific knowledge to construct, operate and maintain. They are mostly made of unrefined local materials Modern Structures: Mostly large capacity and long term with better regulation of the storage environment. They are made of improved and refined materials.
- Barn for storing fresh yam
- Cribs for storing cereals
- Bag/Polythene bag
- Pit/Underground Storage
- Plastic Containers
- Earthen pot
- Modern methods:
- Silos for storing grains
- Cold-stored in a refrigerator etc.
- Packaged to increase value and convenience.
Method of storage for different types
- Rhombus and Traditional cribs: Rhombus and cribs are used for storing grains such as guinea corn and millet that has not been threshed. Rhombus is cylindrical in shape while a crib has a rectangular shape. They are made of palm font leaf, clay, tree stem and bamboo. Sometimes heat is introduced at the lower base to ensure drying.
Major disadvantages are moisture build as a result of rain, and micro-organism infestation.
- Barn, Shelf and Pit: These are mostly used for root and tuber crops. Barn and shelf could be suitable for onion and carrot. Barn, shelf and pit are recommended for cassava, yam and cocoyam. Barn: It is used for storing fresh yams. It is made with low walls with openings for ventilation. It should be rodent-proof to prevent rodent infestation. Yams are either tied on poles in heaps or on raised platforms. Other crops like maize and guinea corn can be stored in a barn.
- Plastic Containers, Guard, Polythene bag and Earthen pot: These structures are used at household and peasant levels for the storage of grain. Items stored in these systems are locally preserved with wood or bone ash or powdered pepper, Bag: It is used for storing grains like beans, rice, etc. It is made airtight, pest-free and kept in a clean store. The bags should be neatly stacked on wooden racks away from the walls and off the floor. The main disadvantage of jute bag storage is that the bag does not provide protection against rat or insect attack.
- Drums/Bins: This is used to store small grains in an airtight container, and sealed up. This kills insects that may be present in the grains. Sometimes, chemicals and compounds are added to preserve the content of the stored grains. It is also very important to keep the drum out of the sun. Otherwise, the hot sun hitting the metal drum will make the grain very hot, sweat and respirate faster. This also can cause spoilage.
MODERN STORAGE METHODS
- Improved crib: is an improvement over the traditional crib in terms of design, capacity, and construction material.
- Warehouse: used for storing bags or pilled/bulk products like grains, flour.
- Silo: is a cylindrically shaped structure used for bulk storage of shelled grains in large scale and for long term.
- Refrigerator: is used to store highly perishable foods like fish, meat, poultry cheese, vegetables, fruits in cold chamber Cold temperatures inactivate/deactivate the enzymes and reduce activities of spoilage organisms like bacteria and fungi.
- Canning: This is the process in which food is sealed in air-tight containers it helps in keeping away bacteria, unwanted enzymes and oxygen that can destroy the food. It is used to store food items like meat, fish, and dairy. Preservatives may be added to it.
- Drying or Dehydration: Drying keeps all the germs and bacteria away from the food as the water content is low.
Common ways of drying include:
- Sun-drying e.g. grains and beans.
- Air drying (indoor) e.g. herbs, thyme,
- Oven drying
- Smoking helps in preserving meat and seafood.
Salting: When you salt fish and meat (both red and white), you tend to reduce the water concentration and kill the presence of microorganisms. This process is also known as curing. You can preserve pork, poultry, seafood and meat for later consumption through this process.
It is also known as cold pasteurization. It helps in keeping the molds and bacteria’s away. This can help in preserving vegetables and fruits in a jar without ripening or any spoilage.
Package or re-branding to increase value and convenience.
We have come to the end of this class. We do hope you enjoyed the class?
Should you have any further question, feel free to ask in the comment section below and trust us to respond as soon as possible.
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