Maize is widely grown by Haitian farmers and its sale is the only income for some. The average farmer produces less than 100 kg per year and postharvest losses average 30%. Purdue improved crop storage (PICS) bags use hermetic storage to decrease post-harvest losses in grain stored on smallholder farms. Our objective was to test PICS bags for long-term, on-farm storage of maize in Haiti. Three each of 50 kg PICS bags and control bags (pre-used polypropylene rice or bean sacks) were tested. Bags were each loaded with 50 kg of maize and then stored without opening for 170 days. Data recorded before and after storage included live maize weevil counts, aflatoxin levels, maize moistures and bag weights. Live weevil counts in the PICS bags did not change significantly from the initial five weevils/kg maize, but increased significantly from five to 199 weevils/kg in the control bags. Aflatoxin levels were mostly <3 ppb before and after storage. No maize moisture changes were significant. Average weight of PICS bags did not change significantly, but control bags, on average, lost 5% (2.5 kg) of weight, which was significant. PICS bags effectively protected maize over 170 days, while control bags allowed unacceptable maize weevil infestation and weight loss.
Key words: Purdue improved crop storage (PICS) bags, maize storage, maize weevil, Haiti, aflatoxin, postharvest loss.
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