Zaiyanu Hali is a smallholder farmer in Rara community in Raba Local Government Area of Sokoto State. The total absence of or inadequate storage facilities has been a major factor militating against the achievement of the full economic potential of hard working farmers in his community.
Before the project intervention, Zaiyanu, like most other farmers in his community stored their farm produce through chemical treatment, which to them was a major technological innovation. However, even the chemical treatment was fraught with several challenges. For example, chemically treated farm produce cannot be consumed before the expiration of the active ingredients. However, due to financial pressure, farmers were usually compelled to sell and or consume the farm produce before the expiration dates. This has led to several cases of illness and death.
Zaiyanu explained why he is very delighted with the PICS bags: “We have come to understand the economic importance of PICS Bags when it comes to storing our farm produce. But most importantly we understand its usefulness concerning our health. This is because we have understood that we don’t need to use chemical for storing our farm produce. We also understand that we can store produce for several years”. In addition to the fact that Zaiyanu can now store his cowpea and other farm produce and sell whenever the price is good, he is also pleased that the use of the PICS bags poses no health challenges.
Zaiyanu and other beneficiaries of the Feed the Future Nigeria Livelihoods Project have come to totally accept this new technology and are convinced that it is the best method of storing their farm produce. Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) bags provide a simple, low-cost method of reducing post-harvest cowpea losses due to bruchid infestations.