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New postharvest storage technologies for Latin America

March 23, 2013

7178682264_898e3326d3The 2nd Latin American Convention on Airtight Storage sponsored by the global company GrainPro, Inc was held during 1-2 March 2013 in Antigua, Guatemala. More than 50 participants from Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and the USA, and other countries attended the event.

Presented at the event were the latest airtight storage technologies used to ship, preserve, and maintain the quality of raw materials and food grains produced in the region. For example, Caribecafé SKN/ NKG (Colombia) explained how they apply new technology to high quality coffee, and Zamorano University (Honduras) described its uses in bean, maize, and sorghum. Luis Gerardo Ramírez (CIMMYT-México) described the MasAgro program which is currently evaluating GrainPro technology in the Mexican state of Chiapas. “We are ready to extend the technology to small farmers in other regions of Mexico through the MasAgro hubs,” added Ramírez.

Other technologies presented were plastic bags known as SuperGrainbagsTM-IVR, which were evaluated by CIMMYT and the Technological Institute of Monterrey under the supervision of Silverio García. Results indicated that the bags are appropriate for storing and protecting maize and other basic grains from postharvest pests. Furthermore, since they do not require insecticide use, they are environmentally friendly, as well as 100% recyclable. “If we can’t avoid postharvest losses, we can’t achieve food security,” said García. “By applying these technologies, we are opening a new chapter in the weakest link of the maize production chain in Latin America.”

In his speech, Jordan Dey, vice-president of Food Security, pointed out that according to UN estimates, global postharvest losses account for 25% of all grain production, an amount that would be enough to feed the world’s most vulnerable people.

Convention participants thanked CIMMYT’s Institutional Relations for Latin America, headed by Isabel Peña, for providing teaching materials and for its support during this new stage aimed at disseminating new postharvest technologies throughout the region.