Grain storage techniques - Evolution and trends in developing countries
With an annual worldwide production estimated at more than two billion tons in 1992, grain crops provide the world's primary staple food. The FAO's Agricultural Engineering Service recognizes that dissemination of knowledge on appropriate grain storage facilities and techniques to its developing member nations remains very important. Therefore AGSE decided to update and revise the FAO Manual No. 60 "Handling and Storage of Food Grains" prepared by Mr. D.W. Hall in 1970, and which was subsequently reprinted three times.
The importance of grain storage as part of the marketing, distribution and food security system is well recognized. As early as 1971, the Group for Assistance on Systems relating to Grain After-harvest (GASGA), in which FAO participates, brought together experts and coordinated activities on research and development. In 1978, following the resolution of the UN General Assembly which called for the reduction of post-harvest losses, FAO launched the Special Action Programme for Prevention of Food Losses (PFL). Since then more than 250 projects have been implemented world wide under this programme.
During recent years, as a result of privatization and liberalization of trade, the organization and management of grain storage has changed in many developing countries. This restructuring of the grain storage sector has created a demand for information and knowledge from the emerging private entrepreneurs operating in the storage sector. In the previous storage and distribution systems, functions such as collection, storage, regulation of supplies, food security and price control, were often entrusted to parastatal marketing boards. Skills have been developed, facilities have been installed and methods taught to their staff, often at high cost. These skills have now to be acquired by the new "actors" of the privatized storage and distribution system. The purpose of the Bulletin is to contribute to the transfer of knowledge on grain storage to persons involved in the storage of grain. This joint production FAO-GASGA Bulletin is aimed at private and public sector storage operators, extension workers, students and researchers. However, the varied topics covered in the chapters are intended for persons each having different interests in the subject.