by LURAS project, June 2020.
Action research was conducted in Kham District, Xieng Khuang province to test new drying and storage practices and technologies. The objective of the trial was to provide farmers and the LURAS project with information on the potential benefits of adopting new drying and storing practices. The expected potential benefits include farmers being able to sell their maize when the prices are higher and/or farmers using their maize for other purposes such as preparing feed for animals.
Action Research and Farmer-to-Farmer learning (F2F) are essential elements of the Green Extension approach being promoted by LURAS. This approach recognizes that sustainable agricultural practices must be adapted to local conditions and that these conditions are both diverse and dynamic in the uplands of Lao PDR. Therefore, Green Extension supports groups of producers in analysing local problems and opportunities, testing alternative practices, and sharing the knowledge they acquire with other farmers.
In close cooperation with farmers, the research team introduced new ways of threshing and drying maize, and introduced new or improved storage practices at selected farmers’ households, including metallic hermetic silos, and small and large hermetic bags. Local welders were closely involved in the construction of metallic hermetic silos and farmers were trained in the use of the new equipment introduced. Farmers were also closely involved in the monitoring of progress and results.
This study was conducted by SNV in the framework of the LURAS project implemented by Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), in close collaboration with DTEAP, MAF XKH, and DTEAP Kham. A partnership was agreed with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) to provide technical assistance.
The research found that both the metallic hermetic silos and the hermetic bags were able to preserve the quality of the maize grains (moisture and temperature) and avoid any damage due to pests. A cost-benefit analysis found that gross profits per ton are highest when farmers sell undried and uncleaned grain at “low season”, this is around December or January, where prices of this type of grain increase to around 1,700 LAK per kilo. Gross profits are almost as high if maize is stored in a hermetic metallic silo, and sold around April/May on the following year when prices for clean and dry maize reach around 2,200 to 2,300 LAK per kilogram. The gross profits per ton of maize grain stored in a GrainSafe bag decrease considerably, given the higher cost of the bag, while gross profits for maize of grain stored in small hermetic bags are slightly higher than those of grain stored in Grain Safe bags.
Based on the finding of this research the following recommendations are made: i) test with farmers new techniques for harvesting maize so that the maize is peeled at the field and maize leaves are left in the field to be used as compost; ii) test the use of cribs for storage of maize on the cob before it is being threshed and dried in order to reduce losses due to pests and potential high moisture; iii) test the use of a mechanical cleaner, to reduce the heavy workload of cleaning grains; iv) conduct the second round of researcher trying the same technologies in different environment and conditions; iv) support the development of supply chains of the tested technologies to be sold locally, including the support to metal workers to manufacture silos, the development of supply chain of hermetic bags, the support to young agripreneurs interested in providing drying and cleaning services. Full report here: http://laofab.org/
This is a great video from Ye Vue, please click the link below: