There is a dearth of comprehensive data regarding the performance of large-scale hermetic maize storage in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) as an alternative to the sole and widely used phosphine fumigant. Trials were therefore conducted at three sites in Zimbabwe for up to 12 months to evaluate the performance of 20 tonne-capacity GrainPro Cocoons™ compared with conventional phosphine fumigation practice. A split-plot experimental design was used consisting of two main plots, namely: the cocoon and fumigated stack with three sub-plots being depth positions: top, middle and bottom. At each site, sampling was conducted at setting-up and at termination. Samples were assessed for insect population, grain damage, weight loss, germination and moisture content. There were no significant differences between the main plots for grain damage, weight loss, insect pest population/kg and germination after 4 months of storage. Hermetic storage was significantly more effective than fumigation practice in preserving germination after 8 and 12 months; and in reducing grain damage, weight loss, and insect population after 12 months of storage (P < 0.05). An economic analysis using the cocoon instead of conventional fumigation, based on an incremental benefit-cost ratio (BCR), showed no benefit of the alternative when considering the local retail price. However, the alternative was beneficial with a BCR of 1.11 when import tariffs were removed from the initial cost. These findings show that with supporting national policies, cocoons can be a cost-effective alternative to phosphine fumigation. Other environmental and human safety gains of using cocoons are priceless.
Journal of Pest Science – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 5, 2018
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