ZeroFly Hermetic Bag reduces post harvest agricultural production loss by 30 percent.
For long, Ethiopia's agriculture sector has not been supported by modern agricultural technology. While the adoption of technology is lacking in each production process, it is particularly true at a post harvest stage where seeds, cereals, grains, and pulses are stored.
This is also the case in many countries across the globe. Due to this reason, an estimated 10 to 30 percent of the world's annual food production is lost during the post-harvest processes. This not only impacts income of farmers but also ultimately affects global food security.
According to the World Bank study, a one percent reduction in post-harvest losses corresponds to a gain of USD 40 million, with farmers as key beneficiaries. The value of post-harvest losses in Sub-Saharan Africa alone is nearly USD four billion a year out of an annual grain value of USD 27 billion.
Recently, the Federal Cooperatives Agency, in collaboration with Edemealem Ejigu Business Group, has introduced the new ZeroFly Hermetic Bag in the presence of cooperative members and other stakeholders at Adama town.
According to Usuman Surur, Agency General Director, ZeroFly Hermetic Bag is the first insecticide-incorporated storage bag to prevent pest infestations. It reduces the loss of seed or grains that can be consumed, stored for security, or sold for optimized prices, while not having the hazards associated with fumigation or the potential for pesticide residues that come from inaccurate insecticide spraying.
"Due to lack of knowledge and skill, commitment and technology and poor performance, there has been big problem related to the way of storage post harvesting seeds and other cereals. The major problem is that at times, the harvest is infested by insecticides," he said.
Insecticide is incorporated into individual fibers of the bags, which provides a powerful killing action against stored product insects before they can infest the grain or seed packed in the bag.
As to him, compared with the capacity, the Agency's provision of insecticide is encouraging. However, due to gaps in the provision of modern technology, the service delivery has not developed at the desired level. To address these problems, introducing such new technologies for the cooperatives and other stakeholders is essential, he added.
The new insecticide technology introduced would play an important role in improving farmers' production and productivity. "In Ethiopian case, the adoption of ZeroFly Storage Bag would save 30 percent of the harvest that would have otherwise been damaged by pesticide. The introduction of the bag makes it 100 percent sure that the harvest is not attacked by pesticide.
Goriginavebingham, Professor of Biochemistry and Etymology at Brasca University also said ZeroFly Storage Bag which is a woven polypropylene bag developed for postharvest storage of commodities; including cereals, grains, pulses and seeds significantly reduces insect damage compared to the controlled treatment, she said.
"Insecticide is incorporated into the individual fibbers, which provide powerful killing action against stored product insects before they can infest the grain/seed packed in the bag."
The ZeroFly Storage Bag is the first available insecticide-treated storage bag preventing damaging pest infestations and the first product of its kind using unique long lasting technology to kill the insecticides before they attack the seeds, she added.
According to Allen Montarsen Director of Medicine at Jusicafrancen Food Security Company, ZeroFly Storage Bag makes seed and grain in Ethiopia safe for human consumption.
"Zero Fly storage Bag is a product of new technology. Compared to other PP bags, this one has some incorporated insecticide, Deltamethrin, which is already approved by FAO and WHO. In the near future, a factory will be established in Ethiopian to expand the adoption of the technology," noted said.
According to Edemealem Ejigu General Manger Edemealem Ejigu Business Group, the Bag is the only storage bag that protects post-harvest grains and seeds against external and internal insect attacks. The ground-breaking innovation offers small and medium size farmers and traders trouble-free storage for up to two years, he said.
He added that Vestergaard is partnering with Edamlem Ejigu Investment Group to bring the technology to Ethiopia to reduce post-harvest storage losses for farmers and improve the quality of export agro products.
The future aim is to establish a factory to produce the bag locally. The cost of typical plastic bag is very balanced and fair, he added. The factory will be the second in the world in producing the bag, he stressed.
In her research intended to make sure that the adoption of the technology would not bring about any unintended harm, Professor Goriginavebingham developed different toxicology testing. "In every single country the insects are different. The expansions of insecticides are also different," she underlined. "So it is very important to check in every single country that this product is correctly functioning."
The use of safety accessories such as gloves and full-sleeved shirts and light footwear is recommended on the label; however, the sacks for handling in households are absolutely safe and hence no safety measures are required, as to the Professor.
The technology has been tested for six months at Baco Research Center and the results have been 100 percent effective and encouraging, according to Getachew Biru Director at Baco Research Center in Ethiopia,.
Dr. Eyasu Abrha State Minister at Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resource also expressed his conviction that besides saving seeds from extravagancy and insecticides, the ZeroFly Storage Bag is important to increase agricultural productivity and the quality of production of seeds and exports.