Using local containers
Hermetic storage or sealed storage involves enclosing the grains in an air-tight container that minimizes gas exchange from the surrounding air with the inter-granular atmosphere inside the container. Benefits of hermetic storage include insect control without pesticides, high germination rates of seeds even after one year of storage and high milling quality.
Why use locally available containers?
There are commercial hermetic storage products like the Cocoons™ and the IRRI Super bags. However, in rural settings there are often no supply chains yet allowing farmers access to these commercial solutions. In local markets there are often containers available that can be easily converted into a hermetic storage system and thus allowing farmers to benefit from hermetic storage even if they can not buy the commercial solutions yet.
Examples of hermetic storage using local containers
On principle any solid container that can be sealed air tight can be used. If the material is porous like that of a clay pot it needs to be sealed e.g. using latex paint in the inside and the outside.
CAUTION: Plastic film (plastic bags) are very thin and have high oxygen permeability. Normal plastic bags, e.g. polyethylene bags (PE bags, polybags) that can be bought for various purposes let too much oxygen pass through the material. They are therefore not hermetic in the sense of hermetic storage. The IRRI Super bag is made from a special plastic composition that minimizes the oxygen permeability.
How to store your grain hermetically using local containers
Make sure to follow the steps below. If you use a container that contained chemicals or oil before clean it thoroughly. Make sure that the container does not have any holes or cracks.
While the technology is simple users sometimes still have bad experiences when the oxygen levels are higher than expected. This is often due to poor management. The following points are important.
Intermittent opening and closing allows oxygen re-entry which can lead to the rapid re-infestation of insects that hatch from eggs or larvae.
Comparison of commercial and locally available containers
There is no ideal solution since both systems have disadvantages. The choice of a hermetic storage system depends on availability and local conditions. The table below compares both systems.