Hermetic storage technology for handling of dry agricultural commodities: Practice, challenges, opportunities, research, and prospects in Zimbabwe
Storage pest management practices have relied on synthetic pesticides comprising: dust powders, liquid formulations and fumigants. Reduced efficacy against targeted species, negative health-related issues and increase in consumer awareness on potentially detrimental effects of synthetic pesticides have led to a shift towards safer and environmentally-benign alternatives. Hermetic technology is a pesticide-free storage alternative currently being used in Zimbabwe and other African countries. In
... ican countries. In the current paper, we review forms and characteristics of the hermetic technology available, organisations driving the technology, research and development (R&D) initiatives, and access and uptake trends in the country. The review draws out future prospects in terms of: stakeholder partnerships and roles, up-scaling/adoption options, R&D gaps, capacity building, and funding mechanisms for effective and sustainable uptake. Critical areas identified in the review include: the need for increasing the number of hermetic plastic liner brands available to enhance access and competitive pricing, improved distribution mechanisms for hermetic storage containers for easy access in remote areas, and generation of evidence-based efficacy data on the various hermetic storage containers in preserving quality of commercial, parent and foundation seed. Future opportunities include use of hermetic containers in the disinfestation of organic horticultural products using carbon dioxide gas hermetic fumigation. However, supporting policies are necessary to ensure sustainable adoption of the hermetic technology at subsistence and commercial scales.