Hey, insects: BUG OUT!
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The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that annual post-harvest losses of cereal crops in sub-Saharan Africa amounts to over $1.6 billion, the equivalent of the caloric needs of 20 million people. Much of this is due to insects in storage.
Tom Brumm, Mary and Charles Sukup Global Professor in Food Security, and his team are exploring non-chemical methods to control insect infestations in stored grain. They want to reduce post-harvest losses, especially in low-income countries.
“Smallholder farmers can easily lose up to 50% of their harvested grain in storage due to insect infestation," Brumm says. "This is the difference between going hungry and having money to pay their children’s school tuition. Our research will provide new methods for controlling insects in stored grain without chemicals, which will improve the farmers’ food security.”
Brumm and his team are implementing full-scale practices in demonstration projects in Uganda.