Time for farmers to plant seeds they stored in jerrycans

by James Kamuye Kataru

Today I want to divert from the series on SAWBO model farms and dwell on the most important practice that’s ongoing now, that many farmers are in their fields. We realize that a majority of farmers in Kenya are working on their farms after the onset of the heavy rains. Some parts of the country are lucky to experience two annual rain seasons, which are agriculturally productive. The Feed the Future Scientific Animations Without Borders Responsive Adaptive Participatory Information Dissemination Program or SAWBO RAPID, a program made possible with support from USAID and based at Michigan State University and Purdue University in the United States (U.S.) details a jerrycan bean storage technique with which, using locally available tools, farmers can store grain seed collected from the previous harvest for use in the next planting season. 

Using animations in local languages with familiar imagery and collaborating with local partners, The SAWBO RAPID project identifies critical food security topics and delivers knowledge to mitigate COVID-19’s secondary economic impacts, including disruption to trade, supply chains, and markets. The project is a part of SAWBO, which has been creating animations and delivering knowledge globally for over a decade. The SAWBO library contains over 100 animations in 200+ language variants reaching over 50 million known viewers. Visit the SAWBO website for more information. 

 The Kataru concepts team has been at the forefront sharing SAWBO animation videos on the jerrycan bean storage technique and encouraging farmers to pick the best grains from their harvest to store as seed for the next planting season. This SAWBO animation has been so educative, helpful, and handy in guaranteeing good quality seed and a vibrant crop. Our journey started from the Bulechia community of Mumias East constituency where we trained farmers on the jerrycan bean storage technique. We then moved to the Bahati youth group of Lumakanda where, besides training and disseminating the SAWBO video on fighting malaria, we spared time to talk to the youth and share videos on the jerrycan bean storage technique, which they readily implemented. We have always had pride in downloading, sharing, and watching the video with friends and family and confirm that indeed farmers have learned one of the most friendly seed storage techniques. 

The team has always created time to share the educative video with its farmers’ network and encouraged them to implement the knowledge learned. That’s why, on behalf of the team, I take this opportunity to encourage all farmers and readers who took our advice and stored their beans and other grains in jerrycans to use them to plant their farms right away and give feedback on their farm progress as we continue to collaborate on other farming practices advanced by SAWBO. I would love to mention that after planting your fields, your families can consume what shall be left because this storage technique ensures the grains are fit for human consumption. As we all know, there are no chemicals or preservatives added to the seed. 

We have also taken time to share this jerrycan bean storage technique on all our WhatsApp groups, encouraging farmers and other grain dealers to exercise the technique in storing grains set aside for seed, and even grains set aside for food that can be stored in larger containers. To farmers and other grain dealers, “remember that if you’ve stored grains for food in a number of containers, don’t open several containers at the same time. Always ensure that your family has consumed the contents of the first open container before you open the second one.”

In our culture farmers prefer to buy certified hybrid maize seed from Agro shops, but get other grains for planting from vendors on the open-air markets. This includes Beans, Bambara nuts, soy, millet, sorghum, peanuts, and sweet corn (yellow maize). I wish to remind farmers to get ready to prepare and store seed from their next harvest and save money they would have spent buying from local vendors. Farmers should also keep sharing and watching the animation video on the jerrycan bean storage technique found in several local East African dialects. All available dialects can be selected from the language list as indicated in the diagram to help them understand the technique.  

Ultimately, there are a number of quick reminders to both farmers and users of the jerrycan bean storage technique that include:

Always ensure grains to be stored are dry with a moisture content below 14%.

Shake the jerrycan as you add seeds to ensure that stored grains are compacted to occupy all available space.

Put a double folded plastic sheet before you put and tighten the cap/lid of the container. This stops air from entering the jerrycan and its contents.

Label the container with the type of seed and date stored. Grains for planting should not be stored beyond 6 months.

Store the container with seed in a dry cool place out of the reach of children.

Open the container only when you want to plant or eat the stored grains.

By observing the outlined rules and more in the jerrycan bean storage video, farmers will be assured of enough harvest for their family’s consumption and extra for sale.

This animation is available in 36 languages. Please watch, download and share this video by sharing the link on WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Post-Harvest Loss: Jerrycan bean storage

Languages                  URL

Bukusu                         https://sawbo.page.link/2ezp  

Chonyi                         https://sawbo.page.link/MKNd  

Dawida                        https://sawbo.page.link/hCY9  

Duruma                       https://sawbo.page.link/br6Z  

English                         https://sawbo.page.link/8wwe  

Embu                           https://sawbo.page.link/e9Xr  

Giryama                      https://sawbo.page.link/AE1T  

Gusii                            https://sawbo.page.link/XgKb  

Kamba                         https://sawbo.page.link/dAju  

Kidigo                          https://sawbo.page.link/U3tY     

Kikuyu                          https://sawbo.page.link/9GAi  

Kipsigis                                    https://sawbo.page.link/BsTj  

Luhya-Idhako               https://sawbo.page.link/o4TB  

Luhya-Isukha               https://sawbo.page.link/ZJfz  

Luhya-Kabras              https://sawbo.page.link/7kGz  

Luhya-Khayo                https://sawbo.page.link/v3Ma  

Luhya-Kinyala              https://sawbo.page.link/uKvd  

Luhya-Kisa                   https://sawbo.page.link/e5tj  

Luhya-Marachi            https://sawbo.page.link/EhwM  

Luhya-Maragoli          https://sawbo.page.link/274Y  

Luhya-Marama           https://sawbo.page.link/hKwS  

Luhya-Samia               https://sawbo.page.link/oCaQ  

Luhya-Tsotso               https://sawbo.page.link/1aAb  

Luhya-Wanga              https://sawbo.page.link/ei3v  

Luo                              https://sawbo.page.link/iP3i  

Maasai                                    https://sawbo.page.link/GVb9  

Meru                           https://sawbo.page.link/a4VX  

Mijikenda-Jibana        https://sawbo.page.link/NHu8  

Mijikenda-Kambe       https://sawbo.page.link/HVFf  

Mijikenda-Kauma       https://sawbo.page.link/S2Bm  

Nandi                           https://sawbo.page.link/FwAh  

Pokot                           https://sawbo.page.link/B6Pi  

Sabaot                         https://sawbo.page.link/v6DG  

Somali                         https://sawbo.page.link/52nX  

Swahili                         https://sawbo.page.link/LBBF  

Taveta-Taita                https://sawbo.page.link/kYEx  

SAWBO RAPID is funded through a grant from Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. This blog article was made possible through support provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development under the terms of the agreement no. 7200AA20LA00002. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. government.

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