Increasing Farmer Food Security and Incomes: Grain Storage Solutions Phase One

We are testing grain storage methods to develop a simple solution to prevent crop losses due to weevil and rodent infestation.

Project Type

  • Experimentation


Smallholder farmers in Indonesia typically sell raw (unprocessed) crops at very low prices - earning very little income. Many farmers are much poorer than the rest of the population and ironically face food shortages. Two of the major food crops in East Nusa Tenggara province (NTT) are sorghum and maize. Farmers lose between 30-70% of stored grain because their traditional storage methods do not provide adequate protection against weevils or rodents. These losses are a major contributor to food insecurity and a hunger period across the province, especially during musim paceklik (off season). If farmers didn’t lose such a large portion of grain, they would have sufficient food to eat and sell in order to earn an adequate income.


There is a simple solution to post-harvest crop losses, involving the usage of airtight drums, or sealed bags. Grain stored in such airtight containers can be kept for a year or more; rodents cannot get into the drums and weevils cannot live or reproduce without oxygen. Thus with basic training on correct usage, this simple technology can virtually eliminate all post-harvest losses.

We will test three methods of storage, each using 50kg of sorghum.

  1. Traditional method (in plastic woven bag)
  2. Airtight plastic drum
  3. Hermetic storage plastic bag (Kantong Semar) inside plastic woven bag

Kopernik’s Depot Desa team will check on the status of the grain every month for six months. Each month we will take a sample of sorghum from each container and look for the following:

  • Number of weevils - dead
  • Number of weevils - alive
  • Moisture content

Results will be analysed and documented by the team. 


If the results from the experimentation phase are promising, Kopernik intends to develop the solution on a larger scale.

We are helping traditional grain farmers in Larantuka, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, who currently store their crops in a lumbung, resulting in crop losses. This project is part of Kopernik’s new initiative - the Village Depot or Depot Desa in Indonesian. This is a centralised agro-processing facility where smallholder farmers can access simple technologies to add value to their crops and increase food security and income.

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Kopernik tested two grain storage solutions in Likotuden, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. The experiment evaluated these solutions’ effectiveness in storing sorghum safely and eliminating weevils. This experiment tested a hermetic plastic bag and a hermetically sealed plastic drum.

Our hypothesis was that sorghum stored using a hermetic plastic bag or in a hermetically sealed plastic drum would have less weevils present compared to the traditional storage method (a plastic woven bag) and that this would lead to reduced grain losses. We also hypothesized that these storage methods would make stored sorghum safe from rodents.

Additionally, we measured the moisture level of the sorghum to ensure the new storage containers would not raise the moisture level beyond safe levels due to reduced airflow.

Our experiment concluded that both the hermetic plastic bag and hermetically sealed plastic drum:

  • reduced the number of weevils when compared to the traditional storage method
  • showed no sign of rodent infestation;
  • maintained the moisture level needed for safe human consumption.


Download the project report to read more.



Crops - Sorghum

Cost of crops - 100 units


Technology - Traditional Grain Storage Bag

Cost of technology (includes shipping, duty, clearance) - 3 units


Technology - Airtight Plastic Drum

Cost of technology (includes shipping, duty, clearance)


Technology - Hermatic Storage Bags

Cost of technology (includes shipping, duty, clearance) - 100 units


Moisture meter

Cost of technology (includes shipping, duty, clearance)


Project management


Data collection and documentation

Project monitoring and evaluation


Payment processing fee

3.3% average based on the average size of project and average donation amount


Administration fee

Covers due diligence, monitoring, printing & administration related costs


Total $2,953

Kopernik Solutions provided a sub-grant to a trusted partner organisation who is implementing this project.