Evaluation of storage facilities for groundnut and cowpea in the Zabzugu and Saboba Districts in the Northern Region of Ghana

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Three storage containers; clay pot, jute and polypropylene sacks were evaluated for postharvest losses of groundnut and cowpea in the Zabzugu and Saboba Districts in the Northern Region. The survey revealed that 60% of the respondents were males while female farmers represented 40%. The age range of respondents from 38 to 47 years (35%) formed the largest group in groundnut and cowpea farming. Out of the 100 respondents 35 farmers representing 35% had no formal education, and 32% who had only basic education. Only 18% and 14% had secondary and tertiary education respectively. The survey also revealed lack of labour as the main constraint to the cultivation of the pulses. It also showed that, a considerably high loss occurred at harvest through pod stripping, mechanical damage, self-explosion and pest attack. Jute sack, crib, clay pot, mud silo and polypropylene sack were used by farmers with mud silo used to store for long term. A storage experiment showed a significant (p<0.05) and severe pest damage of cowpea in jute sack as a result of very high level pest infestation. Similarly, pest damage on groundnut was significant (p<0.05) among the storage containers with high level detected in jute sack while low but significant equal counts were detected in clay pot and polypropylene sack. Amount of undamaged cowpea grains were significantly not different (p>0.05) in the storage containers but different (p<0.05) with groundnut whole grains count. The analysis showed that, temperature within the storage containers for which the pulses, groundnut and cowpea were stored varied slightly between the two pulses with temperature range of 30.17 – 31.27ºC with significant difference (p<0.05) recorded. But there was no significant difference (p>0.05) was recorded among the storage containers on moisture and humidity. The storing cowpea and groundnut for longer periods reduce their capacity to germinate. As seen in Figures 18 and 19, all the three treatments decreased, with time, in germination percentage. This goes to support the claim by Ripp et al (1984) that the seeds must not be stored too long, since in course of time they lose the capacity to germinate. The cowpea weevil, the notorious cowpea post harvest pest and groundnut beetles, if not handled with prudent post-harvest management techniques, can destroy a granary full of cowpea and groundnut within four or five months, as in this study there was much loss of grain in the jute sack by the first month of storage Regardless of the poor performance of jute sack with reference to pest infestation and damage, it performed best in preserving and retaining the highest protein, fat, fibre and moisture level except carbohydrate and ash content of cowpea. No significant differences were recorded among the storage containers on nutritional composition of the groundnuts. Early maturing, drought and pest resistance and good yielding varieties of groundnut and cowpea could help increase production and minimize losses.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Philosophy degree in Postharvest Technology.