The major objective of any venture including crop production is profit making. It is obvious that a lot has been done on crop production in Nigeria yet with little significant improvement on farmer’s livelihood.
In addendum to other production factors, taking just one more factor of moisture content determination into consideration can improve the lot of farmers. Unfortunately, many farmers in Nigeria do not believe that their profitability can be enhanced by knowing the actual moisture of their grains/seeds at all post-harvest stages.
Farmers are used to approximating the moisture content of grains by empirical evaluations mostly based on individual experience. Yet these methods do not give a true objective measurement; rather it only estimates the degree of moisture by subjective sensory perception (touch, sight and smell) of some of the grain’s characteristics.
These methods, as much as they could have worked for the farmers, is limited in accuracy compared to the use of improved modern moisture content determination technology such as Draminski Moisture Meter hence the urgent need for the use of instruments that permit a true measurement of the moisture content of grains/seeds.
Farmers are very concerned about drying grains, not minding the correctness and profitable dryness to acceptable and profitable moisture level. However, in the bid to meet requirements of buyers, they tend to dry and over-dry their grains; losing money to whoever is buying from them since they sell per weight. Farmers under-dry in some cases which leads to Insect infestation, Mould growth, deterioration and absolute rejection which means total loss to farmers.
Fair bargaining is another significance of moisture content determination. I have heard a cocoa farmer saying when they supply to a cocoa buyer at a higher moisture level than required, the buyer deducts from the cost per kilo of the cocoa yet if the cocoa is drier than the required level it does not attract any addition monetarily.
The tragedy of the whole story however is the frantic snub of these facts by Nigeria farmers when advised. Some even utter statements such as “it does not matter”, “we have been doing this for years” and so on.
Moisture content determination at all stages of post-harvest process improves profitability for all concerned group in the value chain.
- You will know the quality of your grain.
- You will be sure that the moisture of the grain you leave at the collection point is intact
- You will save time and money regarding deductions at the grain collection point
- You will store even large parts of grain safely for a long period of time
- You reduce the risk of mould occurring in any part of grain
- You prevent the grain from heating in silos
- You increase profitability of your crops
Importance of Moisture content determination in grains for improved profitability cannot be over emphasized. All farmers, grain dealers, grain storage facilities, grain processors and grain exporters alike are encouraged to improve their profitability by monitoring moisture content of grains.
Olagbaju is a Laboratory Equipment consultant and co-founder, Real People Concept.
First published here