Postharvest practices, challenges and opportunities for grain producers in Arequipa, Peru

Jorge R. Díaz-Valderrama, Anastasia W. Njoroge, Dennis Macedo-Valdivia, Nancy Orihuela-Ordóñez, Bradley W. Smith, Victor Casa-Coila, Nelly Ramírez-Calderón, Jackeline Zanabria-Gálvez, Charles Woloshuk, Dieudonne Baributsa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Little is known about the major issues leading to postharvest losses in Peru, which are estimated to be 15–27%. We surveyed 503 farmers from the lowlands and Andean regions of Arequipa to learn more about the major grains produced and issues encountered during drying and storage. Rice, common bean, and quinoa were the most grown crops in the lowlands while starchy maize was the most cultivated crop in the highlands. Most farmers (90%) dried their crops in-field directly on the ground, which exposes them to rodents, birds, and insect pests. The majority of farmers (92%) used subjective methods to assess grain moisture content. About 77% of farmers identified insects as a major challenge during storage but only 44% said they used preventive measures such as the application of insecticides. Among farmers who stored grain, the main reason was for household consumption (61%); while among those who did not store, the main reason was the need for immediate cash at harvest (75%). Farmers who experienced insect problems, who stored seed or grain for sale, who stored longer, or farmers from the lowlands were more likely to apply insecticides on their stored products. These findings provide an opportunity for researchers, development organizations, and government agencies to improve postharvest handling and storage in Arequipa by disseminating drying technologies, moisture assessment tools and hermetic storage solutions among farmers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0240857
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11 November
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Díaz-Valderrama et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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