Improved protection

BR-RE_pics.jpgWith triple-layer bagging system PICS, the cowpeas are much better preserved © T Tiemtore

The triple bagging technique improves cowpea storage without adding chemicals

To protect and store cowpeas without using chemical products, researchers at Burkina Faso’s national agricultural research institute (INERA), in partnership with Purdue University in the US, developed a triple-layer bagging system known as PICS (Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage). The triple-layer technique consists of packaging cowpeas in two polyethylene bags, which are themselves placed in a woven, protective, polyethylene bag. Each bag costs 1,100 CFA (€1.68), which is 300-400 CFA (€0.45-0.60) more than traditional methods. However, with this method, the cowpeas are preserved better and bags can be reused several times.

Implementation of the PICS technique began in 2008 and has been spread through much of the country by researchers, farmer associations and NGOs active in the cowpea sector. In addition, since 2010, the government of Burkina Faso has ordered large numbers of bags, in order to make them widely available for producers.

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