After receiving a new five-year project, we are now in the third phase of the Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS3) project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The PICS3 project aims to improve market access and food security among smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. PICS3 builds on the successes of the Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS1) and the Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS2) projects. PICS3 will expand the commercialization of PICS technology for several crops throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Activities will be focused in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda but will reach into other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond using leverage support. The PICS3 goal is to increase the use of hermetic storage technologies by 20 percent of grain (maize, sorghum, wheat, rice, peanut, common bean, etc.) stored on-farm in target countries. This will reduce post-harvest losses of these cereal and legume grains while increasing incomes and improving food security of smallholder farm families. The use of PICS bags provides farmers the flexibility to sell their grains when they choose while supplying healthy, clean and insecticide-free food to their families throughout the year.
PICS3 will utilize Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools such as radio, cell phones, and other platforms like Short Message Service (SMS) to increase awareness and improve availability of PICS bags.