Plastic drums or silos


Plastic drums and silos come in a variety of sizes and shapes. They are often of the same design used for water tanks. They are gas-tight (hermetic) so that when filled with grain and tightly closed a modified atmosphere is created that will kill insect pests. They range in capacity from 50kg to 4000kg. They should be located inside a house or under a shelter.



Pest Control Status: Pest control is native
Means of Quality Preservation:

When store filled with grain and closed a modified atmosphere is created that will kill insect pests.


Storage Period: 3-24 months
Capacity: 50kg - 4t
Lifespan: 15 year - 20 year
Initial cost: US$ 400 - 444
Cost per tonne per year: US$ 27 - 30

Commodities stored:

CEREALS - Maize (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda); Millet (Tanzania); Rice (Bangladesh); Sorghum (Tanzania, Uganda)

PULSES - Common bean (Tanzania, Uganda); Cowpea (Ghana, Uganda); Pigeon peas (Tanzania).






Materials used: Same quality of plastic as used in water tanks.
Locations made: Local plastics industry or imported. In some case inlet widened to facilitate grain loading and may be provided with an outlet port at the base. Kentainers (Kenya), plastic barrel (Tanzania), plastic tank (Uganda, Ghana), plastic grain store (Ondangwa Plastic Converters, Namibia)



Life span: 15 - 20 years




Marketing and promotions: In Tanzania plastic containers are used as stores but have not been promoted or marketed via campaigns. In Kenya, the Kentainer water tank is being trialled as a store. In Uganda, plastic silos were included in UN World Food Programme (WFP) trials from March 2014- May 2015. In 2001, a TechnoServe project in northern Ghana validated plastic water tanks at 13 sites with traders who stored and fumigated cowpeas in them.

Success and nature of marketing: In most countries the plastic silo has not been promoted. In Uganda, WFP provided a 70% subsidy and they distributed 6,142 plastic tanks of 100-150 kg capacity. In northern Ghana, initial success of plastic tanks was based on an opportunity for traders to supply cowpea to a large scale processor in southern Ghana. The technology was adapted successfully by further adoption was hindered by a failure of traders to secure cowpea of sufficient quality from farmers. The lesson in this case is that the needs of each link in the value chain must be carefully defined and supported unitl the whole chain is well established.

Training as part of the campaign: In most countries the plastic silo has not been promoted. In Bangladesh, a 2 day practical training on ecologically based rodent management included the plastic silo. 15,000 farmers trained. In Uganda, a 1 day training covered PH mgmt. and practical applications of new handling and storage equipment (including the plastic silo). This was followed up by on-farm refresher training and correct positioning of new store.




Degree of adoption: Kenya - no adoption of the Kentainer yet as it is new as a store; Tanzania - not much adoption yet; Uganda - 6,142 plastic tanks were distributed (@70% subsidy) across Tororo, Soroti, Gulu, Mbarara; Bangladesh - most of 15,000 farmers trained in rat management are using the plastic silo.

Reason for adoption:
  1. Less expensive than metal silos
  2. More durable than SuperGrain bags
  3. Easy to handle


Weaknesses of this store:
  1. They are relatively expensive
  2. In Uganda capacity/size is limiting, 100kg or 250lts was rather small although  in other countires larger plastic tanks are available


Barriers to adoption:
  1. Price means even with a 70% subsidy the tanks were too expensive for many farming HHs in Uganda
  2. Only one size was offered in Uganda
  3. Kentainers does not appear very interested in diversifying into this market
  4. Difficult to change the mindset of farmers from using a water storage container to store grain
  5. Only one inlet/outlet point, this is at the top of the plastic barrel


Overcoming barriers:
  1. Financing and credit options for farmers
  2. Improved awareness creation and promotion
  3. Install an outlet port





Use by institutions: None in Uganda where the smaller plastic drums on offer are too small for institutional storage.

After uses: Water tank, non-hermetic store




What to like: More durable than SuperGrain bags, and less expensive than metal silos, and readily available on the market. Are good for storage of those crops which are commonly stored in small quantities. e.g. pulses. Easy to move.

What to dislike: NA



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Located in: Drums and Tanks
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