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Design Of An Improved Traditional African Granary: Literature Review
  • Lawrence Kabinga
Lawrence Kabinga

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In the past several decades, domineering influence from the western culture has played an important role in Africans abandoning their traditional foods for the more appearing western cuisines and highly refined factory foods. Unfortunately, this approach results in problems related to increase in lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity, impotence in men, high blood pressure and cancer to name but a few. This problem has been largely studied and many viable solutions have been found including going back to consumption of traditional foods. Consequently, there has been much campaign and spirited debate in the media for the need to return to the consumption of African traditional foodstuffs to try to reduce the spread of the lifestyle diseases. On the same note, African communities have abandoned their traditional farming practices including food storage and warehousing practices. This turns out to be even more problematic because instead of improving their traditional food storage practices like granaries, on the contrary they have adopted urban systems, which have proved ineffective and inefficient. For instance, such poor storage practices include the following: the use of converted storage rooms in modern urban residential houses; construction of stock yards and sheds using cheap scientifically untested materials, poorly built traditional granaries due to loss of artisanship and knowledge from one generation to another and use of shopping bags and plastics. This is a basic chicken-and-egg problem, therefore, this article encourages the need for new research initiatives aimed at coming up with a newly designed African granary as a solution to reducing postharvest losses by rural farmers in Kenya and other developing countries. Other studies have failed to come up with a viable solution to the problems occasioned by the traditional African granary and the modern versions in the markets. The aims of this research are twofold: firstly to find engineering solutions to the practical and applicability challenges facing the traditional African granary, secondly, to design a commercially viable technically practical traditional African granary prototype. Therefore, this paper evaluates the past and currents trends in the use of the African granary and proposes new technical improvements to make it more suitable in combating pest, rodents and disease invasion. This shall be done, by searching for appropriate literature on the current problems associated with the granary and forecasting the economic, technical, socio-cultural, governmental and legal benefits of a newly designed traditional African granary. This thesis will document several key contributions made to the fields of warehousing and stores management: to reduce post-harvest losses by 90% therefore combating food shortage and hunger in Kenya and other developing countries of the world.