What is storage?

Grain storage refers to holding stocks of cereals for future use. Storage may be practiced by farmers, traders, millers or other private agents or by the public sector. Grain producers may store for future consumption, in expectation of higher sales prices in the future, or to use grain as seed in the future. Most privately held grain stocks are kept to ensure availability for use between harvest periods, but public stockholding may be conducted to maintain strategic or security reserves across years. Storage technologies range from woven baskets, clay pots and hermetic bags to climate controlled silos.

What causes postharvest loss at this stage?

In many countries, 50 to 60% of grains are stored on-farm in highly permeable structures or bins, usually made with locally available materials. The permeability of these technologies implies exposure to pests, temperature variation and moisture for extended periods of time. Moisture and pest damage are leading causes of loss in storage. Moisture is particularly problematic as it can lead to mycotoxin development in cereals.

How large are losses in storage?

Storage is often the stage of the supply chain where the greatest losses are observed. In many cases, these losses reflect process failures in drying or other stages, but the losses manifest during storage. In temperature-controlled, hermetically sealed environments, losses are very low, while in environments that allow temperature and moisture content to vary and allow exposure to pests, losses are significant. In a survey of the literature, Kumar and Kalita (2017), report losses in storage as high as 40% for poorly stored maize in humid tropical conditions and as low as 1% for maize in well-controlled settings. That study also sites storage losses in rice that range from 3 to 25%, depending on technology and setting.

What does research focus on?

In addition to determining actual amounts of loss, research at the storage level examines different types of storage including hermetically sealed bags and containers. Research also explores different alternatives for different global regions.

To read research articles focusing on storage, refer to the table below.

TitlesAuthorsTagsPublication DateCategoryfilters_hfilter

Demand and Pricing Policy for Improved Storage Technology

Pallavi Shukla

Storage, India, India PHL Forum


Blog Post

india india-phl-forum storage region

Reducing Post-Harvest Loss with Multi-Sectoral Solutions

Jessa Barnard, Sarah Schwartz, and Maria Jones

Drying, Storage, Bangladesh, Ghana


Blog Post

bangladesh drying ghana storage region

Tackling Postharvest Food Loss in India

Rohini Kashimshetty

Drying, Storage, India


Blog Post

drying india storage region

On- and Off-Farm Mechanization in Bangladesh: A Sustainable Approach to Ensure Food Security

Dr. Chayan Kumer Saha

Drying, Storage, Mechanization, Bangladesh


Blog Post

bangladesh drying mechanization storage region

PHL Scholars: Examining the economic impacts of post-harvest loss prevention

Gowthami Venkateswaran



Blog Post


Hermetic Wheat Storage for Small Holder Farmers in India

Somavat, Pavel, Haibo Huang, Sunil Kumar, et al.

Storage, Wheat, PHL Technology


Journal Article

phl-technology storage wheat

Efficacy of Diversified Rice Storage Technologies in Bangladesh

MA Hossain, MA Awal, MR Ali, MM Alam

Paddy, Storage, PHL Technology


Journal Article

paddy phl-technology storage

Reducing Postharvest Losses during Storage of Grain Crops to Strengthen Food Security in Developing Countries

Kumar, Deepak, and Prasanta Kalita

Storage, Maize, Paddy, Wheat, PHL Technology


Journal Article

maize paddy phl-technology storage wheat

Predictions of Maximum Allowable Storage Time of Soybeans Using ASAE D535 and Experimental Dry Matter Loss Data

Steinman, Loren W., et al.

Storage, Oil Seeds


Journal Article

oilseeds storage

Using Improved Storage Technology to Reduce Food Insecurity and Postharvest Losses in India

Pallavi Shukla, Kathy Baylis, Hemant Pullabhotla

Storage, PHL Technology


White Paper

phl-technology storage

Comparison of Hermetic Storage of Wheat with Traditional Storage Methods in India

Somavat, Pavel, Haibo Huang, S Kumar, et al.

Storage, Wheat, PHL Technology


Journal Article

phl-technology storage wheat

References: Kumar, Deepak, and Prasanta Kalita. “Reducing Postharvest Losses during Storage of Grain Crops to Strengthen Food Security in Developing Countries.” Foods, vol. 6, no. 1, Jan. 2017, p. 1. EBSCOhost, doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/foods6010008.