Grading & Blending
The use of grading standards can send a clear indication of quality requirements to both producer and end-user. Although some countries have sought to support small farmers through purchase of all grain at the same price without regard to quality: under these circumstances grading standards cease to be operative by default. This may stimulate productivity but creates problems for end-users such as millers who require uniformity and consistency in quality to ensure efficient and cost-effective processing.
Whilst establishment of standards can set the guide-lines and rules for sale and purchase of grains, there has to be an institutional framework for their implementation. This is much easier to establish at centers of aggregation of grain e.g. ports, parastatal grain depots, than in the more diffuse rural areas and markets, where control and supervision of regulations is difficult.
Notwithstanding these problems, the establishment of quality and grading standards for producers and users can be beneficial in the following ways:
- Graded grains are likely to be more equably priced than non-standardized grains. This will bring stability not only to market prices but also to the quality offered.
- Prices quoted against a recognized grade assist producers and traders to market their products. This will also benefit net consumers of grain in more stable prices with assured quality.
- Greater conformity in quality through standardization will provide the millers, bakers and other processors with the consistency necessary for optimum performance.
- Standards reveal clear variations in quality and indicate the opportunities for improvement and the potential rewards to be obtained.
- The sanitary hazards associated with the inter-country movement of grain can be reduced if clearly-defined standards are enforced, particularly in relation to the prevention of spread of serious storage pests like the Larger Grain Borer.