Deterioration and losses of products, during transport and storage, depend upon a series of physical, chemical, biological and human factors.
Proper packaging is an important element in reducing losses, especially in the tropics, climate considerably increases the risks of grain deterioration.
The main functions of packaging are:
- to permit easy handling, whether manual or mechanical;
- to reduce product losses by theft;
- to protect the product from external attack (by humidity, insects, sunlight, etc.).
There are various types of packaging for agricultural commodities, appropriate to the product's characteristics and to the marketing system.
Woven bags made of plant or plastic fibers are the usual type used for grain.
Rather reasonably-priced bags which still fulfill the functions described above can normally be made from such fibers.
The choice of the type of bag should take into account not only its inherent toughness and resistance to humidity, sunlight and pests but also the type of handling anticipated.