PICS Program Overview
Purdue University and partner organizations have led efforts to commercialize the Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) technology, focusing on low-resource farmers in different regions of the world. Many government and development agencies, NGOs, and the private sector have trained farmers how to use hermetic storage technologies. Since 2007, PICS bags have been commercialized in more than 34 countries in Africa, Asia, and more recently in Central America and the Caribbean. More than 68,000 communities received training that reached an estimated 7 million farmers. From 2007 to June 2020, plastic factories around the world have manufactured and sold more than 23 million PICS bags to farmers and other users. Scale-up activities to increase adoption of PICS bags have been implemented in several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. These efforts have included (i) largescale extension activities that included training of extension/field agents, and training of farmers through demonstrations in villages and markets, (ii) developing the supply chain by working with the private sector to ensure the technology is available in communities and local markets, and (iii) media activities – print, audio and visual (radio, posters, TV, cell phones, newspapers, etc.).
The Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) bag is a low-cost, simple, and effective technology for low-resource farmers to help them preserve their dry crops after harvest with minimal losses due to storage insects. PICS technology involves storing grain in triple layer plastic bags. These bags are a great option for farmers who see major losses in their crops each year due to insect pests. The bags eliminate insecticide use and enable farmers to store and sell their crops at peak times, instead of selling at harvest when price is at the lowest. PICS technology also ensures farmers have enough supply of clean grain for home consumption for many months after harvest.
Our mission is to change lives through fighting hunger and stimulating economies. With the research and dissemination of PICS bags, we can minimize losses to crop storage insects. Through teamwork and collaboration with local and international partners and farmers, we continue improving the PICS bag technology and sharing it with farming families across the globe.
The PICS Program Aims To:
- Identify crops and other food products that could benefit from PICS technology.
- Test the technology through collaborative projects with scientists and partners in developing nations, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Analyze the potential economic benefits that the PICS technology can bring to different communities.
- Commercialize PICS bags to make them available to end-users, including small-holder farmers.