Researchers Recognized for Bean Storage Technology

Larry Murdock and James "Jess" Lowenberg-DeBoer received the “Knight of the National Order of Burkina Faso” award for substantially improving food security in Burkina Faso through bean storage technology.

Larry Murdock and James "Jess" Lowenberg-DeBoer, professors at Purdue University, received the Chevalier de l’Ordre National de Burkina Faso (Knight of the National Order of Burkina Faso) Award in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on Saturday, October 13, 2012, in recognition of their outstanding achievements with the PICS (Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage) program, which has substantially improved food security in Burkina Faso through the development and implementation of postharvest storage technology research. The National Order is the highest honor given by the government of Burkina Faso. To put the significance of this honor in context, in the United States, this honor is approximately the equivalent of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


Murdock and Lowenberg-DeBoer initially developed the triple bagging and solarization storage technologies under the Bean/Cowpea CRSP and have continued to successfully promote it through PICS. Storage technology has significantly improved the ability of smallholder farmers to store cowpea grains and beans safely in Africa, ensuring the longevity of a harvested crop against insect pests.  

The Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS) is a five-year project to improve cowpea storage in West and Central Africa. The goal of the PICS project is to have 50 percent of cowpea in West and Central Africa stored with hermetic method by 2012. The project is being implemented in 10 different countries in West and Central Africa, including Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Cameroon, Benin, Togo, and Chad. The PICS project plans to disseminate the triple-layer sack technology in 28,000 villages in West and Central Africa.

The specific objectives are to:

  1. determine the best design for a one-piece commercially available triple-layer plastic cowpea storage bag
  2. disseminate information on non-chemical cowpea storage methods to extension services, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and farmers
  3. demonstrate the most effective cowpea storage methods in each village in the major cowpea areas of West and Central Africa
  4. develop supply chain for triple-layer plastic sacks to make the technology available to farmers and provide opportunities to local businesses

This project is a joint collaborative effort involving various partners including international agricultural research centers, international development NGOs, National Agricultural Research Institutes, government agencies, local NGOs, private entrepreneurs, and farmers.


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