Maize (Zea mays) and beans (Phaseolus species) are staple food, feed and sources of income for millions of people in developing countries and most especially for the people of the North West Region (NWR) of Cameroon. Production and storage of these grains is greatly hampered by inappropriate storage practices and pest infestation. This study determined the storage practices and insect pests associated with these grains in the NWR of Cameroon. A structured questionnaire designed to document the indigenous methods of storing maize and beans against post-harvest insect pests with particular emphasis on plants and plant-derived materials used was administered to 29 farmers selected from Babungo, Kom and Oku villages in the NWR of Cameroon. Samples of maize and beans were also collected from the stores of respondents to collect and identify the insect species. The 29 respondents used more than one method to protect their grains against damage by insects in storage. The different methods implored were conventional methods, local plants and wood ash with independent counts (percentages) of 18 (62.1 %), 18 (62.1 %) and 7 (24.1 %), respectively. Sitophilus zeamais, Tribolium casterneum, T. confusum and Brachymeria spp. were recorded in maize while only Acanthoscelides obtectus was recorded in beans. There were no significant differences in the number of insects recorded across the study sites. Therefore, post-harvest insect pests are a common problem in the NWR of Cameroon. Farmers within this region also use different methods of post-harvest storage practices to combat these pests. Integrated methods of post-harvest management should receive high priority to prevent damage and losses incurred. Management practices should focus on further developing plants used in post-harvest storage. There is equally a strong need for training farmers on aspects of post-harvest storage practices and management in the NWR of Cameroon.
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Vol. 29 • No. 1