IRRI Super Bags to reduce rice wastage


IRRI superbag. Image taken from

1. Sustainability Problem

Rice production requires huge amounts of water consumption. It is estimated that all the rice land receives 35–45% of all the world’s irrigation water (which itself uses some 70% of all the world’s developed water resources). Consequently, being able to better store and stock produced rice will reduce the need for larger production, thus reducing the water footprint.

2. Technology Article Summary

The IRRI Super bag  is a farmer-friendly storage bag that allows cereal grains and other crops (e.g., maize or coffee) to be safely stored for extended periods. The Super bag fits as a liner inside existing storage bags (e.g., woven polypropylene or jute bags), thus making the principle of hermetic storage available to farmers and processors at low cost.

Relative to traditional storage systems, Super Bags have the following benefits:

  1. Extend the germination life of seed for planting from 6 to 12 months,
  2. Control insect grain pests (without using chemicals), and
  3. Improve the head rice recovery of stored grain typically by 10%.

Super bags reduce the flow of both oxygen and water between the stored grain or seed and the outside atmosphere. When properly sealed, respiration of grain and insects inside the bag reduce oxygen levels from 21% to 5%. This reduction reduces live insects to less than 1 insect/kg of grain without using insecticides – often within 10 days of sealing.

“Before, a 7-month storage caused my rice grains to break from moisture and pest infestations,” philippine farmer Manuel Luzentales Jr. recalls. “I tested the IRRI Super Bags on my harvest for the second planting season of 2010. After keeping my harvest in the IRRI Super Bags for 10 months, the seeds were 100% viable, and none were wasted.”

3. Organizational Stakeholders

  1. This work is funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)-funded Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC).
  2. IRRI (International Rice Research Institute)
  3. GrainPro Inc.
  4. SuperGrainbag
  5. Agriculture stores
  6. Local governments
  7. Rice producers

4. Deployment

  1. This work is funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)-funded Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC).
  2. The IRRI Super Bag is manufactured by GrainPro Inc. and is marketed as SuperGrainbag since 2012. IRRI, through its national partnerships, has verified the benefits of the IRRI Super Bag with tens of thousands of farmers throughout Asia, but acknowledges it is a challenge to bring the bags to millions of farmers in a commercial way.
  3. For this purpose, IRRI has initiated and is facilitating national Post-harvest Learning Alliances  that embrace public and private stakeholders who have an interest in and mandate to establish local supply chains for technologies. Through this Post-harvest Learning Alliance, IRRI is assisting in setting up and training local distributors for technologies such as the IRRI Super Bag.
  4. Key public stakeholder for this purpose should be local governments, subsidising the acquisition of IRRI super bags, which can now be bought in agriculture stores in countries like Philippines.
  5. Alternatively, local governments could issue tax reductions for local producers using the bag, and stores and distributors involved in the supply chain.

5. References

    1. IRRI super bag
    2. IRRI Super Bags to reduce rice wastage
    3. Super Bags to thwart rice wastage for Filipino farmers
    4. IRRI develops Super Bag
    5. Does rice really use too much water?

3 thoughts on “IRRI Super Bags to reduce rice wastage

  1. Hi Diego, great post! I think one of the biggest problems of the production of rice is the huge amount of water that it requires. With this technology, the rice industry can be more efficient in water consumption.


  2. Hi Diego thank you for this article. I have found the IRRI to be both a valuable academic resource and a forward-thinking innovative organization when conducting past projects on the virtual water footprint of international rice trade. Combining findings from this article and another by Chapagain and Hoekstra titled “The Green, Blue and Grey Water Footprint of Rice from both Production and Consumption Perspective” (, could help better quantify the water savings that result from the Super Bags, and also allow for potential observations between specific rice producing countries.


  3. Hi! This is definitely a great innovation! Asian rice producing countries like the Philippines will surely benefit from this and farmers need support from local government and distributors distributors so that they can afford the price. Storing grains in this bag will surely be very helpful especially in Asian climate where there are monsoons and typhoons that can damage storage facilities. With IRRI Supper Bag there is a lesser chance of grains getting wet and wasted. Thanks for posting!


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