ROUTINE PROCEDURES - Food Resources Manual

Maintenance and Cleaning

Keeping warehouses well-maintained and clean is critical to insuring that the maximum amount of food is available for distribution to program beneficiaries.

  1. Maintenance
  2. Warehouse managers and storekeepers must periodically examine the warehouse for structural deficiencies.

    • Repair leaking roofs.
    • Seal cracks in the warehouse floor, wherever possible.
    • Close any openings in the eaves, walls or foundation where birds or rodents can enter.
  3. Cleaning
  4. Keeping warehouses clean reduces dust, cobwebs, bird droppings and the risk of insect and rodent infestation. The warehouse manager or storekeeper should develop a cleaning plan which assigns specific duties to warehouse staff. The following table provides one example for a cleaning plan.

    Warehouse Cleaning Plan

Warehouse Inspections

Warehouse managers or storekeepers should assign someone to inspect warehouses routinely with the focus on cleanliness, maintenance of the structure, and proper storage and accounting practices. The following table lists areas of the warehouse to be inspected and evidence that may indicate problems. For an inspection checklist see Attachment, which is taken from CARE’s Commodity Storage and Handling Manual, 1992.

Guidelines for Warehouse Inspections

Preventing Damage and Loss

When inspecting stacks, climb to the top and spot check bags or containers underneath top layer, and from the side carefully look in between bags or containers.

Inspection of Stacks

Take action based on the guidance listed in the following table. The terms repackaging and reconstitution are used interchangeably.

Controlling Damage to Food


Disposal of Empty Bags or Containers

Empty bags or containers of food may have a high resale value, depending on the type of container and market conditions in the country where the program is located. Each country office should establish guidelines and procedures for the disposition of empty containers in accordance with donor requirements. Although not specifically mentioned in donor regulations, a country office may choose to set aside some empty containers which can be used for future repackaging of food.

  1. Sale of Bags or Containers
  2. The sale of empty bags or containers should be coordinated among country office logistics, finance and administrative procurement staff. Before deciding whether or not to sell, program managers must determine if the benefits exceed the costs.

    Factors to Consider in Selling Bags or Containers

    • Value of bag or container in relation to the value of the food it contained. For example, in some countries the value of a pail that contained vegetable oil may be equal to 1/3 of the value of the oil.
    • Value of empty containers in general. In some countries empty sacks have a relatively high value, while in others the value is nominal.
    • Distance from a viable market or the likelihood that potential buyers will come to warehouses to pick up bags or containers.
    • How does sale affect local production of bags and containers?
    • Costs involved in selling empty bags or containers-- transport back to central store, labor, advertising, management, and inventory recordkeeping.
    • Experience of staff to manage sales.
    • Donor requirements and agreements with donors to sell.

    Establish a tendering process similar to that used for the sale of food unfit for human consumption. Soliciting competitive bids minimizes the possible appearance of impropriety and maximizes the price for the empty bags or containers. The policies and procedures set forth in CARE USA’s Procurement Manual for Overseas Operations.

    Obliterate donor markings on the containers with paint or a marker. Seeing containers in local markets whose markings have not been obliterated can create a wrong impression. If it is not feasible to obliterate the markings, notify the donor and reach an agreement in writing about how to proceed.

  3. Proceeds from Sales
  4. Deduct the costs incurred in selling the bags and containers from sales proceeds. Country offices and counterparts, as applicable, must follow all requirements set forth on the CARE Overseas Financial Manual when receiving and distributing proceeds received from the sale of empty bags or containers.

  5. Inventory Controls
  6. controls must be put in place to insure accountability so empty bags or containers are not misappropriated. The same principles and guidelines for managing food in this manual apply.


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