Post-harvest losses of grain in the developing world are extensive, leading to lower incomes among smallholder farmers and farm-level food security issues. This problem is particularly acute in Sub-Saharan Africa. Overall post-harvest losses in Sub-Saharan Africa are estimated at US$1.6 billion per year, or about 13.5% of the total value of grain production ($11 billion). Moreover, insufficient on-farm storage solutions often lead farmers to sell after harvest and receive lower prices when the market is flooded. Improved smallholder access to storage solutions could therefore lead to meaningful economic benefits if more grain was stored for sale or for later consumption.
The Kenya On-Farm Storage pilot aims to address post-harvest losses by facilitating the development, marketing and distribution of on-farm storage solutions to small farmers. The pilot focuses on storage of maize and other grains in Kenya. Maize is the most important staple food in Kenyans’ diets, providing roughly a third of the caloric intake for Kenya‘s population. The pilot will target the Rift Valley and Eastern Region.
The Rift Valley produces approximately 60% (2 million MT) of Kenya’s maize.
The Eastern Region, the third largest maize-producing region in Kenya, is known to experience significant losses from the large grain borer (LGB).
The pull mechanism has three primary objectives:
To increase the economic welfare of smallholder farmers through improved access to storage devices that minimize crop losses and enable smallholders to store maize throughout the year for food security and for price speculation, to sell their maize later at higher prices.
To help catalyze a sustainable long-term market for smallholder farmer storage devices in Kenya.
To test an innovative model of engaging the private sector to serve smallholder needs, with potential future applicability to the delivery of other goods and services to smallholders.
The pull mechanism will target companies that produce storage devices to innovate and adapt existing on-farm storage devices and sell them to smallholder farmers. The pull mechanism will not specify the technologies, nor the marketing or distribution systems. Instead, companies will be encouraged to solve three issues – cost-effectiveness, knowledge transfer to smallholder farmers, and economic benefit – in whatever approach they choose.
The pull mechanism is a combination of performance-based grants provided to companies based on verified sales of approved storage devices that meet a minimum 21,000 MT of Useful Life Adjusted Storage Threshold.
The proposed pilot is projected to reach approximately 480,000 smallholder farmers and create at least 172,000 MT of new storage capacity for grain in the Rift Valley and Eastern Region. The pilot is projected to generate US$14 million in smallholder benefits from the storage of high quality grain, the ability to spread sales into higher-priced periods and a reduced need to buy grain for household consumption, especially during non-harvest months. The pull mechanism is expected to enable participants to test marketing strategies that can be used for distribution of storage solutions and other products targeting smallholder consumers. If proven effective, these models can be expanded to other regions of Kenya and Africa.