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.
Aflatoxin contamination is a global problem affecting 4.5 billion people in developing countries. Among the most carcinogenic substances known, aflatoxins are produced by some species of Aspergillus fungi that are most commonly found in grains such as maize and groundnuts. In Nigeria, where smallholders produce over 70% of the nation’s maize crop, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) estimates that up to 60% of maize may be aflatoxin contaminated in some years.
Although technologies to reduce aflatoxin contamination have existed for decades, barriers in the market, among other reasons, have prevented widespread adoption. Specifically, the lack of enforcement of aflatoxin contamination regulation limits incentives to investment in its control. In this setting, a pull mechanism focusing on increasing the adoption of existing aflatoxin control technology has the opportunity to improve the health and economic benefits of aflatoxin mitigation to farmers and other actors in the value chain.
The Nigeria Aflasafe™ Pilot focuses on incentivizing the adoption of Aflasafe™, a new biocontrol technology, by smallholder maize farmers. Although several technologies are available to address aflatoxin contamination, biocontrol represent the most promising technology for pilot support because it addresses aflatoxin contamination and is ready for deployment in Nigeria. Using native Aspergillus strains incapable of producing aflatoxin to crowd out aflatoxin-producing strains, Aflasafe™ prevents aflatoxin formation in the field and continues to protect grains from contamination through transport and storage. Extensive field tests of Aflasafe™ in Nigeria have shown an average of 80% reduction in aflatoxin levels in treated crops, and up to 99% reduction in some cases.
The Nigeria Aflasafe™ Pilot provides economic incentives to smallholder farmers for the adoption of Aflasafe™, an aflatoxin control technology. The pilot is designed to demonstrate a successful model for increasing smallholder adoption of biocontrol technology in Nigeria by reducing barriers to the widespread adoption of Aflasafe™ through a premium per-unit payment for maize verified to contain a high prevalence of Aflasafe™ strains in grains.
The pilot incentivizes the adoption of Aflasafe™ through managers of contract maize farming arrangements (known as aggregators), who are capable of interacting efficiently with smallholders and aggregating aflatoxin-free maize for sale in downstream markets. By providing smallholders with incentives as well as assistance to produce high-Aflasafe™maize, managers are able to aggregate and trade commercial quantities of healthy, aflatoxin-free maize.
The pull mechanism in the pilot builds a core group of participants to anchor the market for Aflasafe™, expanding from 1,000 farmers in Nigeria in the initial year (year 0) to 31,000 farmers in year 4. It also features technical assistance with the goal of increasing participating farmer yields. Farmers that receive training are expected to share their knowledge of production technologies with other farmers that participate in the program.
The structure of the pull mechanism features per-unit payments for performance that are tied to the number of kilograms of maize treated with Aflasafe™ collected from maize aggregators. Each aggregator will receive a premium payment equal to US $18.75 (3,000 Naira) for every metric ton of high-Aflasafe™ maize that is delivered to designated collection points. This payment corresponds to a premium rate of 5% to 13% depending on the current price of maize, which typically ranges from $250 to $375 per ton in Nigeria and corresponds to the long-term market premium level that is expected when the benefits of low-aflatoxin maize is more widely acknowledged.
For procurement documents and to apply for participation, visit the Get Involved page of this website.