The AgResults Kenya On-Farm Storage Project was a four-year, US $12 million project designed to incentivize private sector companies to develop, market, and sell new, or redesigned, on-farm storage devices to smallholder farmers. The goal was technology, marketing, and distribution agnostic. Instead, companies werre encouraged to consider cost and storage effectiveness for smallholder farmers, and the economic benefit to smallholder farmers and beyond, as they worked to meet prize thresholds for device sales. The project ran from 2014 to 2018, with final awards in October 2018.
Post-harvest grain losses in the developing world lead to lower incomes and food insecurity among smallholder farmers. This problem is particularly acute in Sub-Saharan Africa, where post-harvest losses are estimated at US $1.6 billion per year, or about 13.5 percent of the total value of grain production. Insufficient on-farm storage often forces farmers to sell their crops right after harvest, causing a surge in supply that lowers prices for their maize. While private sector solutions to post-harvest losses exist, they are often too expensive or not accessible to smallholder farmers across the developing world. In addition, in Kenya the presence of large grain borer pests in certain areas is particularly damaging to traditionally-stored grain.
The project's prize incentive will encourage private sector actors to develop distribution networks and marketing strategies to promote their improved on-farm storage products to farmers, who through increased familiarity will invest in improved storage. Increased use of on-farm storage devices will lead farmers to store more grain with fewer losses, reducing purchases of grain and improving household incomes and food security.
The Project aimed to improve smallholder food security by raising awareness about the role of on-farm storage in reducing post-harvest losses and improving access to improved storage devices. Adoption of improved devices was expected to reduce grain loss and make more grain available for consumption. It would also reduce smallholder households’ pesticide exposure to the extent that most of the storage technologies do not require pesticide dusting. Finally, to the extent that the storage solutions allow smallholders to safely store grain for longer periods, increased storage adoption would allow farmers to sell grain at better prices, resulting in increased revenue.
AgResults expected to achieve the following by the end of the project:
Smallholder Farmers Participants
Private Investment Leveraged (approx)
Prize Funds Awarded
This table illustrates how our learning has evolved in Kenya from project design through implementation. Further details can be found in the Learning Library below.
In Kenya, the Evaluator is using an interrupted time series impact evaluation design to assess the project’s impact on smallholders. This approach tracks the key outcomes over time before, during, and after the project. To assess impact of the project on the market for storage solutions, they employ primarily qualitative research guided by the structure conduct and performance paradigm.
The Evaluator carried out the first phase of the baseline in 2014, with reference to the 2013 harvest. The second phase of the baseline was in 2015, with reference to the 2014 harvest. Endline data collection finished in September 2018, and evaluation findings are forthcoming.
Andrew Gathecha is a Team Lead on the AgResults Kenya On-Farm Storage Challenge Project and has more than 15 years of experience in agriculture, health, education, and media sectors. He holds an MBA from Heriot-Watt University and a Bachelor’s degree in business and economics from Kenyatta University. He is a certified public accountant as well as a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya. Mr. Gathecha is pursuing his doctorate in business administration from the University of Newcastle.
Caroline Kipkorir has more than eight years of experience with statistics and surveys. As Tanager’s Technical Officer for the AgResults Kenya On-Farm Storage Challenge Project, she works with diverse stakeholders to achieve project objectives. Ms. Kipkorir recently oversaw a successful rural household survey of 5,647 respondents to assess uptake of hermetic technologies by smallholder farmers. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in statistics from—and is a Master’s in applied statistics finalist at—Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.