Saving Grains provides a number of tailored technological and business model innovations to reduce post-harvest losses, increase yields and deliver impact at scale to Africa's smallholder farmers.
1. Hermetic Storage Technology
Every farmer dreams of bumper crops and selling at high prices. But sub-standard storage equipment means that farmers often lose their crops to insects, mould or disease - forcing farmers to sell immediately after the harvest when prices are low. Even worse, many then have to buy back their own crops later in the season when prices are high.
Saving Grains believes airtight storage technology, known as hermetic storage, offers a solution. Hermetic storage controls moisture and protects crops against pests - yet has so far failed to reach many millions of smallholders who could benefit from them.
Our work raises awareness among smallholders, helps them to buy affordable, cost-effective and reliable hermetic bags, and builds long-lasting sustainable markets. We implement tailor-made communications campaigns, partner with local communities and farmer organisations, and bring the development sector, local governments, manufacturers of hermetic bags and local distributors together. We also facilitate the access of manufacturers and distributors to untapped markets across Africa, de-risking their investments. At the same time, our work offers international donors a clear path towards achieving the sustainable development goals.
2. Micro-Warehousing Technology
Even with hermetic technology, many smallholder farmers are still forced to sell immediately after the harvest to make ends meet. It often stops them from investing into growing yields. At the same time their crops go to large-scale traders with expensive and inefficient crop aggregation, transport and treatment - all of which drive up consumer prices at the expense of local communities.
To change this, Saving Grains aims to transform the way local markets work. We help local entrepreneurs purchase crop storage tools and facilitate access to funding and markets in order for them to become ‘micro-crops traders’. After harvest, smallholder farmers can then sell to a local entrepreneur - or micro-crop trader - who holds the crops in a community micro-warehouse. Here, the trader uses cutting-edge tools to check the quality of the crop and safely store it in hermetic storage containers. When crop prices rise months later, local traders then sell back to the community at a fair price, or to larger traders, and a share of the profit is automatically passed on to the smallholder farmer.
The entire process is delivered and regulated through a custom-made micro-warehousing app, which helps farmers, entrepreneurs and local communities securely and fairly do business.