Post-harvest grain losses are substantially high among smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. The losses vary among countries, crops, and between seasons with the average loss ranging from 20–40%. This high loss suggests the need for greater attention on reducing post-harvest grain losses in order to address the problem of household food insecurity in developing countries.
As part of reducing the problem of post-harvest grain losses, Africa RISING, through activities implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), has introduced improved hermetic grain storage technologies to smallholder farmers in Tanzania. The improved storage technologies have been tested for their effectiveness in reducing post-harvest grain losses. However, little is known about the economic benefits of using these technologies.
The study summarized in the poster below aimed to quantify the financial gains from the improved storage technologies and to examine how these gains compare with the traditional technology. Specifically, the economic advantage of using Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) bags over Polypropylene bags which are commonly used by the farmers was analyzed.
The results show that PICS are profitable and hence worth investing in. The net-benefit of PICS for an average maize producer is Tshs 3,727 (USD 1.7)  per bag per storage season which is equivalent to Tshs 67,087  (USD 30.7) per household per season. The net benefit is negative for low maize producers. This is because the average production of this category of farmers is small which could be depleted from the store before the pests are reproduced to the extent that they cause substantial damage. Nevertheless, the new storage bags are economically feasible for other groups of farmers and the size of the benefits per household increases as one goes from the lower middle producer category through to the top producer category with the minimum and maximum figures of Tshs 12,073 and Tshs 178,810 per household per season. The new storage bags remain economically feasible for these groups even if grain prices were lower than the base price by 20% or the price of the bags would be higher than the base price by 20%.

CGSpace record: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/78117
Read a related story on Africa RISING work in Tanzania.

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