Post-Harvest Storage Evaluation

Background

Each year, about one-third of the food produced globally goes to waste, much of it as a result of post-harvest loss. Smallholder farmers and the communities they feed are among those hit hardest by these losses. CITE will evaluate the technologies used by these farmers to reduce these losses such as multi-layer bags, containers, and silos in the Jinja, Kampala, and Gulu districts of Uganda.

The CITE team traveled to Uganda in January 2015 to do a pilot study of post-harvest storage technology use in coordination with the World Food Programme. The team will return this summer to evaluate these technologies in the field. Faculty and students will spend time interviewing farmers, manufacturers, producers, and suppliers of post-harvest storage products.

For this evaluation, CITE will focus on evaluating products’ sustainability and scalability in partnership with the World Food Programme and Makerere University. Both partners are well equipped to help CITE investigate the local supply chain and adoption aspects of crop storage technologies.

In order to capture the complexities of post-harvest food storage, CITE researchers are using a mixed research method involving simulation, optimization, and statistical modeling that is informed by empirical data and surveys conducted in Uganda.

 

Key Findings

On Post-Harvest Storage Technology Adoption

  1. Storage technology adoption had a positive impact on farmers’ livelihoods.
  2. Supply chain strengthening offered a better foundation for adoption than longer-term subsidies.
  3. The nascent supply chain for each storage technology had opportunities for improvement such as pursuing lower cost structures for all technologies or analyzing the potential for skilled workers and equipment to increase local artisan capacity.
  4. Exploring issues of trust with buyback contracts could improve product availability among risk-averse supply chain actors.

On Scaling Technology Adoption Generally

  1. Willingness to pay results are critical in designing the go-to-market strategy for product adoption.
  2. Multi-year facilitation support from a development organization provides opportunities to analyze and improve supply chains, which are critical for technology adoption.
  3. A mixed methods approach including empirical research and modeling enables better characterization of the system and identification of insights for scalability.
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