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Smallholder farmers in Rwanda will have storage facility, secure markets


Grain shortages aren’t a problem in the Kirehe District in eastern Rwanda; surpluses are. Without drying and storage facilities or a guaranteed market, the district’s bounteous yields deteriorate and are unable to command higher prices—when they can even find enough buyers. Now, with the help of USAID’s Post Harvest Handling and Storage (PHHS) project, managed by CARANA, Kirehe is shifting to a market-based system that will connect them to buyers and bring post-harvest technology to the district, creating new jobs in the process.

PHHS is partnering with a lead agricultural firm to fund construction of the Kirehe District Grain Bulking Centre, the first of its kind in the district. This center, serving more than 18,000 farming families, will link village aggregation centers to large-scale warehouses and regional markets, giving smallholder farmers access to a commercial market for maize and beans. Its storage facilities mean farmers will now be able to sell crops after the harvest period, when prices are typically higher. The center will also provide essential drying and cleaning services to improve the quality of grain, so it can command a higher price.

Construction of the grain bulking center was made possible by PHHS’ partnership with Enterprise Nkubili Alfred & Sons (ENAS), an agricultural firm in Rwanda specializing in buying and selling agricultural products. In collaboration with the Market Linkages Initiative (MLI), a USAID regional program based in Nairobi, PHHS facilitated the partnership through a cost-share grant, in which ENAS will contribute 80 percent of the funds for storage and equipment. PHHS will train to farmers using the ENAS storage system.

Published October 2010