The Situation

In Kenya, a smallholder farmer’s income typically comes from crops with low yields and marginal profits. One of the reasons for this is that smallholder farmers are often isolated from markets and productive value chains. In addition, at harvest time, when prices are lowest due to excess supply, most smallholder maize farmers cannot afford to wait for optimal prices before selling to traders. Large grain warehouses are not generally available to smallholder farmers, and many risk losing their entire crop yields because they are unaware of or unable to follow proper storage practices.

The Opportunity

Grameen Foundation received a U.S. government grant to address these market gaps by developing an integrated mobile-technology system to help smallholder farmers properly store and manage their crops post-harvest. This system virtually warehouses their grain during harvest time, linking them to a financial institution to provide partial advances against the value of their stored crop, and connecting them with markets for final sale when prices increase. However, because the final government grant was $100k short of the expected amount, the final project was not able to invest in the planned universal technology infrastructure. The reduction in platform capacity resulted in a solution restricted to the pilot, which could not be scaled to future partners or countries.

Open Road's Response

A $58,000 grant to build a universal version of the technology infrastructure at the outset the project. The project now carries the ability to integrate with multiple existing platforms, enabling the project to become scalable without the need for additional resources or a second, scalable project.

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