Farmers in East Africa typically sell their maize at low price points, often right after harvest, rather than storing and selling later in the season when prices are higher. Researchers collaborated with One Acre Fund to design and test the impact of a harvest-time maize storage loan product. Results found that access to the loan allowed farmers to store maize when prices were low, use the loan to meet their present consumption needs, and postpone maize sales until prices rose to increase their revenue. The specific timing of the loan also matters: October loan offers, when prices were lowest, were more effective at increasing storage, net revenues, and total household consumption than loan offered in January. In addition, farmers in villages where fewer of their peers were offered the loan had greater revenue increases. Where large numbers of farmers stored maize for later sale, communities experienced less drastic price fluctuations that benefited everyone buying and selling maize in these poorly-integrated markets. Based on the estimated 28% return on investment, One Acre Fund has explored the logistics of scaling this maize storage loan offer to 70,000 farmers in Western Kenya.
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