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The Impact of Linking Farmers’ Cooperatives with a Maize Processor in Rwanda

Agriculture Rwanda

Credit: Kumwe Harvest

The Rwandan government has organized smallholder producer cooperatives, an agricultural extension program, and the SNS system to encourage and better measure farmers’ use of inputs, but farmers across the country still under utilize agricultural inputs. One reason cooperatives may not be investing in inputs is a lack of established contracts with food processors to buy their crops. Kumwe Harvest aims to improve the current maize processing system by buying maize on the cob from farmers, transporting it to processing centers, and managing the post-harvest processing in-house. The custom-built industrial shelling and drying machines replace the traditional six to ten-week post-harvest drying period with a twenty-four-hour process. Kumwe Harvest offers contracts to buy farmers’ entire lots of maize and pays them immediately after harvest, which has the potential to increase general agricultural productivity by reducing post-harvest losses from spoiled maize and labor costs. The researchers will randomly divide the cooperatives who will be planting maize in the upcoming season into a) those visited by representatives from Kumwe Harvest, who will offer cooperatives an opportunity to secure a buyer contract with them before the start of the agricultural growing season b) those who are not visited. Researchers will collect data from cooperatives and their members on land holdings, hired labor, crop yields, crop sales, crop choice, and agricultural income after the 2020 and 2021 harvests. Leveraging the SNS administrative data, which logs all fertilizer purchases in the country, researchers will be able to see if securing a contract causes cooperatives to invest more heavily in inputs.

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Partners
  • Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA)
  • Ministry of Agriculture - Rwanda Agriculture Board
  • Kumwe Harvest
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