Effective Grain Storage Project (EGSP)Zambia and Zimbabwe


Traditional storage practices can leave staple grains vulnerable to pest infestations and grain pathogens, leading to post-harvest losses of up to 20-30% (Tefera et al. 2011). 1 The threat can push smallholder farmers into a poverty trap, where they are forced to sell their grain immediately due to the risk of spoilage, only to buy it back at a greater price a few months later (Ibid). Additionally, pest attacks have been linked to mycotoxin contaminations and poisoning, which make the grain unsafe for food and feed, further reducing food security (Ibid). Insecticides to address pest outbreaks are often prohibitively expensive or unavailable to smallholder farmers (Ibid).

Hermetically sealed metal silos are a simple yet effective technology which can protect grains from invading insects and animals, and keeps the grain safe for long periods of time. Through the "Effective Grain Storage for Sustainable Livelihood of African Farmers" project in Zimbabwe and Zambia, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) with funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, aims to bring reductions in post-harvest losses through improvements in grain storage technology, which can enhance food security, improve incomes, and reduce the vulnerability of resource-poor farmers (CIMMYT 2014). 2

Relationship to CSA
  • Productivity: Effective storage can provide substantial gains to food security as well as improve agricultural incomes, by allowing farmers to hold their stocks and sell them when market conditions are most favourable.
  • Adaptation: As the metal silo can store produce such as maize and bean for up to three years, farmers can put aside food reserves to prepare for climate change induced crop failures. EGSP also increases resilience to pests and diseases, which can spread as a result of climate change.
  • Mitigation: By reducing post-harvest losses, improved storage increases food security without the need for increases in production. This can relieve pressure to expand the area under cultivation or utilize more intensive farming practices, which can both be environmentally taxing.
Impacts and lessons learned

Reducing post-harvest losses is an effective way of increasing food production efficiency and improving food security. However, further cooperation among government organizations, NGOs, manufacturers, and farmers is needed to realise the full potential of this intervention.


  • 1

    Tefera T et al. 2011. The metal silo: An effective grain storage technology for reducing post-harvest insect and pathogen losses in maize while improving smallholder farmers’ food security in developing countries. Crop Protection 30(3):240-245.

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cropro.2010.11.015 Traditional storage practices in developing countries cannot guarantee protection against major storage pests of staple food crops like maize, leading to 20–30% grain losses, particularly due to post-harvest insect pests and grain pathogens. As a result, smallholder farmers end up selling their grain soon after harvest, only to buy it back at an expensive price just a few months after harvest, falling in a poverty trap. The potential impact on poverty reduction and greater livelihood security will not be realized, however, if farmers are unable to store grains and sell surplus production at attractive prices. Apart from causing quantitative losses, pests in stored grain are also linked to aflatoxin contamination and poisoning. To address this problem, a metal silo was developed as a valid option and proven effective in protecting stored grains from attack by storage insect pests. A metal silo is a cylindrical structure, constructed from a galvanized iron sheet and hermetically sealed, killing any insect pests that may be present. The impact of metal silo technology in Africa, Asia and Latin America includes, improving food security, empowering smallholder farmers, enhancing income opportunities and job creation, and safeguarding the agro-ecosystems. The metal silo can be fabricated in different sizes, 100 kg–3000 kg holding capacity by trained local artisans, with the corresponding prices of $35 to $375. The use of metal silo, therefore, should be encouraged in order to prevent storage losses and enhance food security in developing countries.
  • 2

    CIMMYT. 2013. Effective Grain Storage Project (EGSP).

    http://www.cimmyt.org/from-kenya-to-southern-africa-effective-grain-storage-crosses-borders/ Maize is core to food security, rural development and poverty reduction in eastern and southern Africa (ESA). Lack of appropriate grain storage technologies results in significant losses due to post-harvest pests (the larger grain borer, LGB, and the maize weevil), undermines food security, forces farmers to sell maize when prices are low, and blocks value addition and credit opportunities to poor households. The project targets and experimentally implements the “POSTCOSECHA” metal silo approach for improved grain storage in selected pilot areas and countries of ESA. It is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and draws on the highly successful experiences in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Apart from initiating the program in Africa, the project will provide SDC and other potential investors with conclusive insights on the viability, impact potential and actual scale-out pathway for a longer-term program in ESA.

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CCAFS Climate-Smart Agriculture 101

The basics

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrative approach to address these interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, that explicitly aims for three objectives:

A. Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development;

B. Adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and

C. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and fisheries).

Entry points

Agriculture affects and is affected by climate change in a wide range of ways and there are numerous entry points for initiating CSA programmes or enhancing existing activities. Productivity, mitigation and adaptation actions can take place at different technological, organizational, institutional and political levels. To help you navigate these myriad entry points we have grouped them under three Thematic Areas: (i) CSA practices, (ii) CSA systems approaches, and (iii) Enabling environments for CSA. Each entry point is then described and analysed in terms of productivity, adoption and mitigation potential and is illustrated with cases studies, references and internet links for further information.

Develop a CSA plan

Planning for, implementing and monitoring CSA projects and programmes evolves around issues of understanding the context including identification of major problems/barriers and opportunities related to the focus of the programme; developing and prioritizing solutions and designing plans; implementation; and monitoring and evaluation. Most major development agencies have their own framework for project and programme formulation and management but CCAFS has developed a specific approach for planning, implementing and assessing CSA projects and programme called CSA plan. CSA plan was developed to provide a guide for operationalizing CSA planning, implementation and monitoring at scale. CSA plan consist of four major components: (1) Situation analysis; (2) Targeting and prioritizing; (3) Program support; and (4) Monitoring. evaluation and learning.


To meet the objectives of CSA, such as agricultural development, food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation, a number of potential funding sources are available. For instance, climate finance sources may be used to leverage agriculture finance and mainstream climate change into agricultural investments. This section offers an overview of potential sources of funding for activities in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) at national, regional and international levels and for a number of different potential ‘clients’ including governments, civil society, development organizations and others. Additionally, it includes options to search among a range of funding opportunities according to CSA focus area, sector and financing instrument.

Resource library

CSA Guide provides a short and concise introduction and overview of the multifaceted aspects of climate-smart agriculture. At the same time it offers links to references and key resources that allows for further investigations and understanding of specific topics of interest. In the resource library we have gathered all the references, key resources, terms and questions in one place for a quick overview and easy access that can be used as a part of or independently of the other sections of the website. The resource library is divided into six sections; (1) References – list all publications, links and blogs referred to on the website; (2) Tools – list all the CSA tools presented on the website; (3) Key terms – explains the most important and frequently used terms related to CSA; (4) Frequently asked questions (FAQ) – provides a rapid overview of the most common questions asked on climate-smart agriculture; (5) About – where you can find out more about the purpose and structure of, as well as on the organizations and authors behind the website; (6) Contact.

Case studies

Local case studies

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