Glasshouse harvesting: a great opportunity for the farm

Farming is the main employer of almost 90% of our beneficiaries, consequently storage and marketing of the produce are still among the main challenges:
Currently the farm has the “seed bank”, where to store up to 48.000 kg of dried harvest. Since the presence of the seed bank, the income of the beneficiaries has improved from 5 to 25%. But the community is also producing vegetables like tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions, carrots and greens. Some of these vegetables take 2-3 weeks before they are harvested, which gives farmers assurance of quick income generation. But, every member of the community is harvesting and therefore selling at the same time, being given by the traditional seasons, this brings to earn much less, because of an oversupply on the market.
To face this difficulty, four greenhouses have been installed at the farm, where to cultivate vegetables independently from the traditional seasons. Water comes from the farm’s solar water pump providing irrigation and the farm is able to produce throughout the year; demand goes up during dry periods when most of the other farmers are out of business. Nearly 100% of our beneficiaries grow maize in every season, but the concentrate on the traditional system of drying and milling. Fresh maize can make the farmer earn twice, if not thrice, the price compared to the dried one and by selling fresh products the farmer reduces his workload on post-harvest handling. The market for fresh maize is readily available in the nearby cities – the farm lies not far from the capital -, but the main challenge remains the transport. It is of fundamental importance to transport the products before they lose freshness. Depending on third parties for transportation, has not been reliable so far.
Maize takes between 120-145 days to grow, from planting to maturity. It requires about 220 days for the farmer to plant, harvest, dry and store in the seed bank. On average a family with one acre of farming land will be able to earn about 300 USD more from a single season with two planting patterns, if the product can be sold fresh.

ACTIONS
Cold room

The goal is to construct a cold room where farmers can store their perishable produce during the main season, keeping it fresh for selling for some months. The cold room will ensure that farmers are not exploited by forces of demand and supply: instead, farmers will benefit from 100% plus price whenever they decide to sell their products at a good cost. With a cold room it will be possible for the farm to market all the community farm products in hotels, restaurants and other grocery centres in nearby towns and cities. Instead of selling live pigs and chicken to butchers, it will be possible to train on dressing skills: a whole pig of 60kgcosts about 100 USD, yet the same pig after dressing it in butcher, will earn the middleman more than 100% profit.

Pick UP
With the same investment, the organization seeks to acquire a pick-up to have its reliable quick transportation of the produce from the farmers to the collection centre, before storing them in the cold room. The organization will arrange a market survey and identify potential consumers from hotel/restaurant levels, supermarkets and grocery dealers within the cities and towns around. They will handle all transportation of the produce on behalf of the community. This will mean to eliminate the middlemen and increase therefore the earnings from the produce. E.g. an egg tray of 30 eggs costs 2,27 USD at the local market, twenty miles away it costs 3,5 USD. Transport will also open gates to the farmers to deal directly with final consumers like hotels, restaurants and grocery canters. SDF will contribute with 50% of the cost of the pickup.

Fence
A wire mesh fence will be installed to secure the green houses.

Trainings
The farm will also train its last batch of members waiting on the list in skills of modern agriculture. The Demonstration Farm will also give piglets and kroiler chicken to households in March. The community must be trained on the importance of maintaining our product market supply. The SDF will bring experts who will portion the community into producing zones where production can be controlled. This will help in controlling and determining the capacity the cold room can accommodate in terms of kilograms.

BUDGET: 30.900 Euros for 2016
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