HarvestHub connects farmers in Tanzania to post-harvest services including storage, processing, transportation, and direct connections to markets. Leveraging existing USSD technologies, high mobile phone penetration and mobile money services, HarvestHub will allow farmers to contract services on demand, and pay for the exact time and duration they need. By giving farmers a range of options post-harvest, HarvestHub will reduce food loss and improve farmer livelihoods.
An estimated 20-50% of food produced in Sub-Saharan Africa is lost post-harvest along the agricultural value chain between the farm and the consumer. This contributes to both loss of income to farmers at the economic margin and undermines local food supplies.
Technologies to prevent post-harvest loss (PHL) exist. Solutions include traditional storage warehouses, solar-powered cold storage systems, drying technologies, hermetically sealed feed bags, grain silos, and new innovations are entering the market regularly.
However, farmers and aggregators with perishable or surplus agricultural products often lack access to these technologies, primarily due to cost and accessibility. There is a clear and unacceptable gap between existing solutions and the farmers and aggregators who need them.
Addressing this gap fills a clear market need and will prevent overall food loss in Sub-Saharan Africa.
HarvestHub is a digital ecosystem connecting stakeholders across the agricultural value chain to prevent post-harvest loss (PHL).
The system capitalizes on the high mobile penetration of Tanzania (approximately 80% of households) and the common use of mobile money services.
The digital platform utilizes USSD for farmers using a basic mobile phone, as well as mobile application and internet interface.
The service allows owners of PHL technologies (warehouses, cold storage facilities, dryers, vehicles for transport, etc.) to rent, via a pay-as-you-go model, their services and facilities to farmers and aggregators.
It also provides farmers an option to sell products directly to the market, providing greater control over quantity and price.
Finally, it allows farmers to connect with one another for potential group-buying of these services or group sales.
Overall, HarvestHub provides a holistic solution to reduce food loss, improve farmer livelihood, and better stabilize the food supply.
It is clear that storage and other post-harvest technologies reduce food loss and increase farmer incomes. While post-harvest loss technologies such as warehouses or cold storage exist, they are not well utilized by small-holder farmers due to a lack of access and affordability.
Our solution connects farmers to these services and allows them to “rent” these services at an affordable rate and only as they need them (i.e. renting cold storage for one week).
The digital platform further connects farmers directly to the market and to one-another for group purchase services.
Finally, the collection of data on the demand for these post-harvest services will help spur new investments.
While there are other services in East Africa directly connecting farmers to markets, and one connecting them to warehouse storage, there is no comprehensive platform, nor is there one which utilizes the pay-as-you-go model to bring down the overall cost of these services.
HarvestHub has the potential to significantly reduce food loss in developing countries, while also increasing the income and livelinhood of small-scale farmers and agricultural workers.
There are 11.3 million agricultural workers in Tanzania, accounting for 78 percent of the labor force. Of these workers, approximately 4 million smallholder farmers, our of whom 85% live below the poverty line. HarvestHub has the potential to make a profound impact on the lives of these workers and their families.
The digital platform will mainly contribute to a SDG 12.3.1 by reducing food loss in developing countries.
The solution will also contribute to SDG target 2.3.2 by increasing income of small-scale food producers.