Farmers’ grain storage and losses in Ethiopia: Measures and associates

ESSP Working Paper 115, by Fantu Bachewe, Bart Minten, Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse, Karl Pauw, Alethia Cameron, and Tirsit Genye Endaylalu.

Abstract: Storage losses at the farm are often assumed to be an important contributor to presumed large postharvest losses in developing countries. However, reliable and representative data on these losses are often lacking. We study farmers’ storage decisions and self-reported storage losses for grain based on two recent large-scale household surveys conducted in major agricultural areas in Ethiopia. We show that a relatively large share of grain production is stored by farm households themselves, mainly for own consumption, and that storage technologies are rudimentary. We find that farmers’ self-reported storage losses amount to an average of 4 percent of all grain stored and 2 percent of the total harvest. These storage losses are shown to differ significantly by socio-economic variables and wealth, but also by crop and humidity. We further see strong spatial heterogeneity in storage losses, being significantly higher in the southwestern part of the country. Efforts to scale up the adoption of improved storage technologies to reduce storage losses at the farm level should take into consideration these characteristics.Download the PDF.