GrainMate

GrainMate Moisture Meter is a low-cost grain moisture meter which makes it easy to accurately measure the moisture content in grains and animal feed before storage. It is an efficient meter for the use of aggregators, food processors, grain and poultry farmers in Ghana, helping them reduce post-harvest losses. It is best suited to measure the moisture content of several commodities including corn, rice, cowpea, wheat and soybean with the capacity to support up to 32 different crops. With GrainMate, farmers can accurately determine the moisture content in their grains or feed and know whether the feed is ready for storage or has to be dried some more. This ensures that stored grain can be kept for a long time without deteriorating. For aggregators and suppliers of grains, using this means that they can meet the standards set by the large food processing companies they supply to so they can make their sales. GrainMate is currently being produced and sold by Sesi Technologies, a Ghanaian start-up led by young entrepreneurs, for around 100 USD.

A major factor that determines the longevity of grains during its storage period is the moisture content at which the grains are stored. Too high moisture leads to fungal growth and aflatoxin contamination which destroys the grain making it unsafe for storage, feed or consumption. Current commercial grain moisture meters are expensive, averaging about $350  inclusive of the shipping costs, taxes and the distributor's profits. This makes it unaffordable for average smallholder farmers. They often resort to biting the grains, an inaccurate method that leads to storing the grains at the wrong moisture content resulting in losses of up to 30% of grains.

At $80 Grain Moisture Meter is over 3 times cheaper than conventional grain moisture meters on the market while offering an accuracy which is comparable to more expensive models which cost over $1000. Designed with non-tech-savvy smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa in mind, it has been tested extensively and is comparable in accuracy too much costlier commercial moisture meters. GrainMate is currently being used by over 1,000 farmers in the middle and upper regions of Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania.

Sesi Technologies is a for-profit enterprise with a team of 5-15  members. They make GrainMate readily available and accessible to farmers locally. They extensively work with donor agencies, farmer-based organizations and other agencies who offer training and work closely with farmers in areas related to post-harvest losses. By working with these partners they create awareness about the importance of moisture testing and the role of GrainMate, making them more willing to buy. GrainMate is also offered as a service for farmers who are unable to afford or purchase it. They can have their grains tested by an agent for a very small fee per bag. This model ensures that farmers can still determine the moisture content in their grains for very cheap. It is also durable, the only parts that need to be replaced regularly are batteries which are easily available locally.

GrainMate is part of the smart agriculture market which is currently estimated to be worth $7.53billion and is expected to grow to $13.5billion by 2023 according to Markets and Markets. The FAO also estimates that there are over 33 million smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa alone with a majority of them growing grains which GrainMate can potentially reach.

  • GrainMate can be produced locally with a wooden handle, bags, packaging and labels sourced locally while other parts such as the electronic components are sourced from overseas suppliers.
  •  It has no adverse effects on the environment, even the wooden handles do not deplete natural resources.
  • GrainMate consists of two parts, a handheld unit and an aluminium probe. The probe houses a very sensitive temperature and humidity sensor which measure the temperature and humidity in the grains being tested.
  • This information is fed to a microcontroller housed in the hand-held unit for processing. The microcontroller receives the temperature and humidity readings to estimate the moisture content in the grains.
  • A mobile application is connected to GrainMate via Bluetooth that allows users to take remotes readings and receive recommendations.

Key Facts

Organization: Sesi Technologies Ltd
Website: www.sesitechnologies.com
Contact: Issac Sesi
Email: isaac@sesitechnologies.com
Operating in: Ghana, Kenya & Tanzania

Category

Food & Agriculture