ISSB Granary is an alternative and more viable solution for food security especially for peasant farmers who cannot afford the minimum tonnage to put into silos. Additionally it is a commercial tool for farmers to store and sell their crop (e.g. maize) when the price is highest. This is usually 2-3 months after the harvest season during which the sales price is usually the lowest. In comparison to the traditional granaries, the construction of the ISSB Granary requires minimum skills and uses only environmentally friendly technologies (Interlocking Stabilised Soil Blocks or ISSB).
Post harvest losses by peasant farmers are very high, up to 40-60%. Therefore, the farmers struggle to produce enough food to cover their own needs and generate a surplus (which could be sold) at the same time. Due to a lack of savings, farmers have to sell some of their production during the harvest season when the prices are lowest. Additionally they don’t have any appropriate storage facilities to keep the product in acceptable quality. This is a pressing problem because peasant farmers remain in a vicious circle of poverty and hunger. With the worsening weather conditions, the situation is likely to get worse.
The solution's social impact is quite clear: Peasant farmers will (i) have enough food (ii) have surplus food to sell (iii) poverty will be reduced (iv) export of high quality food generates higher incomes.
A 3,000kg storage capacity granary costs 204 USD to construct. The product (maize) when sold will fetch USD 600. This will pay back the loan and the balance used to manage the next planting. Thereafter the peasant farmer will be generating higher profits for maize (and other products) than the low prices of 240 USD for 3,000kg.
Stage of development: ready for serial production
1. The block press costs 1,520 USD. This will be bought by a community entrepreneur who will do business of ISSB granary construction.
2. The entrepreneur will construct each ISSB granary at 204 USD (realising a profit of 26 USD). Using the economies of scale, this profit is sustainable for his business.
3. By lending the farmer 204 USD, at an interest rate of 15% pa (31 USD), the micro-finance company will get their money back within one season since the farmer will realise a net sale of 600 USD.