The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) shut down its activities in December 2020 at the end of its mandate. The administrative closure of the Centre was completed in November 2021.

Completion report Grain Hub

Smallholder farmers are responsible for up to 90% of grain production in East Africa, but most of them face many challenges and are unable to reach the market and make a profit. They depend on their farms for income, but they often lack the skills and the knowledge to trade effectively and secure an income. The inputs they require (such as improved seeds and fertilisers) are expensive and are not always available. There are not enough facilities to store their produce; as such, most farmers are unable to wait for a better market price for their crops. In addition, traders and processors are not able to purchase grain from individual farmers as the volumes they produce are relatively small (showing limited possibilities for economies of scale).
In partnership with the Eastern African Grain Council (EAGC), CTA conceptualised the grain trade business hub (G-Hub) model and provided a grant of €400,000 to EAGC to implement a project in Kenya and Tanzania. The G-Hub was designed as a service delivery model aimed at solving some of the challenges that most smallholder farmers in the region face in terms of input and output markets and the need to reduce post-harvest losses. The G-Hub model offered several services, including digital registration and profiling of farmers, consolidation and collective purchase of inputs, leasing or hiring of equipment and machinery, grain aggregation and warehousing, provision of technical advisory services, and a strong link to financial services for credit and output markets.The project, which started in April 2018, was expected to increase the production and income of 20,000 smallholder grain farmers through the establishment of 20 G-Hubs. The key project interventions included the design and implementation of the G-Hubs in various parts of Kenya and Tanzania, facilitating linkages with input suppliers, financing agencies and grain traders, and building the capacity for a structured trade mechanism. The project supported the execution of the EAGC strategic plan that aims to achieve more and better trade in grain by EAGC members and smallholder farmers’ organisations through the structured trading systems.
After almost two years, the project had helped set up 35 G-Hubs in Kenya and 28 in Tanzania. These are all operational and offering a variety of services to more than 42,000 farmers, all of whom were registered digitally as members. The G-Hubs have significantly increased farmers’ access to inputs, finance and output markets. A total of 2,816.8 t of fertiliser, 1,298.7 t of seed and 14,223 litres of agrochemicals were procured by farmers through the G-Hubs, and they received loans amounting to US$154,936. In terms of access to output markets, the G-Hubs enabled trade of 3080.3 t of grains (1,724.25 t of beans, 329.06 t of green gram and 1,020.74 t of maize), valued at US$1,901,165.60.