Two Essays on Post-harvest Drying and Storage Practices for Maize in Sub-Saharan Africa

2019-08-13T18:44:03Z (GMT) by Amanda J Fuller
This thesis consists of two essays that each discuss a major component of the post-harvest management of maize in sub-Saharan Africa: drying and storage. The first essay uses cross-country data about on-farm storage decisions between 2013 and 2015 to assess the severity of storage loss in the absence of improved storage technologies. We find that while losses are low, farmers report on average that they lose more than expected and sell earlier than originally intended at harvest. Additionally, we look for evidence that farmers use adaptation strategies for the purpose of mitigating storage loss and find that storage chemicals are effective at both reducing loss and increasing storage duration. The second essay introduces a third-party moisture testing service to traders in western Kenya to elicit willingness to pay for external quality verification using two moisture detection devices, a low-cost hygrometer and a commercial grade moisture meter. We find that while traders value the moisture meter service more, the hygrometer service is more profitable for potential service providers. Further, when offered a chance to purchase the hygrometer device at/around market price ($2.50), only 15% of traders accepted the offer, suggesting that a service provider model is a viable way to make moisture testing more widely accessible and standard practice in the future.