Saving Grains 301 GmbH

Award winner 2023
Category “Innovation for Development”

The Recipient

The social enterprise Saving Grains 301 GmbH was founded in 2019. The company drew on the founders’ experience from their previous work at the United Nations World Food Program. In view of the still widespread malnutrition and poverty, their entrepreneurial goal was to develop a model that is scalable and not just a one-off improvement. As a sustainable solution to high food losses and the unjust structure of the value chain – both of which are strong drivers of poverty – Saving Grains focuses on the entire value chain: Producers and their crop yields, aggregators as middlemen, industrial buyers and their demands in terms of quality and traceability. The company is based in Berlin and has a subsidiary in Accra, Ghana.

The Project

Over 200 million smallholder farmers in Africa sell their grain at dumping prices mostly during the harvest. High crop losses due to insect damage and improper storage further worsen their economic situation. Saving Grains addresses both issues with a practical and comprehensive approach. Firstly, they offer hermetically sealed transparent grain bags with integrated sensors. This eliminates food losses and allows the grain to be sold at a more attractive time. The second component of the award-winning approach is an app. The app automates and records grain transactions and the pay-out of profit shares. When supplying the food industry the app-data provides traceability to the food and feed industry enabling better quality and supply chain management. Small holder farmers participate in the value creation through a profit-share allowing profit increases by an average of 50 percent. Training to improve grain storage and quality assurance and the provision of financing are flanking components of this holistic solution, from which women in particular benefit.

How the prize money is used

Saving Grains will use the prize money to further develop the app for selling the grain via an online platform, primarily to industrial customers. Last but not least, the app also allows for transparency of sales and revenues. The project already successfully implemented in Ghana is also to be extended to Kenya in the near future.

(c) Saving Grains

Project progress

Thanks to the prize money, Saving Grains was able to realize the planned expansion of its project to Kenya and further develop the app as planned. In western Kenya, the business model was initially tested with 7 aggregators. All customers bought maize, which was financed, stored and sold by Saving Grains. With good results: The profit share of smallholders amounted to 4.8% increasing profits by about 50%. Aggregators made 75% in profits on average. Further progress was also made in Ghana. In both countries, Ghana and Kenya, the company established warehouses in which the farmers store the grain.

Another important step was the optimization of the business model. This takes into account the fact that the aggregators are often small farmers themselves. Saving Grains now acts as a buyer itself and sets a weekly purchase price based on the local grain price. The consistently high grain quality enables Saving Grains to sell larger quantities to food and animal feed manufacturers. The farmers share in the proceeds and have thus been able to increase their profits by an average of 50%. The stored grain can also be used as collateral for bank loans. Saving Grains offers aggregators a loan for buying more grain. In this way, they can participate disproportionately in the price increase for grain.

Learn more about Saving Grains

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