Zasaka Agricultural Technology & Services
An integrated suite of agricultural technologies and services to farmers in Africa to increase yield and decrease post-harvest loss.
Meet Scale-Ups Fellow, Carl Jensen
Carl and Zasaka cofounder Sunday Silungwe, the founder of Integrated Community Development - an NGO focused on appropriate technology - met at IDDS Zambia 2013 where they were assigned as roommates. Mutual agricultural backgrounds led to many long conversations about the hard truths and simple pleasures of agriculture, and soon after, to the founding of Zasaka. Carl is currently living in Zambia.
The Issue: >17% Postharvest loss for 3.4 million Zambian smallholder farmers
Across Sub-Saharan Africa averages of absolute post-harvest grain loss are above 17 percent (World Bank, 2011). This equates to an economic forfeiture of over $1 billion. Key causes of loss are grain boring insects, overly wet conditions with high temperatures, and fluctuating relative humidity.
For the 3.4 million smallholder farmers (<20 hectares) in Zambia these losses are even more acute and are compounded by the adverse health effects associated with current methods of storage. The use of cotton pesticides intended for the field and fumigants intended for quarantined storage structures are two of the most commonly misapplied and dangerous methods (IDIN Focus Group, 2013). If moisture is left unchecked, qualitative loss due to the formation of aflatoxins and other mycotoxins can have extremely detrimental impacts on grain value and human health (African Agricultural Technology Foundation, 2013).
The Solution: Zasaka
Each of Zasaka’s pilots is designed to scale quickly. Seasonal demand and price spikes for maize and other dry grains drive sales, and they are entering the market at an opportune time for a runway period in 2014 and a large scale up in 2015.