All over Africa highly arbitrary political boundaries cut across agro-ecological zones and natural market areas, impeding formal trade flows and separating regions that experience regular food surpluses from those that commonly experience deficits. Improving connections between population centres and food production areas would benefit both producers and consumers, and support food security. The recent development of local and regional agro-processing value chains in Africa demonstrates the potential for significant gains in terms of accelerating these processes. Improving trade in food staples – whether cross-border or domestic – can connect deficit and surplus areas and reduce price volatility. It can also be positive for consumers and producers, in particular smallholders, and can drive inclusive poverty reduction and increased food security.
This paper examines the role of grain warehouses in the East African region, and in particular in Kenya, in relation to the functioning of the maize value chain, and argues that the evolving system of certification and receipting demonstrates an important complementarity between hard (physical) and ‘soft’ infrastructure for the development and greater inclusiveness of the grain value chain.
Engel, J.; Jouanjean, M-A.; Omanga, P. Infrastructure for the participation of smallholders in modern value chains: lessons from the development of warehouse certification and receipting systems for maize in Kenya. ODI, London, UK (2015) 39 pp.