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Purdue University, with EcoPlastics

Partnership period: March 2013 – March 2014

Country: Rwanda

ACHIEVEMENTS: Plastics recycler EcoPlastics had sold more than 116,000 Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) bags to more than 58,000 farmers in Rwanda, including more than 92,000 by the end of the one-year program partnership. EcoPlastics also is expanding production and sales to reach more than 250,000 farmers in Rwanda, Burundi, and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in five years.

PURPOSE: Increase smallholder grain producers’ use of PICS bags to reduce postharvest losses, improve their ability to store grain for household food security, and provide farmers the option to delay grain marketing to capture increased commodity prices between harvest seasons. When sealed, PICS bags virtually eliminate insect damage for stored grain and other crops.

APPROACH: The university used local private sector partners to market the product to the smallholder customers. The PICS bags, developed by Purdue University, provide small-scale hermetic grain storage to reduce postharvest pest damage. Made of two high-density polyethylene inner bags that fit inside another bag, PICS bags can be used by smallholder farmers to store either a few kilograms or a full 50 or 100 kilograms of grain.