PICS 3 Overview
The PICS3 project (US$10.1 million), the third phase of the BMGF grant to Purdue, aimed to improve market access and food security by expanding the commercialization of PICS technology for several crops throughout SSA. The project focused on Nigeria, Ghana, and Burkina Faso in West Africa, and Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Malawi in East and Southern Africa. PICS3 built on the successes of the Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS1) and the Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS2) projects.
The goal of the PICS3 project was to increase the use of hermetic storage technologies by 20 percent of grain (maize, sorghum, wheat, rice, peanut, common bean, etc.) stored on-farm in target countries. This would reduce post-harvest losses of these cereal and legume grains while increasing incomes and improving food security of smallholder farm families. The use of PICS bags provides farmers the flexibility to sell their grains when they choose while supplying healthy, clean and insecticide-free food to their families throughout the year.
- Train farmers on proper use of hermetic technologies in at least 14,000 villages
- Develop a sustainable supply chain to make PICS bag available to farmers
- Build local research and extension capacity to sustain post-harvest loss reduction in addition to training
- Use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools such as radio, cell phones, and Short Message Service (SMS) to increase awareness and improve availability of PICS bags.
The PICS3 project trained more than 7,000 extension agents who implemented demonstrations in more than 37,000 villages. Over two million farmers attended village/community demonstrations in several countries in SSA. Manufacturers, distributors and vendors have sold more than 19 million PICS bags from 2014 to March 2020. The private sector has made efforts to leverage this BMGF grant with additional investments in manufacturing, supply chain development and marketing of PICS bags in SSA and beyond. Additional funding (more than US $1.2 million) was provided to Purdue University by several donors, including USAID in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Malawi to promote PICS bags and also conduct studies on the impact of credit on storage.