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< prev - next > Agriculture Seed supply and storage KnO 100002_Community cereal banks (Printable PDF)
Community cereal banks
Practical Action
The store
The store should be built in a place where everyone has easy access to it. The place should be
secure and easy to guard. The whole village should agree on where to place it. The village
should discuss thoroughly on materials to be used in building the store. They must decide
whether they need a permanent structure or a temporary structure or a borrowed or rented
Getting started
There are three possible ways of getting the grain to the community cereal bank: a loan, a gift
(or food aid) or donations from the community. These three different methods could be
combined, and this might make the task easier.
Loans can be either of money or of grain, and sometimes a combination of both. A loan of
money is very common and comes with varying conditions. It could be a medium term loan
(e.g. 5 years) with or without interest, or a short-term loan (annual or seasonal) with or without
interest. It is important that the village understands on what conditions it is given.
Sometimes an outright gift is given by an outside organization. This is used as a rolling fund to
continue the operation of the cereal bank into next year. This means that the money earned
from the sale of grain in the first year is used to buy the next year’s stock. If the cereal bank
works well, then there is no more need for outside assistance.
Community contribution
The whole community can contribute by cultivating a communal field, and when the crop is
sold, put the money into the cereal bank. Other crops such as vegetables or fruit tomatoes can
be cultivated and sold for purchase of grain to be stored in the cereal bank. Alternatively,
individual villagers can each make a contribution of grain to the cereal bank after harvest.
Starting with money
In areas where there is a surplus of grain
production, or where there is exactly the right
amount produced to meet people’s needs, it is
useful to start the cereal bank with money. This
enables the cereal bank to pay a good price to the
farmers for their grain and there is a good chance
that the cereal bank will be able to buy all the grain
it needs locally.
In areas where not enough grain is produced to
meet the local needs, starting the cereal bank with
cash will certainly give the farmers a better price
than they would get from the merchants. But the
bank will have to go farther a field to find enough
grain, and will then have to pay the resulting
transport costs. This is possible, but it needs good
organization and a good knowledge of the grain
markets in order that the bank can buy at the right
time in the right place.
Dealing with money will force the management
committee of the cereal bank to face up to the
realities of the grain market and the competition
from traders right from the beginning. It will also
What can go wrong?
A cereal bank management
committee may lack key skills, l
Poor storage causes loses
The members of the cereal bank
need to understand how the
cereal bank operates. If they fail
to understand, they will not repay
their debts.
In an area which does not
produce grain, it can be a
problem finding enough grain to
The rolling fund can be too small
to buy enough grain for the
cereal bank to operate effectively
If the money is being received
from an outside agency, it
sometimes arrives too late to buy
grain at low prices
Dishonesty in the management