Rockefeller Foundation and Pyxera Global

Project History

Nigeria is Africa’s second largest producer of tomatoes, which is understandable as every Nigerian consumes a meal containing tomatoes at least once a day. However, with the production of tomatoes, the country still stands at a deficit as loss occurs in the journey from farm to market and even to table at times. Rockefeller and Pyxera Global embarked on a multi-year project to help reduce this loss significantly and increase the tomato farmers’ livelihoods as well as the country’s nutritional status. Loss was pre-dominant in the post-harvest activities of tomato production, most specifically within the handling practices as the fruits were transported to markets. One main problem was the raffia baskets used to transport the produce, these baskets were not firm or efficient enough and caused much loss to the farmers. In order to reduce this problem, plastic crates were introduced.
Mile 12, widely known as the largest fresh market in West Africa.


In introducing plastic crates, the livelihoods of the baskets makers in the south-south of Nigeria would be drastically affected. DODO’s Founder, along with other foreign professionals were asked to unearth the value chain of raffia baskets and their makers to see if the baskets could be improved, with the end goal of reducing the loss of tomato produce and protecting the livelihoods of these makers.
Studying the lives of farmers, as they use the main handling technology being researched- the raffia basket.

Research Process

Using the human-centered approach to problem solving and design, the team analyzed the tomato handling cycle, specifically looking at how the raffia baskets were used to transport the tomatoes from Northern farmers to Southern markets. After studying farmers in the field for weeks, we discovered the ways they used the baskets on and off the farm and how important this means of transportation was to them. We found considerable damage was done to the fruit when they were being carried in the raffia baskets, from farm to market and especially as they travelled in trucks across the country.
Baskets, as they are used in the market.
Then we travelled down south to research the other end of the value, the makers of the baskets. What we found was astounding. In the south-south region of Nigeria, the raffia basket making business is a big part of the artisans’ lives and livelihood. Many of the makers we found depend on this art as their source of income, so to remove them would be harmful to their way of life, however trying to get them to improve the firmness and efficiency of the baskets was also challenging.
A breakdown of the different baskets used to handle tomatoes from one point to another.

Data Collection and Creation

Data was collected from farmers, basket makers, traders and every other relevant members of the basket value chain and represented clearly for Rockefeller and Pyxera Global’s ingestion.
Data collected and shown in a manner easy to assimilate all intended stakeholders. 


Maggie DeLorme, (PXYERA GLOBAL)
"Thank you once more for a terrific report. It was a pleasure working with you..."

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27, Olateju Street, Mushin, Lagos, Nigeria. 08095221113
27, Olateju Street, Mushin, Lagos, Nigeria. 08095221113