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Peanuts—also known as groundnuts—are a nutritious crop with immense untapped potential to improve food security, nutrition, and economic well-being in Africa. In Malawi, peanuts are widely cultivated by smallholder farmers in rural communities, where women perform labor-intensive harvest and postharvest operations by hand.

As a valuable cash crop, increasing the production and sale of groundnuts could greatly improve the lives of farmers and their communities. But without proper tools, groundnut growers face huge obstacles bringing their crop from field to market.

CTI interviewed hundreds of families about the challenges they face producing groundnuts. Across communities, farmers consistently expressed frustration with harvesting, stripping, and shelling groundnuts—operations that are typically performed by hand and primarily by women.

In response to the self-identified needs of the farmers, CTI has designed affordable, manually-operated groundnut processing tools.

CTI’s groundnut tools dramatically increase farmers’ productivity, improve the quality of their peanuts, and reduce women’s labor. The prototypes dig and lift peanuts from the ground (harvesting), strip peanut pods from the plant, and shell the nuts.

CTI’s groundnut tools allow smallholder farmers to:

  • Process groundnuts 9x more efficiently than current methods
  • Increase the value and quality of their crop by reducing the frequency of broken kernels
  • Earn higher incomes by growing, processing, and selling more nuts in higher-end markets
  • Allow more time for women to pursue entrepreneurial, revenue-generating activities
  • Strengthen food security as a result of increased incomes and production rates

We are working with local manufacturers to fabricate the groundnut technologies in Malawi. We are collaborating with farmer organizations throughout the country to introduce our peanut tools to farmer leaders and women’s organizations. We provide tools, training and ongoing support, while the farmer groups cover the material costs of the peanut equipment through loans or savings. As we monitor their progress, we’re learning about the most effective models for farmers to purchase the equipment and earn a return on their investment – valuable information which will help us scale the tools in Malawi and throughout the region.