Project DetailsSummaryProject Title: Advancing the Development and Adoption of Post-harvest Grain Legume Technologies by Smallholder Farmers in Malawi and TanzaniaOverview: Grain legumes are a nutritious and valuable group of crops that are vital to food security and the economy in Malawi and throughout Southeast Africa. However, smallholders' reliance on labor-intensive hand power is a major constraint on their productivity and the potential for expansion of the area sown to legumes. Postharvest operations are particularly inefficient and result in damaged legumes contaminated with debris, molds, and aflatoxin, which contributes to food loss, limits their market potential, and undermines the health of rural communities. With support from the McKnight Foundation, a team of researchers led by Compatible Technology International and ICRISAT has collaborated with Farmer Research Networks (FRNs) in Malawi to develop a suite of groundnut technologies that reduce smallholders' labor constraints and improve their groundnut quality and market potential by mitigating practices that contribute to mold and aflatoxin contamination. Local manufacturing and quality assurance facilities for the machinery were identified and supported and payment and adoption models were tested. The models showed that farmers can and are willing to pay for them.Project Aims: The development of pre- and post-harvest equipment to mechanize operations in the groundnut value chain has been very successful and there is now a need to ensure that the technologies are widely used by small-scale farmers. This project aims is to research how mechanized groundnut technologies can be linked to business models that strengthen food and nutrition security as well as economic opportunity in smallholder markets. This includes postharvest handling, but also value addition. The project will develop food technology centers that bring together tools, training and product development. In this process the project will engage with farmer research networks targeting food safety, technical and business training to women and youth in particular. Priority will be given to women and youth, acknowledging the opportunity to address those who are most marginalized in terms of their access to, participation in, and benefit from agricultural production.