Ekwendeni Agroecology

Lead Organization:

Soils, Food and Healthy Community Organization

Partner Organizations:

Western University, Cornell University

Community of Practice:

East & Southern Africa


Malawi and Mozambique




The production and post-harvest segments of the groundnut value chain in Malawi are labor intensive with limited mechanization, leading to low labor use efficiency, post-harvest losses and predisposition to aflatoxin contamination. Women, the major producers of groundnut, do so without using drudgery-reducing implements, in effect, increasing gender inequity. Moreover, other labor-intensive processes such as kernel sorting that could reduce aflatoxin contamination to less than 4 ppb cannot be done in bulk, leading to increased exposure to aflatoxins. Consumption of aflatoxin-contaminated products can cause death although for the most part, chronic consumption causes stunting, immune compromise and impaired growth especially in children below five years of age. This proposal is underpinned by lessons learned and technologies developed from CCRP support provided from 2009-2013, as highlighted below.

  1. Identified major constraints for smallholder farmers pre/post-harvest processing.
  2. Scoped technology intervention areas for pre/post-harvest processing.
  3. Developed technologies that reduce drudgery by 4, 3 and 18 times for lifter, stripper and sheller respectively and are ready for deployment.
  4. Developed a network of farmers who can be engaged in further participatory research.
  5. A strong NARS partnership for East and Southern Africa for post-harvest innovation is in place.
  6. Partnership arrangements for registration of technologies and local manufacture have been established.

Grant Aims:

The project aims to enhance productivity and competitiveness of groundnut-based cropping systems in Malawi and Mozambique by deploying drudgery-reducing and food safety-promoting technologies for smallholder farmers. In the previous phase, simple labor saving equipment such as a lifter, stripper and sheller were developed but not yet made available to farmers. The project will test and deploy a suite of technologies that reduce drudgery and free up the time for farmers, especially women, to engage in other activities, such as livelihood opportunities and domestic responsibilities. New grading equipment will be developed that will contribute to aflatoxin mitigation. In this phase of the research, activities will be extended to Mozambique where interest and demand for these technologies has been shown. The focus in Mozambique will be on the introduction, testing, release and ultimately promotion of equipment. The project will also develop appropriate technology access models for wider benefits and learning by the project team and other CoP members.

Outputs and Outcomes:

The proposed research contributes to several program outcomes. The development and promotion of mechanized lifters and post-harvest machinery should lead to improved productivity. Greater production efficiency and the introduction of processing equipment (peanut butter maker and oil press) create the potential for enhanced income, especially for women. Mechanization provides scope for more timely pre- and post-harvest activities. This, combined with the development of mechanized sorting systems, contributes to improved nutrition for human health through reduced aflatoxin exposure. Finally, the benefits of mechanization for women in rural communities (reduced drudgery and increased income opportunities) contribute to progress in equity and empowerment. The expected outcomes of this project will help to achieve one of the milestones to which the CCRP is committed to deliver under the grant provided through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: “Develop at least three post-harvest technologies that show demonstrated capacity to have a positive impact on productivity, livelihoods, and/or nutrition.”