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Compatible Technology International Project to Enhance Child Nutrition and Livelihoods of Rural Families in Malawi and Tanzania

ST. PAUL, Minn., Sept. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Malnutrition is widespread in Malawi and Tanzania, particularly among children under five whose diet is deficient in protein, oils and micronutrients. The need is urgent to develop and harvest improved, nutritious foods using locally available crops such as groundnuts (commonly called peanuts). Increased groundnut production can significantly improve individual nutrition as well as economic security.

A McKnight Foundation grant recently awarded to Compatible Technology International (CTI), Tanzania's Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) will address these needs. The organizations are combining their expertise for a four-year $673,000 research and development grant project, which will focus on enhancing child nutrition and the livelihoods of rural households in Malawi and Tanzania.

"We feel very privileged to be chosen for this McKnight Foundation grant," said CTI's executive director, Roger Salway. "This project is essential to addressing the issues and needs of families in Malawi and Tanzania and the McKnight Foundation grant makes it all possible."

"This project is essentially about collaborating with these farm families about the crops growing naturally in their environments," said CTI's vice president of operations, Bert Rivers. "This collaboration is important, not only to provide additional nutrition to their families, but to also provide increased revenue for their households to improve their livelihood. We are also being educated by the farmers about the realities of their living conditions and farming systems."

Project Objectives Include:

  • Reduce losses of food during handling, processing and storage.
  • Improve the nutrition of rural households, particularly children.
  • Raise household revenues through sale and distribution of groundnut-based food products for local markets.
  • Improve productivity, and reduce the intense daily labor typically endured by women.
  • Empower farm families in ways that enable them to strengthen their links to markets and manage their farms as enterprises.
  • Strengthen local presence by transferring technical and manufacturing expertise to African organizations.

Compatible Technology International (CTI), a St. Paul, Minnesota nonprofit, was founded in 1981 by a group of food scientists, missionaries and research engineers to address the post-harvest needs of the food chain. The team sought ways in which their knowledge, expertise and human kindness might help the poor in developing countries to resolve food problems and increase food supply by using local resources. CTI's mission is to improve the lives of people in developing countries by designing food and water technologies that are sustainable and appropriate to local cultures, and by collaborating with in-country organizations to identify needs and to achieve widespread use of our technologies to relieve hunger and poverty. CTI has extended its work to many parts of Africa, Central America, the Caribbean, India and Bangladesh, where its post-harvest processing devices are used on a daily basis. For more information about CTI, visit

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is a nonprofit, non-political organization that conducts innovative agricultural research and capacity building for sustainable development with a wide array of partners across the globe. ICRISAT focuses its research on the semi-arid tropics and on five crops that are important in the diets of the poor: sorghum, pearl millet, chickpeas, groundnuts and pigeon peas. With a regional office for Eastern and Southern Africa based in Nairobi, ICRISAT implements and supports numerous research and development programs aimed at smallholder farmers throughout the region, including Tanzania and Malawi.

Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Tanzania was established on July 1, 1984 by Parliamentary Act No. 6 of the same year. The University was created from the former Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Science of the University of Dar-es-Salaam. The Vision of SUA is to become a center of excellence and a valued member of the global academic community in agriculture and other related fields. The Mission of SUA is to promote development through training, research, provision of services to the public and private sectors in an environmentally friendly manner.

The McKnight Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations through grantmaking, coalition-building, and encouragement of strategic policy reform. Founded in 1953 and independently endowed by William and Maude McKnight, the Minnesota-based foundation has assets of approximately $1.6 billion and granted about $99 million in 2008.

    Meghan Fleckenstein
    (651) 632-3912

SOURCE Compatible Technology International
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