Groundbreaking New Grain Tools have Global Launch In Senegal

St. Paul, MN – March 18, 2014 – A new invention is being launched in Senegal to revolutionize how farmers in the developing world process pearl millet grain. A set of Grain Tools, referred to as Les Outiles De Cèrèales in Senegal, were designed by nonprofit Compatible Technology International (CTI) to give entrepreneurs and small farmers the opportunity to improve their postharvest grain processing, increase their food production and their raise their incomes.

CTI’s Grain Tools thresh and winnow kilos of high-quality pearl millet grain in minutes. They are simple to use and can be operated manually, without the need for costly fuel or electricity. CTI also provides an affordable hand-operated grinder that mills flour and nut paste. The tools were developed to help communities in poor rural regions reduce their food waste, minimize their processing time, and eliminate the drudgery of the mortar and pestle.

CTI opened an office for distribution and sales in the Kaolack region of Senegal, a major center of pearl millet production in West Africa. The commercialization of the Grain Tools is being supported by Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, a program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Fintrac.

CTI began providing demonstrations to farmers, NGO’s and microenterprises in February 2014 and the tools are already a hit. The first sale of the Grain Tools went to a Seed Producer, an entrepreneur who purchased the tools because they produce valuable, high-quality grain that can be used as seed for planting next year’s crop.

The Grain Tools were created by engineers at CTI who worked in collaboration with farmers in Senegal to design an affordable, viable alternative to the inefficient traditional processing methods.  In much Sub-Saharan Africa, women pound their grain with a mortar and pestle and winnow it in the wind, an extremely arduous practice that causes food losses and limits farmers’ production. Communities rarely have access to modern agricultural technologies because they are far too expensive and large for the small farms owned by most families.

“CTI’s Grain Tools were designed to meet the unique needs of smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs—communities that have been largely overlooked by mainstream engineering,” said CTI Executive Director Alexandra Spieldoch.  “Affordable and reliable tools that help rural women in particular to be able to process grain more efficiently will improve lives throughout Senegal.”

Compatible Technology International (CTI) is USA-based nonprofit that designs and distributes tools in collaboration with small farmers and their communities to improve food and water security in developing countries. CTI’s Senegal office is located Kasnack Kaolack Route Nationale N°1 Lot 44 and can be reached by calling 0022133 941 51 24.

 Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation advances technology-centered partnerships for investment and commercial distribution of agricultural technologies across the developing world. Funded by the United States Agency for International Development as part of the US government’s Feed the Future initiative and implemented by Fintrac Inc., the program’s goal is to put innovative agriculture technologies into the hands of smallholder farmers to quickly and sustainably improve productivity and incomes.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Jamie Steele at (+1) 651-632-3912 or . Additional photos: