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A sustainable solution for ending global hunger

Sharon Sayles Belton  Vice president, Government Affairs and Community Relations, Thomson Reuters

Sharon Sayles Belton  Vice president, Government Affairs and Community Relations, Thomson Reuters

In honor of World Food Day, Thomson Reuters is partnering with Compatible Technology International (CTI) to help alleviate global hunger by supporting innovative and sustainable solutions for farmers in developing countries.

Each year, World Food Day is celebrated on October 16 in honor of the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in 1945. This year, Thomson Reuters is working to end global hunger by supporting CTI, a global nonprofit dedicated to bringing life-changing technology to farmers in developing countries to boost their production of nutritious food, bring their crops to market, and transform their farms into prosperous enterprises.

Understanding the problem

Worldwide, close to 800 million people live in hunger and nearly two billion people are malnourished. Approximately 240 million of these people live in Sub-Saharan Africa, most of whom are women, children, and the elderly. A major contributor to this problem is that 30 percent of the food produced in Sub-Saharan Africa is lost postharvest due to inefficient, manual methods that rely on hand tools, such as the mortar and pestle, and to spoilage from prolonged processing time.

Smallholder farmers, those with less than 20 acres of land, are most vulnerable. Eighty percent of farming in Sub-Saharan Africa is done by smallholders, and they contribute upwards of 90 percent of the food in their countries. Unfortunately, these farmers lack the income and access to financing to invest in newer technologies, and therefore see limited benefit from their harvest because they are unable to produce high-quality, market-viable grains and legumes. This cycle contributes to persistent poverty and hunger among rural smallholders.

Podcast: Global food crisis and innovative technology approaches

Sharon Sayles Belton interviews Alexandra Spieldoch, executive director for CTI, about how the organization designs and develops tools for farmers in regions like Sub-Saharan Africa that help them produce food more efficiently.

Supporting a sustainable solution

Based in Minneapolis-St. Paul, CTI uses human-centered design and continuous feedback to provide smallholder farmers in Africa with simple, hand-powered tools. These tools are life-changing as they can produce useable food up to seven times faster than manual processes. When farmers can process food more quickly, they can grow more without worrying about losing their crops to spoilage.

CTI’s tools, which include a grinder, grain thresher and peanut processing tools, are sustainably maintained by local artisans and locally produced by in-country manufacturers. CTI has two manufacturing partners, one in Senegal and one in Malawi.

CTI continuously collaborates with members of their user community to make improvements on the design of their products. In West Africa in 2017, 86 percent of users of CTI’s tools were women. These women often spend upwards of 18 hours a day in grueling conditions, processing grains and other crops. As such, CTI’s training programs are designed with women in mind, ranging from technical training on using the tools to business training that helps them effectively generate income from the food they produce.

Last year alone, CTI touched the lives of over 80,000 people and trained 100 artisans to provide maintenance for their tools. By increasing the capacity of smallholders, CTI’s goal is to help Africa move from being a food-importing to a food-exporting continent.

At Thomson Reuters, we pride ourselves on being the answer company. For us, this means not only providing our customers with offerings that meet their professional needs, but also advancing solutions that support the global good. We hope you will join us in celebrating World Food Day by supporting CTI and their mission to end global hunger by equipping rural communities with innovative tools for farming and processing food.

To learn more about CTI and their impact on smallholder farmers in Africa see their tools in action on their YouTube channel.

Measuring CTI’s impact

Learn more

To learn more about Thomson Reuters efforts to help meet the United Nations Global Compact’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and how we are partnering with various public and private sector institutions to strengthen the global food system, visit

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