Trade Hub and Twin Trade Sign MoU to Combat Aflatoxin in Groundnuts
Groundnuts are a vital source of cash income and a highly nutritious food for rural households in Malawi and Mozambique. However, groundnuts, along with maize and sorghum, suffer significantly from aflatoxin contamination, exacerbated by a poor understanding of the problem by many stakeholders, including farmers.
Aflatoxin is a carcinogen produced by a fungus (Aspergillus sp.) that grows on crops as a result of poor pre and post-harvest practices. The risks associated with aflatoxin include liver cancer, impaired growth for children under 5, and suppression of the immune system. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 4.5 billion people are chronically exposed to aflatoxin in their diets.
The presence of aflatoxin in groundnuts is not only a public health issue, but acts as a significant barrier to trade. Groundnut consignments with an aflatoxin level over 4 parts per billion are rejected for human consumption. The trade losses attributed to aflatoxin contamination are US$1.2 billion globally and US$450 million per annum across Africa.
In July, SATH concluded a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Twin Trade to address aflatoxin issues in the groundnut supply chain from Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.
Based in the UK, Twin Trade is dedicated to developing more equitable supply chains for coffee, nuts, cocoa, sugar and fruit farmers, and works with over 500,000 farmers most of whom are challenged by weak capacity, poor infrastructure, market barriers, climatic change and a lack of influence over the policies and processes that govern their lives.
SATH and Twin will conduct an assessment and consider points of aflatoxin ingress, identify appropriate aflatoxin mitigation techniques and the costs and benefits of applying these techniques. Lessons learned from the value chain assessment will be applied to mitigate aflatoxin issues in the SADC region and facilitate trade.