Training farmers in the fieldTraining farmers in the field.

African smallholder farming systems require innovative approaches for aflatoxin management based on generic characters of the systems. Due to the fragmented nature of farm holdings, farmers sell their products to aggregators who in turn store the products and supply to food/feed processors and wholesalers. Farmers usually do not get adequate price in the market due to small amount of produce, poor knowledge of market information, and need for immediate cash.

We advocate an integrated system for aflatoxin management with the following components for a market-oriented system:

  1. Aflatoxin awareness among farmers and their community to enable them to value the need for aflatoxin management for improving health of people in the rural community and productivity of their livestock.
  2. Training of extension staff and key farmers on good pre-harvest, harvest and post-harvest practices for aflatoxin management. Those who are initially trained further train other farmers creating a ripple effect.
  3. Aflasafe adoption by farmers is the main pillar, which can dramatically reduce pre-harvest aflatoxin contamination.
  4. Aflatoxin testing of maize for assessing safety and utilization channels of the grains
  5. Warehouse development for aggregation of grains to enable purchasers to procure grains from a ‘single window’, empowering farmers to store grains for the duration that best serves their budgetary planning and promoting good storage practices for maintaining grain quality after harvest.
  6. Market linkages with quality conscious poultry/maize/groundnut export value chain participants for grains with safe levels of aflatoxins to maximize profits.

The first three components also improve safety of home-grown food made from crops produced by smallholder farmers.