The Nasfam experience in Malawi

Peanuts are subject to stringent food safety requirements usually presented as maximum permissible levels of aflatoxin contamination. These requirements are blocking access to high-value markets in the European Union by producers from African countries. Therefore, determining the amount of aflatoxin contamination of a peanut consignment at its source not only reduces the risks of loss of shipment associated with a food safety event, but also helps maintain the country's market share in an international context. Until 1990, Malawi was a major peanut exporter, but peanut exports declined due to aflatoxin contamination and stringent trade regulations. In the new millennium, the Department of Agriculture, Government of Malawi, initiated measures to recapture the export trade. However, the country lacked a laboratory and trained personnel for monitoring aflatoxin contamination. To overcome this problem, the National Smallholder Farmers' Association of Malawi (NASFAM) entered into a collaborative agreement with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) centre based at Lilongwe, Malawi to test peanuts for aflatoxins.

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