Oct 3, 2014

Field to Factory Aflatoxin Management (FFAM)

This is one of our new projects, It is an Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) Project. The project is to increase acceptance of Malawi groundnuts on the export market by improving aflatoxin management along the value chain.

Category: General News
Posted by: rob

Ever heard of Aflatoxin contaminated foods and how this affects human and livestock health? And that it can be found in crops such as groundnuts and maize as well as in animal products such as milk? Good news from Exagris is that it is waging a war against this malaise – to ensure high quality groundnuts for local and international markets. It is a cause worth the penny!

Exagris Africa Limited launched the Field to Factory Aflatoxin Management (FFAM), an Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) project on 21st July 2014 at Bridgeview Hotel in Lilongwe. The project is to run up to 2019 the project will increase the acceptance of Malawian groundnuts in export markets by improving aflatoxin management along the value chain. Currently, it is not easy to export Malawian groundnuts due to aflatoxin acceptable limits which have been set by the European and other African markets.

But what is aflatoxin? Aflatoxins are potent mycotoxins mostly produced by fungal species that include Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus and rarely Aspergillus nomius on a variety of food products, including cereals and legumes. Aflatoxins are generally heat resistant, therefore cannot be destroyed by normal cooking. (Limbikani Matumba, Albert Chamango and Wills Munthali: Guidelines for the Management of Aflatoxin Contamination in Groundnuts and Maize in Malawi).

Consumption of aflatoxin contaminated foods can result in tumours, liver cancer and other disorders including immune suppression, loss of appetite, reduced growth rate, reproductive disorders such as reduced egg production, miscarriages,  impotence, decreased milk and egg yield (in animals) and ultimate death.

Aflatoxin contamination in groundnuts and other crops may happen at all stages in the value chain including pre-harvest, harvesting and post-harvest. Post-harvest contamination is mainly a factor of poor drying procedures, remoistening of seeds at shelling and poor handling during transportation.

What do we do to reduce aflatoxin contamination? A number of measures can be applied in the field including avoiding continuous mono-cropping of the crop; ensuring early planting to benefit from maximum soil moisture; application of fertilisers and other soil amendments to ensure adequate plant nutrition; maintaining optimum plant population to avoid moisture and nutrient stress; use of box ridges to maintain moisture during droughts; use of suitable varieties; and proper field management to avoid insects and nematodes.

There are other factors that have to be adhered to at harvest such as ensuring appropriate maturity; shaking the plant after lifting to remove excess soil from the pods; avoiding mechanical damage to the pods; drying groundnuts to moisture levels of 6-8% presumably using Mandela Cocks; use of clean and dry containers for transporting from the fields to storage and to the market.

Other measures have to be implemented at storage including storing groundnuts in shell to minimise insect and fungal attack; ensure groundnuts are adequately dried; use clean and dry bags and stack them on pallets or poles to allow oxygen circulation; periodically checking stored groundnuts for mould growth and insect infestation; carefully grading groundnuts pods and kernels; discard all the groundnuts that are mouldy, discoloured, decayed, shrivelled and insect damaged, and avoid sprinkling water on pods and nuts during shelling as moisture encourages fungal growth. In partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Trade and Food Security, Department of Agriculture Research Services (DARS), Afrinut, Valid Nutrition and Twin Trading among others, the project shall implement a number of activities.

It is expected that as an outcome the project will provide a groundnut market for at least 4,500 outgrower farmers by exporting at least 650 tonnes of groundnuts to European markets and at least 400 tonnes to the SADC/COMESA region. The grade outs shall be processed into oil and groundnut cake.



Jan 20, 2015

Exagris Africa believes in looking after the whole person and caring for the wellbeing of the people living in the communities surrounding our farms that’s why it partners with DIPD to help with the people that have various degrees of disabilities.

Oct 3, 2014

This is one of our new projects, It is an Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) Project. The project is to increase acceptance of Malawi groundnuts on the export market by improving aflatoxin management along the value chain.

Jan 9, 2013

Exagris Africa welcomes 'Clive Wrench' who joins as Senior Farm Manager. Clive has valuable Mechanisation experience from working in the MIddle East.

Jan 7, 2013

Initial rainfall in Malawi has been good and Exagris Africa has completed the new season planting 2 weeks ahead of schedule

Jan 5, 2013

Pivots - our new irrigation system is now operational covering 300 ha on the Nkhozo estate

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