Aflatoxin Control in Groundnut Value Chain in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Ghana
Groundnuts, which are widely consumed in West Africa, are prone to contamination by aflatoxins during production, storage and processing. Although aflatoxins play a role in many important health risks in developing countries, individuals and governments often ignore the risks because the health effects are not immediate. The objective of this paper is to examine production and marketing practices, particularly grading methods, in Ghana’s groundnut value chain to obtain a clear understanding of the sources and levels of total aflatoxin contamination in the crop and how such contamination can be reduced in the environment of limited resources and lack of institutional capacity to control and enforce food quality regulations. The study finds that seemingly inferior kernels, which are likely to be contaminated, are indeed sorted out but that the ‘rejects’ are not eliminated from the food system. Instead, they are offered to consumers in a crushed form as an ingredient in cooking and flavoring. Testing for aflatoxins confirmed high levels of contamination, particularly in products that contained crushed groundnuts. The paper suggests a multipronged strategy suitable for a developing country, in which stringent enforcement of regulations may be infeasible.
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