Many cashew-nut farmers in Mozambique also grow peanuts. However, aflatoxin, a poisonous fungus found in foodstuffs such as peanuts, corn and cassava, causes a significant problem. In 2019, with support from Norad (The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation), the Royal Norwegian Society for Development began a project to produce a preventative product called AflaSafe in Mozambique.
“This will give the farmers an opportunity to combat aflatoxin, while production, distribution and higher food quality will help to create more jobs. Aflatoxin-free peanuts will be safe for local consumers and can also be sold to specialist markets such as local chicken companies and to international markets at a higher price”, says project leader Karsten Gjefle in the Royal Norwegian Society for Development (Norges Vel).
800 farmers have been given training
Local cashew-nut farmers cultivating peanuts between the cashew trees.
A local laboratory has been significantly upgraded and the plan is that a factory will be producing AflaSafe in Mozambique before the end of 2020.
In 2019, 800 farmers were given training in the use of AflaSafe and about 1000 acres of peanut plants were treated with AflaSafe imported from Tanzania. It will be possible to measure the effect when harvesting takes place in April/May.
The project is led by the Royal Norwegian Society for Development and is supported by Norad (The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation).
AflaSafe can solve a threat to health
Aflatoxin from food weakens the immune system and can contribute to liver cancer or liver failure and can constitute a major health threat to both humans and farmed animals in many poor countries which have limited access to foodstuffs and to food-testing opportunities.
The goal is to create sufficient production of AflaSafe in Mozambique to ensure national access to the product. This will help the farmers, but will also be an advantage for the consumers who are currently consuming food every day that contains aflatoxins. AflaSafe is put together in such a way that the plants are given natural protection and the product is not harmful to people, the environment or the food.
The reason that AflaSafe ought to be produced locally is that it is a biological product that works best when it is developed to specifically target the individual region’s variants of aflatoxin.