Post-Harvest Management Technologies for Reducing Aflatoxin Contamination in Maize Grain and Exposure to Humans in Zimbabwe

This project seeks to investigate innovative post-harvest solutions to reduce aflatoxin contamination in grain. It will aim to limit exposure to children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers, who are more vulnerable to the toxins. Aflatoxins are naturally occurring mycotoxins in certain species of fungi. They are found in maize, Zimbabwe's main staple food. They cause sickness or death in animals and humans. The research will be conducted in the Makoni and Shamva districts of Zimbabwe, through a partnership between the University of Zimbabwe and the humanitarian organization, Action contre la Faim. Researchers will investigate technologies such as hermetic storage (metal silos and super bags). Selected households will participate in intervention groups and use hermetic storage options. The control group of households will continue using traditional storage techniques. The project team will partner with private sector companies to increase the availability of improved storage technologies. The Ministry of Health will disseminate information on these technologies and the benefits they offer for reducing aflatoxin contamination and improving human health. The research aims to -assess knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to good pre- and post-harvest management practices that minimize aflatoxin contamination in maize; -determine how different post-harvest storage practices (metal silos, hermetic bags, and traditional storage practices) can reduce aflatoxins in stored grain; -assess how different storage methods can reduce aflatoxins exposure in households; -determine the levels of aflatoxins in legumes (groundnuts, bambara, beans, and cowpeas) produced in Shamva and Makoni districts; and -identify and assess different models for delivery of post-harvest management technologies to smallholder grain producers. The research is expected to reduce human exposure to aflatoxins by promoting hermetic storage technology for maize grain. It will also offer evidence to support the implementation of national food security policies.

Project ID

107838

Project status

Active

Start Date

Friday, July 4, 2014

Duration

30 months

IDRC Officer

Jemimah Njuki

Total funding

CA$ 2,055,600

Countries

Zimbabwe, North of Sahara, South of Sahara

Program

Cultivate Africa’s Future

Project Leader

Dr. Loveness K. Nyanga

Institution

University of Zimbabwe

Institution Country

Zimbabwe

Institution Website

http://www.uz.ac.zw

Project Leader

Charlene Pellsah Ambali

Institution

Action Contre La Faim

Institution Country

Zimbabwe

Institution Website

http://www.actioncontrelafaim.org