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Aflatoxin threatens groundnuts market

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Aflatoxin threatens to further eat into Malawi’s groundnuts exports, putting at risk the Malawi National Export Strategy (NES) in which government prioritised groundnuts as an alternative export crop to diversify the economy away from tobacco.

A report which gives an outlook of the groundnuts market for the period April to September, 2016 released by the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC) indicates that groundnuts from Malawi continue to have levels of Aflatoxin beyond the permissible levels for human consumption.

According to AICC, although the aflatoxin appear in several agriculture products, groundnuts have been found to be more susceptible, putting at risk 25 percent of the agricultural income which the sector accounts for.

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Malawi only managed to export 9,531 metric tonnes of groundnuts in 2015 against a global demand of 1,940,210 metric tonnes, representing a 0.49 percent contribution to the global demand.

“Groundnuts production in Malawi has not kept up with demand for both the local and export markets,” the report reads in part.

Further, AICC says poor quality of groundnuts affected pricing of Malawi groundnuts in the past three months.

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“There is low harvest and poor quality in most areas.”

Looking forward to the next six months, AICC expects groundnuts production to dwindle per hectare as farmers opt for other more promising crops like Soy. This is expected to cause prices of groundnuts to increase as supply will be low but demand high.

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