landmark groundnut processing plant for Malawi
groundnut processing plant has opened in Lilongwe, the capital of
result of years of collaborative work between UK fair trade
the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi
Ltd aims to move smallholder peanut producers up the value chain and to
expand the volume of Fairtrade and other value-added
peanuts produced for international, regional and domestic markets.
model addresses constraints that are common to many commodities in
Malawi, where limited processing capacity results in high post-harvest
has been designed to build efficiency and quality into a traditional value-chain;
a model which can be replicated for other African agricultural
groundnuts for and from Africa
the major challenges facing groundnut producers in Malawi is aflatoxin,
a carcinogenic by-product
of a fungus (Aspergillus
sp.) that grows on crops such
as maize and groundnuts. Aflatoxin is partly responsible for the
collapse of Africa’s raw groundnut export trade. This fell
from a 75% global share in the 1960s to just 5% by the mid 2000s due to
increased competition from the US, China and Argentina combined with
stricter aflatoxin controls in Europe.
farmer in Malawi
value for smallholder producers
agricultural sector in southern Africa suffers from a lack of
investment and low levels of mechanisation. Less than 30% of
Africa’s agricultural production undergoes industrial
processing, compared with 98% in high-income
countries. As a result, African economies are failing to capitalise on value-added
beyond raw peanut production, Afri-Nut
Ltd will produce a range of value-added
products such as peanut butter and paste for ready-to-use
therapeutic food, marking a significant shift up the value chain and
higher returns for producer-owners.
as preventing international trade, aflatoxin is a significant public
health issue. The risks associated with aflatoxin consumption include
liver cancers, impaired growth (stunting) in children under five and
suppression of the immune system. Some 60% of groundnuts grown in
Malawi do not make it into formal markets thus receiving a
significantly lower level of aflatoxin control and management.
safety procedures are in place in the Afri-Nut
to reduce the risk of aflatoxin contamination, including:
in storage, including
construction of modern warehouses and buying centres;
hand shelling with mechanical
shelling to reduce exposure to moisture;
nuts at mechanised sorting tables.
CEO Justin King visits nut farmers in Malawi
CEO Justin King visited the pilot processing plant in 2009 and in 2011
Sainsbury’s staff visited Malawi to help build a new rural
warehouse for nut producers.
Chibonga chief executive officer of NASFAM stated, “If you
would have said a few years ago that a CEO of a leading supermarket
chain would visit our organisation people would have thought I was mad.
The farmers can see that now nothing is impossible.”
in groundnut storage and processing
trading with Liberation Foods CIC, which is co-owned
by Twin, NASFAM and producer organisations from Africa and Latin
products can gain access to the European market. Set up in 2007,
Liberation now supplies the lion’s share of Fairtrade-
certified nuts within the UK.
as growing the business, Twin’s long-term
goal with Afri-Nut
is to pull aflatoxin not just out of the international value chain but
out of local food chains too. Key challenges will include raising
smallholder and donor awareness of the aflatoxin issue and facilitating
a move to an enabling environment where experience and information-sharing
amongst key stakeholders is common practice.
A new pan-African
initiative, the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control (PACA) has identified
as an example of how a for-profit
social investment business has the potential to have an impact on the
health status of millions of people.
Ltd is a joint venture, financed and co-owned
by shareholders from the commercial and development sectors: Twin, the
National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi, Ex-Agris,
Cordaid and the Waterloo Foundation. The plant currently has the
capacity to produce 4000mt of groundnuts per annum.
out more at: www.twin.org.uk/projects or contact email@example.com
processing work at the Afri-Nut