October 2, 2015
AgResults awards $110,000 incentives to nine Nigerian aggregators working with farmers to produce aflatoxin-free maize.
Aflatoxin contamination is a global problem affecting 4.5 billion people in developing countries. It is produced by fungi commonly found in grains such as maize and groundnuts and is toxic and has carcinogenic effects.
The AgResults Nigeria AflasafeTM Pilot seeks to motivate smallholder maize farmers to adopt AflasafeTM, a new biocontrol technology that prevents aflatoxin formation in the field and continues to protect grains from contamination during transport and storage. The pilot is part of the AgResults initiative, funded by a multi-donor initiative (the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Governments of the USA, UK, Canada and Australia) to incentivize use of pull mechanisms for promoting food security, income, health, and nutrition.
The pilot incentivizes aggregators (called Implementers), working with smallholder farmers, through a pull mechanism that pays for results and provides a per-unit award tied to the tonnage of AflasafeTM treated maize Implementers collect from their farmers. In Year 1, nine Implementers worked with over 3,200 farmers, 14% of whom were female. These farmers cultivated on average 1.6 ha of land and produced over 13,300 MT of maize, of which Implementers aggregated approximately 54%. The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) sampled and conducted both Aflatoxin analysis and AflasafeTM recovery testing on the aggregated maize.
The results of the testing were universally positive, reflecting both the quality of AflasafeTM as a biocontrol technology and the effectiveness of the pilot’s pull mechanism at incentivizing farmer adoption of new Aflatoxin suppression techniques. More than 97% of the maize sampled maintained Aflatoxin levels well below the US and European thresholds. In addition, 81% of the sampled maize demonstrated an AflasafeTM prevalence rate greater than 70%. As a result of these high AflasafeTM prevalence rates, Implementers received close to $110,000 in awards payments. In addition to these awards, some Implementers reported selling the AflasafeTM treated maize at $10 to $50/MT premiums above the going market rate.
The pilot is expected to grow dramatically in Year 2. Twelve new Implementers have joined the existing nine to work with over 8,000 farmers to increase the production of aflatoxin-reduced maize. By 2018, the pilot expects to incentivize a total production of over 400,000 metric tons (MT) of aflatoxin-reduced maize by using AflasafeTM and to deliver health benefits to around 30,000 smallholder farmers, not including downstream maize consumers.