AFLAH Project Workshop Closure

From MFK Agronomist James Blanc

The Improving Aflatoxin Control in Haiti (AFLAH) project aimed  to improve aflatoxin control through concerted efforts of men and women peanut farmers, other value chain actors, and public institutions, including multiple Haitian government agencies. This project is financed by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), a Canadian government institution, and managed by Dr. Patrice Dion of Laval University in Québec City. The project focused on identifying the factors that influence the adoption of methods to control aflatoxins by farmers and other actors in the peanut industry in Haiti.

MFK is a proud and long-time partner of the AFLAH Project. MFK collaborated on numerous project activities during the last three years. Over the course of the project, MFK collaborated with Haitian master’s level students at Laval University to carry out multiple studies. One study, led by Phendy Jacques, was based on experimental economics and auction techniques to determine the barriers and mechanisms for adoption of aflatoxin control methods by peanut aggregators. Another study, led by Frantz-Roby Point du Jour, surveyed individuals involved in the peanut value chain in order to identify possible aflatoxin control points along the value chain. Finally, the agronomists at MFK worked with small-scale peanut butter producers, including women’s associations, to develop a guide to best practices for peanut butter processing.

After multiple extensions granted to the project due to civil unrest in Haiti and COVID-19 that completely slowed down the activities, the project finally came to an end. A formal workshop was held at Karibe Convention Center in Port-au-Prince on October 28th. It was a time for all actors and partners of AFLAH project to evaluate the outcomes of the project over the last three years.

Patrice Dion, project director, welcomed all participants to the workshop and thanked all partners that made the project possible. Professor Dion expressed his gratitude towards everyone who worked tirelessly to make this day possible. Following the intervention of Dr. Dion, the workshop continued with a series of presentations by the participants.

Frantz Roby Point du Jour, former Haitian master’s student at the University of Laval who is now consultant for the project, presented his work in collaboration with MFK regarding factors contributing to aflatoxin contamination in the peanut industry in Haiti.

Madam Claire Lebrun, gender equity expert, spoke about the role of women in the peanut value chain, while Phendy Jacques, another former student from Laval University, who conducted his research at MFK, presented his work about research for a market solution for the application of aflatoxin control methods in peanuts.

The dean of the Department of Agriculture at Quisqueya University made a very informative presentation about methods to reduce the contamination of aflatoxin in peanuts, corn and sorghum. MFK’s agronomist, James Blanc, together with two women’s associations (Asosyasyon Fanm Ouanaminthe and Rasanbleman Fanm Vanyan Limonad) presented the guide to good practices for peanut butter processing.(See link of the Guide attached.)

With the end of this project, the fight against aflatoxin contamination will not stop. Over the course of this project, MFK’s agriculture technicians visited farmers, aggregators, and depot owners to test their peanuts. Without great surprise, some peanuts tests revealed aflatoxins up to 1,000 ppb (parts per billion), while the accepted level is 20 ppb or less. The danger is still there and MFK will continue working to educate farmers and everyone involved in the peanut industry.