A brand new, state-of-the-art groundnut processing plant has opened in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi.
The result of years of collaborative work between UK fair trade organisation, Twin, and the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM), Afri-Nut 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.
The Afri-Nut model addresses constraints that are common to many commodities in Malawi, where limited processing capacity results in high post-harvest losses. Afri-Nut has been designed to build efficiency and quality into a traditional value-chain; a model which can be replicated for other African agricultural commodities.
Safe groundnuts for and from Africa
One of 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.