International Studies & Programs

Marketing Food Safety in Kenya

This GCFSI grant project will introduce certified aflatoxin-safe maize flour to the Kenyan market and solve a key coordination problem: farmers will not adopt practices that will reduce aflatoxin unless they are paid a premium; traders and millers will not pay a premium without testing capacity and assurance that consumers will pay for improved quality; and consumers currently have no way to distinguish between contaminated and uncontaminated maize flour. 


Project Team: Vivian Hoffmann, IFPRI; Tim Herrman, Texas A&M University; Christine Moser, Western Michigan University.

Consumption of high levels of aflatoxin can be fatal, and chronic exposure has been linked in numerous studies to liver cancer, suppressed immune response and child stunting. In Kenya, where maize is a staple in the diet, estimates of the proportion of maize exceeding the allowable limit of aflatoxin vary by site and year, but one study by researchers with the CDC showed that 65% of maize samples collected from 20 major millers did not meet the national standard (Gathura, 2011). This project will introduce certified aflatoxin-safe maize flour to the Kenyan market and solve a key coordination problem: farmers will not adopt practices that will reduce aflatoxin unless they are paid a premium, traders and millers will not pay a premium without testing capacity and assurance that consumers will pay for improved quality, and consumers currently have no way to distinguish between contaminated and uncontaminated maize flour. This project complements other efforts by establishing whether sufficient demand exists (or can be generated through marketing efforts) to make aflatoxin-tested maize profitable for millers and traders to buy at a premium from farmers, so that farmers in turn find it profitable to adopt aflatoxin-reducing practices.