Sustainable solutions

NutriNuts, a project in partnership to mitigate the occurrence of aflatoxin in Ethiopian peanuts

Hilina Enriched Foods partnered with Cranfield & Haramaya Universities to mitigate the occurrence of aflatoxins in Ethiopian peanuts.

Groundnut is one of the five widely cultivated oilseed crops in Ethiopia predominantly by the traditional farming community under rain-fed conditions. For many in Ethiopia, groundnuts are the principal source of digestible protein, cooking oil, and vitamins. The groundnut cake and haulms (straw stems) are used as livestock feed.

However, this important crop is threatened by the occurrence of aflatoxin due to a fungus contamination. The project called NutriNuts sponsored by Innovate UK – Agritech Catalyst Round 8 aims to secure the Ethiopian peanut food chain against high contamination with aflatoxin and hence reduce the health risk.

It will develop tools, from farm to processing, with the long-term objective of obtaining almost 100% of peanut supplies for Hilina Enriched Foods PLC from local Ethiopian farmers.

The innovative approach adopted will include:

  1. Pre-harvest: agronomic recommendations/ training for farmers to increase yield and reduce aflatoxin risk;
  2. Post-harvest: development of a vertical tray home-drying system and replacement of the current ‘soaking’ methodology with home-made mechanical shelling devices;
  3. Development of protection during transport; and
  4. Development of new peanut-based product lines with optimized sorting and recycling of the peanut waste.

The project will increase the Ethiopian peanut productivity and thus secure increased local supply of high quality (low toxin) peanuts for Hilina Enriched PLC. Beyond Hilina Enriched Foods, it will have beneficial impacts to the local rural economy by improving the quality of the national peanut supply and make the crop available for export and better income for the farmers.

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