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Project in Rwanda

Assessment and Mitigation of Aflatoxin and Fumonisin Contamination in Animal Feeds in Rwanda

Timeframe: December 2016 - September 2018

Funding: USAID

Principal investigator (PI) and lead institution

Dirk E. Maier, Iowa State University

Co-PI and collaborator institutions


Project Plan

Aflatoxins and fumonisins are fungal metabolites that contaminate crops and animal feeds under favorable growth conditions. They are of importance to public and animal health as they are associated with or are causative agents of certain cancers in humans. They have a variety of negative impacts on animal health and productivity. They are also considered an economic barrier because contamination levels of aflatoxins and fumonisins in food and feedstuffs can lead to rejection of these products in international markets. The risk for aflatoxin and fumonisin contamination of crops and animal feeds has not been well established in Rwanda. However, it has significant implications for animal health and productivity, human health (as a result of direct exposure and exposure via animal source foods), and identifying and implementing mitigation and management strategies and effective regulations. The overall hypothesis of this project is that more comprehensive and current data on the incidence and severity of mycotoxin (particularly aflatoxins and fumonisins) contamination in durable crops, animal feeds, and ASF will raise awareness among stakeholders, and will inform mycotoxin mitigation and control decisions to improve food/feed safety and productivity of the Rwandan agricultural sector. As an additional benefit, Rwanda’s participation in international commodity and foodstuffs trade would increase.

The main objective of this study is to assess and mitigate the prevalence of aflatoxins and fumonisins in animal feeds in Rwanda and to raise awareness among professionals and policy makers in order to better protect consumer health and increase export opportunities. The study will: (1) Quantify aflatoxin and fumonisin levels in animal feeds in five different agro-ecological zones (AEZs) of Rwanda at different points in the animal feeds value chain; (2) Establish a surveillance and early detection system for aflatoxin and fumonisin presence and mitigation in animal feeds; (3) Raise awareness of aflatoxin and fumonisin contamination and prevention among stakeholders involved in the animal feed value chain; and (4) Provide input to the regulatory framework in regards to policies for the mitigation of aflatoxin and fumonisin contamination in animal feeds.

More Information

 October 2020 research update MAIER FOCUS VGM (Virtual General Meeting)

Aflatoxin Poster: Nishimwe, K., Ayabagabo, J., Habimana, R., Mutiga, S., Bowers, E., Maier, D.E. 2017. Farmers: Increase Animal Performance by Reducing Aflatoxin Contamination. Iowa State University Poster for Assessment and Mitigation of Aflatoxin and Fumonisin in Animal Feeds in Rwanda. 

Photo credit: D. Maier

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems is part of Feed the Future

This work was funded in whole or part by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Resilience, Environment and Food Security under Agreement # AID-OAA-L-15-00003 as part of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. Additional funding was received from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation OPP#060115.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors alone.