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Project in Rwanda

Aflatoxin Mitigation through Education, Intervention, and Policy in Rwandan Dairy Products

Timeframe: September 2019 - September 2021

Funding: USAID

Principal investigator (PI) and lead institution

  • Dirk E. Maier, Ph.D., P.E, Dept. of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering, Iowa State University

Co-PI and collaborator institutions

  • Erin Bowers, Ph.D., Dept. of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering, Iowa State University
  • Kizito Nishimwe, Lecturer, University of Rwanda

    Animated Video (in Kinyarwanda language): Kurwanya kwangirika k’ umusaruro turwanya “mycotoxine” mu bihingwa nyuma y’isarura

    Animated Video (in English): Postharvest Loss Prevention: Mycotoxins in Crops

    Project Plan

    Aflatoxins are fungal metabolites produced mainly by Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus that contaminate crops under favorable growth conditions. They have been documented to occur in grains and grain-based products, including animal feeds, throughout Rwanda. Aflatoxins are of importance to public health, notably causing liver cancer and childhood stunting, and to animal health resulting in negative production and health effects. Exposure principally occurs when humans and animals eat contaminated food or feed including, for humans, animal-source foods like milk, when they originate from animals fed aflatoxin-contaminated diets.

    The main goal of this project is to improve animal-source food production and consumption through improved feed safety and quality.


    Specifically, this study will:

    1. Examine on-farm use of mycotoxin binders/sequesters in dairy feed as a strategy to reduce aflatoxin excretion in milk
    2. Document relevant seasonal fluctuations of aflatoxin contamination in feeds, feed ingredients, and milk (and contributing factors) to inform Rwandan Food and Drug Authority policy standards and their implementation
    3. Educate consumers and dairy farmers about aflatoxin contamination and prevention in dairy feed and milk.

    This study builds on the previous project Assessment and Mitigation of Aflatoxin and Fumonisin Contamination in Animal Feeds in Rwanda.

    More Information

     October 2020 research update MAIER VGM (Virtual General Meeting)

    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.