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Using Qualitative Market Mapping to Explore Aflatoxin Contamination along the Maize and Groundnut Value Chains

The Aflacontrol Project aims to provide evidence-based information on the cost effectiveness of existing control technologies used to reduce the risk of human and animal exposure to aflatoxin contamination in developing countries. It also aims to understand what constraints are preventing these mechanisms from being adopted.

In developing countries, more often than not, actors in the maize and groundnut value chains (farmers, traders, processors, and consumers) are unaware of the aflatoxin problem and its potential health risks. A first step in solving the problem, therefore, is to determine the local practices that influence aflatoxin contamination along the value chain, the institutional context which may influence these practices, the reasons for the lack of understanding surrounding aflatoxin risk, and the constraints that prevent risk mitigation efforts.

Mapping the markets for groundnuts and maize in Mali and Kenya will allow us to identify different value chain actors, their roles, and the relationships between them and to shed light on the awareness, attitudes, perceptions, and knowledge of value chain actors regarding aflatoxin. It will also help to identify factors that determine market efficiency and constraints in the policy and institutional environment that limit the efficiency of the maize and groundnut markets, as well as the accessibility and availability of support services (such as input supplies, market information, financial services, etc.) to value chain actors.

The mapping follows an iterative process; while predetermined topics for discussion can be identified, it is far harder (and somewhat restrictive) to try and prescribe specific questions. Following the analogy of painting a house, the qualitative analysis of the ways in which maize and groundnut value chains work is the equivalent of applying the undercoat or first couple of layers of paint.

More detail and richness will come from the use of subsequent “layers” or research methodologies, such as cost-benefit analysis and other quantitative analytical tools. These complementary methodologies add color to the value chains and shed more light on where aflatoxin problems occur and on value chain actors’ ability and willingness to pay for control technologies.

In this document, we present: the conceptual framework that will guide our work–the market map; an introduction to network mapping, a tool that, combined with the market map, provides a comprehensive background to the journey of maize and groundnuts through the value chains; the different actors that influence that journey and therefore play a part in the potential risk of aflatoxin contamination; and how we plan to use the market mapping tool in Kenya and Mali as part of the aflatoxin project.
Source: IFPRI
Author: Jon Hellin | Jupiter Ndjeunga | Pippa Chenevix Trench

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