Aflatoxin, a poisonous fungi that can sprout on crops in hot, humid climates and cause cancer in humans and livestock, poses a serious public health threat and can cause economic harm by destroying up to 25 percent of crops. Reducing aflatoxin incidence could help open export markets since it leads to low crop quality standards. The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture developed a new product to fight aflatoxin (Aflasafe), which reduces aflatoxin incidence by 80-99 percent when farmers apply the product during the growing season. Despite the health risks associated with frequent exposure to aflatoxin, awareness remains low, and there is little rigorous evidence on the best way to encourage farmers to adopt Aflasafe given widespread availability.
Researchers are assessing the impact of providing different types of support on peanut farmers’ decisions to adopt Aflasafe in Senegal. While all farmers have the opportunity to buy Aflasafe at the regular price and are informed that their groundnuts will be tested for aflatoxin upon delivery to the cooperative for sale, researchers will randomly assign villages a) a contract in which they receive Aflasafe at no up-front cost during planting and repay the retail cost upon delivering the groundnuts to the cooperative for sale, b) a guarantee to earn more for low-aflatoxin groundnuts, c) a monitoring visit from a cooperative extension agent, d) all three above interventions, e) none of the interventions above. The researchers will primarily measure how these interventions affect Aflasafe adoption and, secondarily, aflatoxin levels in groundnuts delivered to the cooperative post harvest. Results forthcoming.
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