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Economics Research International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 230638, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/230638
Research Article

Economic Risks of Aflatoxin Contamination in Marketing of Peanut in Benin

1Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA
2Department of Economics, Socio-Anthropology and Communication, University of Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou, Benin
3Department of Epidemiology and International Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA

Received 20 June 2012; Accepted 31 July 2012

Academic Editor: Anthony N. Rezitis

Copyright © 2012 C. Bley N'dede et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Aflatoxin (AF) is a human health, nutrition, and financial risk to many people in the developing world. AF contamination in peanut is caused by the fungi: Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. AF is a potent carcinogenic toxin that also causes millions of dollars of financial losses to people in Africa. The fungus producing the AF can be reduced to an acceptable level by proper drying, sorting, storage, and cleaning of peanut. Government intervention and regulation can also encourage market participants to reduce AF contamination. In this paper, we examine the financial risk associated with sorting, and storing of peanut and peanut products along the marketing chain. Study results show that the prices paid for peanut, prices received, the costs of sorting and storage are dominant factors in reducing AF levels in peanut. Practices such as drying, sorting, and storing, however, pose financial risks to market traders of peanut. Unless government intervenes by requesting an AF-reduced peanut and provides assistance for market liberalization where market participants consider quality in trading decisions, suppliers of peanut will be reluctant to adopt AF-reducing techniques.