Food Safety in the Rapid Transformation of Food Systems in Africa: Aflatoxins along the Maize Value Chain in Nigeria


December 3, 2017 - Oluwatoyin Ademola, <> and Adewale Obadina

Oluwatoyin Ademola, Saweda Liverpool-Tasie and Adewale Obadina, 2017. Food Safety in the Rapid Transformation of Food Systems in Africa: Aflatoxins along the Maize Value Chain in Nigeria. Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research Paper 90. East Lansing: Michigan State University.


Over the past two decades, food systems in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) have transformed rapidly. This transformation is driven by several factors including increased incomes and rapid urbanization rates which have caused consumption patterns to change significantly (Tschirley et al. 2017). Two characteristics of this transformation are the rise in food purchases (particularly by rural households) and the consumption of processed and packaged foods. In Nigeria for example, nationally representative data in 2015 reveals that almost 75% of foods consumed are purchased with over 65% processed in some form (Liverpool-Tasie et al., 2016). These high and increasing rates of purchased and processed foods are revealed broadly across the continent and in both rural and urban areas within countries (Tschirley et al., 2015; Liverpool-Tasie et al., 2016).

Increased consumption of processed foods can be met from two sources; domestically processed foods and imports. In addition to foreign exchange savings, domestically produced processed foods create numerous opportunities for domestic entrepreneurs and farmers; the potential source of inputs for these industries. However, they also raise key concerns related to food safety and nutrition. Consequently, regulations are necessary to ensure that these new products meet necessary food safety and nutrition standards. Similarly, incentives need to be aligned properly for economic agents along food supply chains for food safety considerations to be widely incorporated into these supply chains. Domestic production of substitutes for previously imported items (to meet increasing local demand for processed foods) in any developing country should be an area of key policy concern. Though there is evidence of a rise in domestic processed food production and consumption (Liverpool-Tasie et al. 2016; Tschirley et al., 2015) the extent to which standards exist and are enforced for domestic processed foods is not well understood in many countries in Sub Saharan Africa. Consequently, this paper explores one particular issue related to food safety in Nigeria; the presence and potential effects of aflatoxins along Nigeria’s maize value chain.



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