Mitigating Aflatoxin exposure for Improving Child growth

Eastern Kenya

Collaborators: Vivian Hoffmann and Jef Leroy

2013-2016. American Economic Association RCT Registry # AEARCTR-0000105

Aflatoxins are food-borne mycotoxins that contaminate groundnuts, maize and other cereals. Chronic consumption can lead to liver cancer, and high levels of acute consumption can lead to aflatoxicosis, which is untreatable and fatal. Lacking formal market regulation, many low-income countries face significant public health risks from this contaminant. The issue is particularly critical in Eastern Kenya, a hotspot of aflatoxin, which faced an outbreak in 2004 involving more than 125 deaths. Recent research has suggested an association between aflatoxin exposure and child stunting. We conducted a cluster-randomized controlled trial to test whether a causal link exists. We exogenously lowered the level of aflatoxin exposure for a randomly selected group of 500+ children from a few months before birth until their 2nd birthday, and compared their growth outcomes with a comparably sized control group.

In addition, we tested the marketability of a technology that aids small-scale producers in reducing aflatoxin contamination in their own-produced and stored maize. We compare the willingness to pay for this technology between market and subsistence producers under various cost subsidies and maize price incentive schemes. We further consider the costs and health benefits of this and other aflatoxin-reducing technologies and compare them against benchmarks of cost-effectiveness for public health interventions.

Publications & Working Papers

Vivian Hoffmann and Kelly Jones (2021) "Improving food safety on the farm: Experimental evidence from Kenya on agricultural incentives and subsidies as public health investments" World Development, 143.

Alexia Pretari, Vivian Hoffmann, and Lulu Tian. (2019) "Post-harvest practices for aflatoxin control: Evidence from Kenya" Journal of Stored Products Research, 82:31-39.

Vivian Hoffmann, Kelly Jones and Jef Leroy. (2018) "The impact of reducing aflatoxin exposure on child linear growth in Kenya: a cluster-randomized controlled trial" British Medical Journal: Global Health, 3(6).

Jef Leroy, Jia-Sheng Wang and Kelly Jones. (2015) "Serum aflatoxin B1-lysine adduct level in adult women from Eastern Province in Kenya depends on household socio-economic status: cross-sectional study" Social Science & Medicine, 146:104-110. December.

Vivian Hoffmann, Kelly Jones and Jef Leroy. (2015) Mitigating aflatoxin exposure for improving child growth in Eastern Kenya: study protocol for a cluster-randomized trial. Trials, 16: 552.

Other outputs

2019 IFPRI Research Blog (link)

2017 Project Note (link)

2016 OpenIdeo post (link)

2015 IFPRI Research Blog (link)

2015 Project Note (link)

2013 Project Note (link)