United States Government study on aflatoxin helps shape policy development in agriculture and health in Mozambique

Press Release Shim

Speeches Shim

For Immediate Release

Friday, February 28, 2020
U.S. Embassy Maputo Press Office


February 28, 2020 – Maputo – The United States Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), officially released yesterday the results of a study to assess the relationship between aflatoxin exposure and stunting in children under five years of age.  The results show a strong association between stunting and aflatoxin, particularly in children between two to five years of age.  Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring agricultural contaminant found in crops such as maize and groundnuts.  Conducted in 10 districts of Nampula Province, the study was a collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Mozambique, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition at Tufts University, University of Lurio, the Mozambican National Institute of Health, the Nampula Central Hospital, and the Association for Food and Nutrition Security.

During the release event at the Hotel Polana Serena, key stakeholders representing the Government of Mozambique, United Nations agencies, development partners, leading Mozambican universities and local and international NGOs met to discuss the findings and potential targeted health and agricultural interventions for mitigating the dangerous effects of aflatoxin on children’s health and the economy. A similar dissemination and discussion event will be held with provincial and district officials in Nampula City on March 3.

Tackling nutrition problems among children in Mozambique is a policy priority for the Government of the Republic of Mozambique and the U.S. Government. According to the latest Demographic and Health Survey (2011), 43% of Mozambican preschoolers (55% in Nampula Province) are stunted.  While it was long suspected that aflatoxin contamination of staple crops was linked to stunting in Mozambique, this USAID study confirmed the link, particularly in children between two to five years of age.  Importantly, it also showed that children from households with improved practices of drying groundnuts and maize had lower aflatoxin levels.  The latter highlights the importance of improved agricultural practices for ensuring not only productivity but also the health and wellbeing of the population.

Health programs represent a critical component of U.S. Government assistance in Mozambique.  In close collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Mozambique, the U.S. Government provides more than $500 million in annual assistance to improve the quality of education and healthcare, promote economic prosperity, and support the overall development of the nation.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) leads the U.S. Government’s international development and disaster assistance through partnerships and investments that save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance, and help people emerge from humanitarian crises.  For more information about USAID’s work to foster sustainable development and advance human dignity, visit www.usaid.gov.  

For more information about this press release, please contact the U.S. Embassy Maputo Press Office at MaputoPress@state.gov.