Quality of maize for sale in markets in Benin and Niger

A follow-up study on the quality of maize for sale in West African public markets was carried out in Benin and Niger from August 15–28, 2013. Complementing the earlier study, this present assessment included not only retailers but also wholesalers and maize producers. Samples were evaluated for parameters related to the physical quality of the maize and for aflatoxin contamination. Most maize value chain actors process their offered grain using traditional methods for threshing, winnowing and drying. Maize for sale in the markets surveyed had an average moisture content ranging between 12 and 14%. Non-grain impurities amounted to 0–2.3% while mouldy grains ranged between 0.2 and 0.8%. The impurity level in grain was three times higher among wholesalers compared to retailers and producers. An insect pest, the Larger Grain Borer (Prostephanus truncatus (Horn) was found only in Benin but Sitophilus zeamais Motschulsky, Cryptolestes ferrugineus Stephens, and Tribolium castaneum Herbst, were present in maize for sale in the markets in of both countries. Insect pest frequency was 16 times higher in wholesalers’ grain compared to that of retailers and producers. Aflatoxin levels exceeding the accepted standard of 20 ppb were noted in markets in both countries. The highest proportion of aflatoxin-contaminated maize was in wholesalers’ grain in Malanville market.

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