UGA Faculty Traveling to Haiti with Feed the Future Peanut and Mycotoxin Innovation Lab
Published Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015 in Growing Georgia
By Christy Fricks, University of Georgia

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Peanut Productivity and Mycotoxin Control (Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab or PMIL) at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will be touring peanut farms and processing facilities in Haiti this month and hosting a mycotoxin research workshop.

The Peanut and Mycotoxin Innovation Lab is one of 23 Feed the Future Innovation Labs, a unique network comprising some 65 top U.S. colleges and universities along with many research and educational institutions in partner countries. The Innovation Labs are supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their own agriculture sectors to generate opportunities for economic growth and trade, which can help reduce poverty and hunger.

The Peanut and Mycotoxin Innovation Lab research provides key information all along the value chain to increase peanut productivity and control mycotoxins.

Mycotoxins, such as aflatoxin, are poisonous compounds produced by molds found in many commodities — including peanuts and maize. Aflatoxin exposure in humans has been associated with many negative health effects, such as liver cancer, immune suppression and childhood stunting. It also creates limitations to economic development, including trade barriers to formal markets and impacts on livestock health.

PMIL has been working with colleagues in Haiti since 2008 to improve peanut production and processing, including the monitoring and control of aflatoxins throughout the value chain.

The first event, on June 11, will be a tour by the PMIL team and local partners of the Central Plateau to tour peanut farms, peanut variety evaluation research projects, the Acceso Peanut Enterprise Corporation depots and the Partners in Health peanut processing and Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) factory.

On June 12, PMIL is organizing a workshop, “Priorities for Addressing Mycotoxins in Haiti,” involving the PMIL team and a number of local stakeholders to discuss the health and economic development risks associated with mycotoxins, with an update on research findings in Haiti. Following these presentations, a panel of public and private sector participants will discuss the priorities to address mycotoxins in Haiti.

Scott Angle, CAES Dean, and Amrit Bart, Director of the Office of Global Programs at CAES, will also attend these meetings.

In the afternoon, the PMIL Haiti project team will meet to discuss the results from this year’s activities and to prepare the research plans for the next year.

On June 15-18, PMIL will conduct its Annual Research Meeting at the Hotel Mont Joli in Cap Haitian, Haiti. More than 40 members of PMIL’s international team of scientists, External Advisory Panel members, USAID representatives, the PMIL Management Entity and partners will meet to discuss the program’s research strategy, latest results, future plans and program operations.

The group will take advantage of the locale on Wednesday to tour an Acceso depot and buying point, peanut research plots, processing and production facilities at the nearby Meds & Food for Kids RUTF factory, and a medical facility treating severe malnutrition with peanut-based RUTF.

For more information about PMIL visit our website at:

For more information about Feed the Future innovation labs visit