Factor: Poorly timed harvest

Research at two stations in Mozambique shows the aflatoxin level in three varieties harvested 10 days before the ideal date, at the ideal date and 10 days after the ideal date.

Harvesting at optimal maturity discourages aflatoxin accumulation, research shows.

When groundnuts are harvested too early, many of the nuts are immature and pods take longer to dry.

When groundnut is harvested too late, the plant is more prone to drought because the rainy season begins to end. In addition, there is more potential for insect damage and disease when harvesting too late.

A study in Mozambique evaluated the effect of harvest date on three varieties and found that nuts harvested on time had less than 10 ppb of aflatoxin, while those harvested 10 days before physiological maturity had slightly higher than 10 ppb levels, and those 10 days after maturity had around 30 ppb of aflatoxin.