Peanut Innovation Lab researchers in Ethiopia and the U.S., are studying the level of aflatoxin contamination in local peanut varieties under Ethiopian conditions, and analyzing the genetic diversity of Aspergillus flavus, the mold that produces aflatoxin on infected peanuts and other crops. This knowledge is informing breeding and management interventions to help reduce aflatoxin contamination of peanut kernels.

About Ethiopia

Ethiopia is a landlocked country located in east Africa. The official language is Amharic but around 80 different languages are spoken in this highly multilingual country. Ethiopia the size of the U.S. states of Texas and California combined.


Ethiopia has 113 million people, making it the most populated landlocked country. Poverty rates are dropping yearly, but 29.6% of the population remains below the poverty line. Primary school enrollment for boys and girls is just below the sub-Saharan average; however, only 49% of people over the age of 15 can read and write. Life expectancy is above the sub-Saharan region average at 64 years old.


The climate in Ethiopia varies greatly among the desert, mountain, and savannah regions. Average temperatures average from 4-45° C (39-113° F). Measured in the capital city of Addis Ababa, yearly rainfall averages 116 cm (45 in).


The Ethiopian diet relies primarily on cereals, potatoes, pulses, and oilseeds. Ethiopia has a large amount of livestock production, but people in the rural areas rarely have excess to animal products.

Nationwide food supply is lacking both in quantity and diversity, leading to a population with nearly 50% of its people being undernourished. Child stunting affects almost half of Ethiopia’s children. Iodine, vitamin A, and iron deficiencies are a widespread public health problem for both children and adults.

Peanut Production

Peanuts are an important source of protein and other nutrients. Large amounts of peanuts are eaten in the local areas of production. Peanut oil is the second most popular oil, coming only behind soybean oil.

Local consumption and export demands, primarily for oil extracts for the European market, drive production. Western and central areas of the country, such as Benishagul-Gumuz have ideal growing conditions for peanuts, while areas in the southern parts of the country have climatic and pest challenges, as well as limited access to improved varieties.

Country Area Harvested Yield Production
  Acres Hectares Lb/Acre Kg/Hectare Tons Metric Tonnes
Ethiopia 159,751 64,649 1,431 1,604 103,706 94,081
United States 1,040,313 421,000 4,011 4,496 2,086,675 1,893,000
Table Data Source (FAOSTAT, 2013)          

Improving the yield Ethiopian farmers get from their land would help the smallholder farmers’ bottom line and provide nutritious food for malnourished children.

Local Peanut Facts

  • Peanut oil is used as cooking oil, or as a component of margarine, soap, and pharmaceutical products.
  • Once oil is extracted, peanut cake is fed to animals or ground into flour for human consumption.
  • Peanuts are eaten raw, roasted, or processed into peanut butter for use on bread or in cookies, candies and icings.
  • Processed peanuts are used as a milk substitute to make “maciyato” during fasting days.
  • The peanut haulms (vines) are used as fodder or hay for livestock.