The European Alliance on Agricultural knowledge for Development

Improving the Evidence Base on Aflatoxin Contamination and Exposure in Africa
Sheila Okoth, University of Nairobi
CTA Working Paper 16/13 | November 2016, 128 pages

Because of their potency and the wide range of commodities they affect, aflatoxins pose serious risks to human health, agricultural production and trade.

As part of its increased focus on aflatoxin mitigation for improving nutrition outcomes in Africa, CTA and the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) have launched this working paper. The report is the result of a study commissioned by CTA and PACA in 2015. The report is based on a detailed review of over 800 references in the published literature.

“Aflatoxins can be produced anytime and anywhere along the food and feed value chains. The presence of aflatoxins in food and feed have adversely affected the health of the population and the ability of the continent to trade with the rest of the world,” Professor Sheila Okoth, University of Nairobi

A substantial body of knowledge is available on the aflatoxin challenge that plagues African farmers, other agri-entrepreneurs and governments, but it is not being put into practice. Judith Francis, CTA’s Senior Programme Coordinator, Science and Technology Policy, who oversaw the project said that farmers, consumers, processors, financiers, governments need to act in unison with the research community.

“The report demonstrates that there is enough evidence to support joint action to solve the aflatoxin problem but key stakeholders do not seem to be receiving or are not sufficiently exposed to this evidence-based information, despite the significant research that has been carried out so far in the continent”. Judith Francis, CTA

The toxins are also associated with severe under nutrition; kwashiorkor and poor growth in young children. Blood samples from new-born infants in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Sudan have tested positive for aflatoxins.

“Effective management requires wholesale change and is knowledge intensive. Joint public and private investment is key to support holistic actions for aflatoxin mitigation with greater impact. A multi-actor, multi-pronged approach is needed from farm to fork, pre-production to postharvest, marketing and distribution supported by an enabling policy, regulatory and institutional framework, including laboratory infrastructure, public education and adequate financial and trained human resources”. Amare Ayalew, Program Manager, PACA Secretariat at African Union Commission

21/10. Mitigating the consequences of aflatoxin in Africa. What role for the private sector?
21/11. Confronting the aflatoxin challenge in Africa
21/11. CTA and the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) launch a working paper on Improving the Evidence Base on Aflatoxin Contamination and Exposure in Africa

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