Research needs related to aflasafe

  • 04th September 2016
  • by secretary
19 August 2016. Nairobi. Interview with Charity Mutegi, IITA Kenya. Dr. Charity Mutegi is the aflasafe project’s Kenya Country Coordinator.


Why should fundamental research be supported to help scale out aflasafe?
It is a good thing for development partners to help in out scaling technologies. But it is also extremely important to invest in trying to develop, asking or getting answers to basic research questions. When you have full proof or sufficient information on basic questions it is very easy to convince various stakeholders about the success of the various technologies that we are trying to launch.

So that aspect of the research has not been given the attention it deserves and it is high time that in addition to supporting out scaling technologies, that our development partners think through seriously in supporting aflasafe basic research questions.

What about research related to operation issues?
A very important thing is the economics of aflasafe. There are many questions which need to be researched against home grown data.

What would be the basic fundamental research questions to be prioritized?
So for example for aflasafe, I would consider looking for alternative carrying material for example: this is a fundamental question. I would also consider establishing a baseline or basic data that is home grown data to convince the general public for example on issues related to the increase if the population of aspergilus flavus which has been raised as a concern. Based on possibilities we do have more efficacious strains which are available out there to already what we have and that can also be considered. So there are many things that can be considered for research, not only on aflasafe but also on other technologies that have been advanced. 

But as we do this this has to go together with capacity building and critically thinking about sustainable solutions whatever that may be or what that may involve: sustainability is extremely important. Another issue you would want to look at in the context of basic research is hydro priming: you want to improve the efficacy of aflasafe especially in some cases widely affected by drought. I some cases – even if you have efficacy – you would find less efficacy that in cases where you have very good rain. So we are trying to see if we can reduce the amount of time where you put out aflasafe that is has to go through in the field to allow cross pollination to occur. And to reduce that time we are trying to do this through hydro priming. So right now we have not enough funding to advance that. It would be also very good to see how it works in a diversity of tropical locations.