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AFJAND Special Edition: Aflatoxins in East Africa: The importance of getting the full picture

A special issue of the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition, and Development (AFJAND) focused entirely on addressing the growing aflatoxin problem in eastern Africa. The special issue, Aflatoxins in East Africa (Volume 16 No.3), was compiled by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and contains 12 peer-reviewed articles on a range of topics related to understanding and addressing aflatoxin contamination in countries throughout eastern Africa.The 12 articles provide an important examination of the status of various efforts at assessment and understanding of exposure to aflatoxins as well as mitigation approaches in a number of locations in East Africa. The articles highlight critical aspects of knowledge and information for the management of aflatoxins in key value chains: maize, sorghum, millet, and dairy. Addressing exposure in children and the gender perspective contribute to improving health and nutrition, especially in areas and population groups most negatively impacted by the presence of aflatoxins and other mycotoxins.

All articles within the new special issue on aflatoxins are freely available for download via open access. They may be found on the AJFAND website.

Regional Workshop on Combating Aflatoxins in the Maize Value Chains of Africa, 4-5 December 2017, Dar es Salam, Tanzania

PACA together with key Stakeholders and appropriate Regional Economic Communities in organizing a maize value chain workshop in Dar es Salaam-Tanzania in 2017 in order to address the pertinent impacts of aflatoxins in the maize value chain. The workshop aims to galvanize multi-sectoral response towards the aflatoxin challenge in the maize value chain in Africa in order to address its health, food security and trade challenges

 

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Regional workshop on the aflatoxin challenge in West African States – ECOWAS

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in collaboration with the African Union Commission through the PACA initiative, held a workshop from 18-20 November in Accra, Ghana. The workshop aimed to identify regional priorities to address aflatoxin related issues in the West African region.

Over forty experts from the various sectors of agriculture, trade and health attended this event. Representatives from various countries were also present. The ECOWAS workshop also benefited from the experiences of other Regional Economic Communities like the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) that shared its experience in established structures and mechanisms in implementing and coordinating SPS capacity development programmes. ECOWAS is one of the most advanced REC in implementing a Regional Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP) which has derived from the continental framework, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). The region has also made major advances in addressing food insecurity through various initiatives within the region. Furthermore, ECOWAS has developed several regulatory frameworks on Sanitary and Phystosanitary (SPS) issues as well as others that will provide a competitive edge for the region’s agricultural products and attain food security in the region.

During the workshop, expert recommendations from all three sectors were made in order to address the aflatoxin challenge in West Africa as well as calling for coordinated efforts to manage the risks to each sector and economic development as a whole. During the workshop, several cross-cutting interventions were made such as creating public awareness, building capacity in countries, creation of markets for aflatoxin safe commodities, and continuous research. Experts urged policy makers to mainstream aflatoxin issues into the relevant regional and national frameworks.

Diourbel : Tests concluants de la Dpv contre l’aflatoxine

La Direction de la protection des végétaux (Dpv), dans le cadre de son programme d’élimination de l’aflatoxine, s’est réjouie des résultats obtenus au terme de la phase test qui a permis le traitement de 600 hectares dans huit villages aux alentours de Tawfekh.
Une visite de terrain des responsables de ce programme qui a démarré depuis 2010 a permis de se rendre compte de son efficacité. Selon eux, la lutte contre l’aflatoxine se fait à base d’un champignon produit au Sénégal sous la supervision de la Direction de la protection des végétaux (Dpv), avec le soutien de l’Institut international tropical d’Ibadan (IETA, au Nigeria), l’Université d’Arizona (Etats-Unis d'Amérique) et d’autres partenaires américains. Il consiste à utiliser ce champignon pour éliminer l’aflatoxine, cette substance cancérigène qui se trouve dans la graine d'arachide.

Amadou Lamine Senghor, Docteur en phytopathologie à la Direction de la protection des végétaux (Dpv), révèle que « la lutte se fait à partir du champ, après le dernier sarclage. L’épandage est fait dans le champ et le champignon accompagne l’arachide jusqu’au magasin ». Pour le technicien, les résultats sont probants car ils  vont jusqu’à une réduction à 90% du taux d’aflatoxine en analysant les graines qui ne sont pas triées. Et quand on procède au triage, on se retrouve avec 0% de contamination. Un résultat qui, a dit M. Senghor, est important pour la santé des populations qui consomment l’arachide, mais aussi qui va booster sa commercialisation à l’international ».

L’aflatoxine est responsable de certains types de cancer et constituait une barrière pour l’exportation de l’arachide dans certains pays. D’ailleurs, l’infirmier chef de poste de Sessène révèle : « Il y a des cas qui sont détectés dans la zone et qui sont référés au niveau supérieur pour une meilleure prise en charge ». Les producteurs d'arachide de Tawfekh, Sessène et les villages environnants se sont félicités de la réussite du programme. Pour Adama Ngom de Sessène, ce produit leur a apporté beaucoup de bien, car il n’y a plus de « guerté Sabou » et les rendements ont augmentés. Les autorités doivent trouver les voies et moyens de soutenir la production et de l’étendre au reste du pays.

2014: Year of Agriculture and Food Security launched at the AU Summit

During the July 2012 summit of the African Union, Heads of State and Government declared 2014 as the "Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa" also marking the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

On 30 January 2014, the Year of Agriculture and Food Security was launched at the 22nd AU Summit of Heads of State and Governments. The newly elected AU Chairperson, president of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, noted that this comes at an important time for Africa as the AU discusses the African Agenda 2063 that looks  into inclusive growth and sustainable development on the continent. As most African countries rely on agriculture for their livelihoods, the chairperson emphasized, this year will be a great opportunity to focus on the transformation of the agriculture sector for prosperity, growth and sustainable development in Africa. As 2014 also marks the 10th anniversary of CAADP, it is a year where all stakeholders will reflect on the successes and failures of CAADP and be able to map out the targets for the next decade.