The Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), in collaboration with the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) of the African Union, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other institutions, is organizing a regional workshop on the aflatoxin challenge in Eastern and Southern Africa.
The workshop’s main objectives will be to sensitize key stakeholders on the aflatoxin challenge in the region, to assess current efforts to mitigate aflatoxins, as well as setting regional priorities. This will enable COMESA countries to develop regional action plans on aflatoxin control to further strengthen regional and intra-regional trade as well as protect human health. The workshop will be held in Lilongwe, Malawi from 11-13 March 2014.
The African Union Commission through the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) is working to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Governments to tackle the aflatoxin challenge in Africa. The PACA Secretariat, housed at the AUC’s Department for Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA), is working closely with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and local country stakeholders through country aflatoxin Steering Committees to support the preparation, execution, and oversight of country government‐led, and stakeholder aligned plans. PACA and the Republic of Uganda convened a Business Meeting of stakeholders to agree on the funding strategy and implementation road map that will ensure sustainable and predictable funding for implementing the aflatoxin control action plan in the country. The Business Meeting took place in Kampala, Uganda on 28-29 July 2016.
H.E. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, AUC’s Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture opened the business meeting by assuring the Republic of Uganda, of the AUC’s commitment to support implementation of the aflatoxin control action plan, which will contribute to the agenda to regain its markets, people’s health and food security. She commended the progress made by the Republic of Uganda in institutionalizing PACA in its farming systems through the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP). Commissioner Tumusiime also officially launched the Uganda Mycotoxin Mitigation Steering Committee (UMMSC) which provides conceptual, strategic and policy guidance to the secretariat and Aflatoxin Technical Working Group (ATWG) – the Uganda Chapter, in the planning, implementation and coordination of mycotoxin mitigation activities in the country.
Hon. Ssempijja Vincent Bamulangaki Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Uganda, represented by Ag. Director of extension services, Mrs. Beatrice Byarugaba, committed to incorporate the aflatoxins mitigation under the Ministry’s Agriculture Sector Strategic Plan and to also take into account the multi-disciplinary roles of agriculture, health and trade ministries in fighting aflatoxins. Hon. Bamulangaki noted that without mitigating aflatoxins, it would be difficult to fully develop the fisheries, animal and crop sub-sectors in the country.
Dr. Patrick Tusiime, Commissioner, National Disease Control, representing the Ministry of Health, assured the meeting of the Ministry’s support in advancing interventions that address the impact of Aflatoxins particularly within the preventative context of disease management, noting that a healthy nation is a productive nation!
For more information, please review the Press Release.
On Thursday, October 20, 2016, Tanzanian news outlet "The Citizen" published an article on the PACA Country-Led Situation Analysis and Action Plan report. The article reported that the Economic Assessment for Aflatoxin Contamination and Control in Tanzania says that aflatoxin is prevalent in the country and that over 3,300 people are diagnosed every year with liver cancer that is linked to aflatoxins. The C-SAAP report was compiled by researchers under the coordination of the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST). http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/News/3-000-lives-lost-to-food-poison-yearly-...
AUC-PACA and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) conducted a Roundtable Side Event on Engaging the Private Sector for Aflatoxin Control in Africa, during the PACA PPM 2016 on 11 October 2016 in Entebbe, Uganda.
The meeting served to articulate a private sector engagement strategy and evaluation criteria for effective private sector-led aflatoxin mitigation. The Roundtable gathered over 35 participants, amongst which were CEOs and programme managers from groundnut, grain, chili, coffee producers, millers, traders and processors, input and equipment suppliers, technical and financial service providers, and development partners from across African and beyond.
Participants in the side event highlighted seven catalytic interventions featuring success stories from the private sector and the enabling environment, which demonstrated how the private sector has been dealing with the aflatoxin challenge. Participants identified the following priority actions, which were conveyed to the plenary session of the PACA Partnership Platform Meeting on 13 October 2016 as key elements of a private sector engagement strategy:
- Mobilize matching grant schemes for increasing access to technologies and services to support innovation;
- Build alliances with consumer groups to create awareness and demand for safe quality foods without creating panic;
- Build alliances with farmer groups/associations/cooperatives for scaling-up the adoption of good agricultural practices and collective sourcing, as incentives for premium prices;
- Lobby government for incentives to support innovation in the food and feed value chains and updating and improving implementation of aflatoxin regulation governing the informal and commercial sectors.
CTA and PACA will continue to partner in the continued effort to control aflatoxin contamination in Africa, particularly to accelerate concrete collaboration with the private sector for improved agricultural production, agri-business and trade and health and nutrition.
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.