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AUC and Mars, Incorporated sign agreement to tackle aflatoxins

Addis Ababa, 7 December 2015 - The African Union Commission and Mars, Incorporated, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to share food safety resources and expertise to control aflatoxins in food crops – a significant threat to food safety in Africa and a major deterrent to use of key African raw materials in global supply chains.

The press release is available at: http://aflatoxinpartnership.org/uploads/PR%20390%20-%20AUC%20MARS%20MOU.pdf

Position Announcement: Managing Director for the Aflasafe Technology Transfer Program

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) invites applications for the internationally recruited position of Managing Director for the Aflasafe Technology Transfer Program. The position announcement and application details are available here. Applications are due on 18 March 2016.

SciDev features IARC Report and PACA Workshop

The publication "Mycotoxin Control in Low- and Middle Income Countries" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (published 17 February 2016) recommends various methods to reduce the threat of aflatoxins, including diet diversification and better ways of storing and processing grains.

Report results were shared during the Workshop on “Engaging the Health and Nutrition Sectors in Aflatoxin Control in Africa”. PACA in collaboration with Amref Health Africa and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) organized this workshop on 23-24 March 2016 at the AUC Headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

SciDev reported on the publication and workshop in the following article on Varied diet repels poisoned fungus.

High Level Roundtable on Food Safety and Aflatoxins: Time to take Action

On 12 April 2016, the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems and Nutrition (Global Panel) and the African Union Commission’s Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) brought together African policymakers to discuss food safety issues, and in particular aflatoxins, on the margins of the 12th CAADP Partnership Platform. The Roundtable was chaired by H.E. John Kufuor, former President of Ghana and co-chair of the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition.

At the joint High Level Roundtable, the Global Panel launched its policy brief Assuring Safe Food Systems: Policy Options for a Healthier Food Supply, which reviews food safety issues that are critical to poor and vulnerable populations in low and middle-income countries.Participants discussed the food safety challenge on the African continent and its serious threat to the achievement of the Malabo Declaration. And, they identified promising pathways to addressing food safety in general and aflatoxin, in particular.

The High Level Roundtable Communique is available here.

The High Level Roundtable Press Release is available here.

Uganda Holds Aflatoxin Business Meeting

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.