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.
In November 2014, BBC Science program Horizons featured Mobile Assay’s Lab-on-Mobile-Device platform diagnostic tools. Mobile Assay developed their diagnostic platform for use with any Rapid Diagnostic Test.
Mobile Assay's smartphone application could offer a cheap way for African farming communities to manage aflatoxin. The application could also contribute to building a ‘big data’ set to assist research on aflatoxin outbreaks.The Lab-on-Mobile-Device platform can detect aflatoxins as accurately as a laboratory test, but can be carried out anywhere at a fraction of the cost using a smartphone camera.
The African Union Commission (AUC) is hiring five positions to strenghten the PACA Secretariat at the AUC Headquarters. The positions are: Senior Communication Officer, Knowledge Manager, Policy Advisor, Strategy and Operations Principal Officer, and Technical Advisor. This is part of the ongoing efforts to meet increasing continental and regional coordination and knowledge management functions as well as to provide effective support to the development, implementation and monitoring of national plans towards mitigating the aflatoxin challenge. The new staff will collectively bring diverse expertise to fully establish the Secretariat as a leader and preeminent player in aflatoxin control in Africa. The deadline for applying for the positions expired on 12 June 2015. The PACA Secretariat thanks all who submitted an application. Candidates are being evaluated through the deliberative AUC Human Resources process. More news will follow soon. Thank you
For the first time, Kenyan farmers will have access to a product that can dramatically reduce aflatoxin contamination. During the 127th meeting of the Board of Management, the Pest Control Products Board (PCPB) held on 29 June 2015 granted full registration status to the biocontrol product Aflasafe KE01™, with the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) as the registrant, paving the way for its unhindered use in Kenya. For more information, please click here.
Aflasafe received media attention, which can be seen at the following links:
- Scientific American: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fungus-used-to-quash-cancer-causing-toxin/
- National Geographic: http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com/2015/06/05/aflatoxin-the-silent-threat-to-africas-food-supply/
- Discovery Learning Channel: https://vimeo.com/131296185
Please visit the Aflasafe Facebook page for frequent updates.
PACA participated in the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) 42 on 12-15 October 2015, FAO, Rome, Italy. Dr. Amare Ayalew, PACA Program Director, featured in a side event on "Multi-Sector Partnerships Drive Food Safety Solutions." As one of five panel members, he described the strategic focus of PACA and the role its partnerships play in using research, expertise and other capabilities to seek solutions for controlling, managing and ultimately eliminating aflatoxins in Africa. Other panel members included:
- Mr. Jay Aldous, World Food Programme (WFP) who described the challenges WFP faces in feeding millions of people under adverse economic, social and environmental conditions and describes WFP’s efforts to adapt to purchasing local commodities to process, manufacture and disseminate safe, affordable and nutritious foods.
- Ms. Paulina S. Addy, Ministry of Food & Agriculture, Government of Ghana who focused on the gender dimensions of agricultural programs, including safe handling of agricultural commodities from post production and building capacity on safety at small scale food processing sites and markets.
- Mr. Dave Crean, Mars, Incorporated who described business roles in addressing aflatoxins; the need and value of building partnerships throughout the food value chains; and offers insights into Mars partnerships, including the newly launched Mars Global Food Safety Center in China and the unique characteristics of this center of excellence. .
- Dr. Mandana Arabi, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) who described GAIN’s innovative Business Platform for Nutrition Research (BPNR) with multi sector stakeholders to assess critical issues such as behavior change modification, biomarkers and establishing research priorities for mycotoxins, including aflatoxins.