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.
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.
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.
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.