Maize afflicted by aflatoxin. Photo: y Joseph Atehnkeng/ IITA.
COMBATING AFLATOXIN –
THE SILENT KILLER
Aflatoxin – highly toxic and carcinogenic mycotoxins that contaminate certain crops in warm regions – can cause massive damage to farmer revenues, trade and public health. AflasafeTM, a biocontrol product developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, and adapted by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for use on the African continent, is proving highly effective in controlling aflatoxin.
Field trials by IITA conducted in Nigeria through the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health have shown that AflasafeTM consistently reduced contamination in groundnut and maize by more than 80%.
Applied directly in the field, AflasafeTM continues to protect crops after they are harvested and stored, safeguarding consumers from established health risks of consuming aflatoxin contaminated foods – such as liver disease and liver cancer – and potential risks, including suppressed immune systems and stunted growth in children. The number of farmers using AflasafeTM in Nigeria, where 25 to 60% of maize is contaminated, more than doubled in just one year. The surface area treated and volume of safe maize produced more than trebled. In Kenya, following application of AflasafeTM on 3,000 acres, 98% of the harvested maize was classified as safe by European Union standards.
STAGES OF AFLASAFETM PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AS OF AUGUST 2016
Source: Bandyopadhyay et al. (2016), IITA