Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, August 15, 2016

Aflatoxin within the food value chain in Kenya

15-20 August 2016. Kenya. AFLANET: Aflatoxin Networking on Aflatoxin Reduction in the Food Value Chain. The goal of this project is to establish a long-term network be-tween scientific and development partners in Kenya/East Africa and Germany to address the reduction of aflatoxins in the food value chain. It is funded by German Ministry for Food and Agriculture (BMEL) (Project Duration: 01.07.2016 - 31.07.2017).

Stephen Muchiri, CEO of EAFF
At the beginning of the project a study tour of 5 days to various stakeholders in the agricultural production chain, visits of acreages for maize and visits to research institutions and laboratories was organized. The aim was to evaluate which groups and projects are working on aflatoxin minimization and which parameters of minimization strategies for aflatoxins in maize and dairy products are already established and applied. The purpose is to develop
intense and long-lasting contacts between German and Kenyan actors in the agricultural feed and food sector.

Solutions for a long-term aflatoxin minimization in the diet of the Kenyan people were to be identified by visiting the circumstances in Kenya and a subsequent workshop, and thus to contribute
Charles Nkonge
to secure food and feed. The excursion considered the priority research objectives in this project and established contacts with key actors in the agricultural food
sectors who are convinced of a fruitful future collaboration. By means of these contacts current research issues were gathered dealing with aflatoxin contamination in the food value chain in Kenya.

The following institutions are involved in the Aflanet project:
  • East African Farmers Federation (EAFF)
  • GIZ Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH
  • International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) together with Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA-labs)
  • Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), visit the research station, labs and field sites
  • Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBs),
  • Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS)
  • University of Nairobi (UoN): visit facilities working on aflatoxin
For the last day approx. 10-12 representatives from research institutions, projects, stakeholders of crop production, storage and processing facilities as well as from consumer protection associations were invited to participate in a one-day-conference in order to generate the necessary further research.

Related PAEPARD blogposts:
Aflatoxins in Eastern Africa. This special issue of AJFAND is a contribution to better understanding several aspects of the multi-faceted problem of aflatoxins, focused on East Africa.

Visit to the International Livestock Research Institute (Biosciences eastern and central Africa-ILRI Hub) in Nairobi
16 August 2017. The BecA-CSIRO aflatoxin project (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial
Research Organisation - CSIRO, Australia) has established a lab, procedures and a network of partners that has focused on gathering information on and coming up with a set of interventions to reduce aflatoxin risk. These include sampling/testing procedures (see policy brief), as well as decision support tools for the wider community.
  • BecA’s African National Agricultural Research Institute and university partners who have used the BecA-ILRI Hub aflatoxin lab and generated a broad set of data are involved in data sharing (in addition to the data already generated by the CAAREA project team itself. Over 40 researchers have used the aflatoxin platform to conduct aflatoxin (and mycotoxin research more broadly) research since 2009, forming a broad base of information.
  • The Capacity and Action for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (CAAREA) project was the flagship of Australia’s African Food Security Initiative, bringing Australian funding (approximately $3 million from Australian AID and now the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, from 2011-2015) and scientific expertise to bear on this challenging issue. The project is continuing in another phase, as the Aflatoxin Action Alliance (AAA). 
  • The purpose of the AAA is for researchers, the private and public sector actors, women and men farmers and civil society to collaboratively develop and apply new knowledge and innovations that contribute to reduced exposure to aflatoxin from maize.
  • Scientists from CSIRO are leading the risk mapping and predictive model development, based on field trials and on farm surveys conducted by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation, the Tanzanian Agricultural Research Institute and Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, and other CAAREA/AAA project partners.

Visit to the Aflasafe Modular Manufacturing factory at KALRO Katumani.
17 August 2016. Machakos. The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation has put up a laboratory to conduct research on the mycotoxins in the East Africa region. KALRO constructed a modular (small-scale) plant to manufacture Aflasafe KE01, a biopesticide to control aflatoxin, one of the most prevalent mycotoxin in the region.

The construction of the regional mycotoxin laboratory was supported by the World Bank which rehabilitated an existing building at the Katumani center while the equipment was provided by USAID through the Aflatoxin Policy and Program for East Africa (APPEAR) project, and USDA-ARS. It will be used for surveillance and monitoring of aflatoxin contamination as well as for developing biocontrol agents for aflatoxin management in Kenya and the Eastern African region. The total investment for this laboratory facility amounted to US$170,000.

Aflasafe KE01 was developed in partnership with KALRO, IITA, USDA-ARS, AATF, ACDI/VOCA, and the National Irrigation Board (NIB). These partners are also behind the construction of the modular plant which will cost US$800,000 and produce the biopesticide for the region. Currently the plant will be run by KALRO with technical backstopping
from IITA but it is hoped it will eventually attract the private sector for wide-scale production and distribution of the product.

Presentation of the Afla stop project: Storage and drying for aflatoxin prevention project
17 August 2016. Machakos.

Presentation of the Aflatoxin Test kits
18 August 2016 (Nairobi)

Presentation by and visit to the University of Nairobi
18 August 2016 (Nairobi)

Presentation by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS)
18 August 2016. Nairobi. Visit to KEPHIS offices to discuss phytosanitary issues especially in regards to exporting samples to Germany for testing

Visit to the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (Nairobi campus and Bitwa campus)
19 August 2016 (Nairobi) + 22-23 August 2016 (Bitwa)
  • Roundtable discussion with icipe Scientists
  • Push-pull technology project – Prof Zeyaur Khan via video conference link from ITOC, Mbita 
  • Insects for food and feed – Dr Fiaboe Komi
  • Postharvest pests – Dr. Christopher Mutungi
  • Behavioural and Chemical Ecology Unit – Dr Baldwyn Torto
icipe’s multifunctional platform technology known as `push-pull' effectively controls The technology has been adapted to drier areas and climate change through identification and incorporation of drought tolerant companion plants.
stemborer pests and striga weeds while enhancing soil health, leading to improved incomes and gender equity.

icipe’s recent observations indicate significantly reduced attack of maize by ear rots and mycotoxins with the push-pull technology, implying potential contribution of the technology to food safety. This presents an opportunity of managing the killer disease using a simple technology that also addresses a host of other production challenges affecting smallholder farmers. There is thus an urgent need to establish the underlying mechanisms by which the technology controls mycotoxins, principally aflatoxin, and to put in place approaches to ensure exploitation of the benefits of this system. 

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