Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

2nd African Symposium on Mycotoxicology

Mr. L kubok, Managing Director
(Agriculture and Food Authority),
informing the audience about mycotoxin contamination
in the food and feed chain in Kenya. 
24 - 27 June 2018. Mombasa (Kenya). The 2nd African Symposium on Mycotoxicology entitled “Mitigating mycotoxin contamination in the African food and feed chain”, hosted by Dr. Bradley Flett and Dr. Sheila Okoth, was held under the auspices of the International Society on Mycotoxicology (ISM, Dr. Rudi Krska and Dr. Antonio Moretti (president andvice-president ISM)).

The 1st African Symposium on Mycotoxicology held in 2015 in Zambia caused the willing to organize this 2nd symposium with the effort to address the threat of mycotoxins to food production systems, health care and trade on the African continent.

The conference created awareness on the importance of mycotoxins in food and feed safety, human and animal health and the economic impact on the African continent.
Dr. Lindy Rose
Fusarium Lab at the Department
of Plant Pathology in
Stellenbosch University.
Cape Town, South Africa
  • Africa experiences continuous widespread pre- and postharvest losses of cereals, groundnuts, tree nuts and other food crops through mycotoxin contamination. 
  • Of greater concern are the severe impacts on human lives including stunting in children and deaths of humans and animals associated with the consumption of mycotoxin contaminant food and feed. 
  • The ubiquitous contamination of African commodities with mycotoxins impedes economic development on the continent as maximum allowable limits in food and feed, set by USA and EU, may not be achievable or regulated to ensure quality.
The symposium brought together experts in mycotoxicology, agriculture, nutrition, policy makers, farmers, agro-entrepreneurs, cereal boards and processors to share their viewpoints on mycotoxin related issues and research. Topics will range from health and socioeconomic impacts, while multidisciplinary approaches will be adopted to address issues on mycotoxin occurrence in Africa including the uptake and evaluation of technology within an African context.

The symposium provided a unique opportunity for sharing information amongst African and international participants and created an environment for role-players to meet and interact to form successful partnerships and collaborations.


Keynotes
  • A. Moretti, N. Cito, and A.F. Logrieco, Communication and dissemination: two key aspects for a more efficient mycotoxin management at worldwide level: the MycoKey approach.
  • F. Stepman, Scaling-up the impact of aflatoxin research in Africa. The role of social sciences.
    The academic world and the development world still seem to operate in different spheres and a collaboration is still challenging due to the complexity of the contamination sources at pre-harvest and post-harvest levels. There is a growing call by research funders and development actors for the impact of solutions at a scale. The solutions to mitigate aflatoxin contamination require new ways of working together. A more prominent role is to be played by social scientists. The role of social scientists in scaling-up the impact of aflatoxin research in Africa and the proposed mitigation solutions is to ensure that awareness, advantage, affordability, and access are systematically assessed. 
  • S. Muchiri (see picture right), Mitigating mycotoxin contamination in Africa food and feed chains – farmers perspective.
  • A.F. Logrieco and A. Moretti, The MYCOTOX CHARTER: awareness for harmonizing efforts and regulations worldwide.
  • H. Hassan-Wassef (see picture right), Mycotoxins: Are profit oriented control measures leaving out domestic health concerns?
  • D. Ameyawds, Monitoring and Evaluation of Technology uptake in Africa
  • A. Ayalew (see picture right), The challenges of mycotoxin contamination in African crops: missing links to sustainably mitigate the challenges.
    This year has already seen a marked progress in food safety and aflatoxin control in Africa. Food safety is receiving the focus it deserves by the African Union (AU). The highest AU policy organ, the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government, received a report on food safety and aflatoxin control as part of the Annual Report on the Activities of the AU and its Organs. 
  • L. A. Senghor, A. Ortega-Beltran, M. Konlambigue, J. Atehnkeng, P.J. Cotty and R. Bandyopadhyay, The biocontrol product Aflasafe SN01: a registered tool for aflatoxin mitigation in maize and groundnut in Senegal and Gambia.
  • An intercontinental partnership on mycotoxin mitigation: who, what and how? by Dr. Marthe De Boevre
  • Testimonials on success stories by Dr. Melody Ndemera, Richard Madege and Dr. Limbikani Matumba (picture left)
MYTOX-SOUTH is a partnership to improve food security & food safety through mitigation of mycotoxins at global level with the following long term goals:
  • BUILDING HUMAN CAPACITY. MYTOX-SOUTH started by training, student/staff exchange programs and Joint PhDs which can contribute to an increased capacity of partners in the South and the identification of new research areas to reduce mycotoxin risks, to transfer knowledge on several detection techniques, to ameliorate pre- and post-harvest practices by using mycotoxin binders, biological control agents and other intervention techniques, to assess the risks when consumers are exposed to mycotoxins
  • BRIDGING THE GAP. For two decades focus has been set towards the problem of aflatoxins, however there has not been paid enough attention to the coordination of local (African) research capacity. Development actors are getting mobilized to tackle the problem, but bridging research and development in this field is challenging. Mycotoxin contamination of food and feed requires a development and research policy which translates research outcomes into practical ways which can bridge the gap between (1) research and the development of more safe food and feed, and (2) different actors including farmer organizations, NGO’s such as Mycotoxicology Associations, the private sector and policy makers.
  • CREATING A SUSTAINABLE NETWORK, MYTOX-SOUTH contributes to the coordination of research actors in order to focus skills and resources, and to improve the communication between research and non-research actors. As a solid consortium, MYTOX-SOUTH seeks for international funding opportunities to further enhance its capacity to deal with mycotoxins and the related food safety and food security challenges. By involving the Northern partners as CAS China, BioIntellipro LLC, the World Food Preservation Centre® LLC, USDA and PAEPARD a world-wide visibility will be achieved.
G. Antonissen UGent
Related:
The research proposal MycoSafe-South, the “European–African partnership for safe and efficient use of mycotoxin-mitigation strategies in sub-Saharan Africa” has been approved by the selection committee of LEAP-Agri.

It is co-funded by the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO), Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research (NFSR), Research Council of Norway (RCN), Kenyan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), South Africa's National Research Foundation (NRF), BIOMIN Holding GmbH, Harbro Ltd.

Start: 1 September 2018, duration 3 years, budget: 795,492 Euro.

Related:
MYTOX-SOUTH traineeship call:
The traineeship period includes a minimum of 1 month to a maximum of 6 months at a Northern partner Institute. The traineeship has to be done in 2019 (starting mid February 2019). Two traineeship grants can be offered in case multiple high-level applications are received, however the period will be shortened (≤ 3 months). On the other hand, if only 1 traineeship grant will selected, the fund will be awarded for a longer training period (> 3 months). When the traineeship is for a 6 months-stay in Ghent, Ghent University offers the opportunity to get a Joint PhD with the home-University. Deadline August 30th 2018!

Upcoming events
  • 2-4 October 2018. Dakar, Senegal. Second Partnership Platform Meeting of PACA, 
  • October 8-10, 2018 Karlsruhe, Germany. Max Rubner Conference 2018: Fungi and Mycotoxins in Foods
  • 7-11 October 2018. Berlin, Germany. IWCSPP 2018 - 12th International Working Conference for Stored Product Protection.
  • 15-17 October 2018. Pretoria, South Africa. Second International Conference for Food Safety and Security, 

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