Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Saturday, March 15, 2014

East African Community workshop on Aflatoxin Control Program

6 - 8 March 2014 2014. Bujumbura. East African Community Secretariat. A two-day regional workshop on Aflatoxin Control Program was organized by the EAC Secretariat with the support of (USAID) and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) .

The workshop saw the composition of the Regional Working Group on Aflatoxins (REWGA) mandated to provide technical and advisory guidance to EAC Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security and key stakeholders in the region on prevention and control of aflatoxin in the region.REWGA will work at a regional level to provide leadership for coordinating and monitoring strategic intervention on aflatoxin control.

The workshop was attended by among other experts from all the EAC Partner States, United States of America Government representatives, the African Union, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF), the Media. 
Aflatoxin contamination is not adequately and appropriately controlled or regulated within the EAC region as most of food stuffs are produced and consumed locally with no or limited testing by the relevant regulatory authorities. Many countries reject agriculture imports exceeding certain levels of aflatoxin, costing African farmers millions of dollars each year in lost sales. Meanwhile, people who inadvertently consume a large quantity of the contaminated food can get very sick, as the toxin can cause potentially fatal problems in the liver and intestines. For example, in 2004 alone, 300 people in Kenya were sickened by aflatoxin and 125 people died.

Dr Victor Manyong, Director for IITA Eastern Africa based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, noted that the East Africa region is one of the hotspots of aflatoxin contamination - it has all the right conditions that the natural occurring fungi that produce aflatoxins thrive in.

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