VARIOUS stakeholders from across the African continent are meeting in Dar es Salaam to step up efforts in the fight against aflatoxin contamination in the maize value chain.
The two-day regional workshop, organised by the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) in collaboration with its partners, seeks to address the growing occurrence of aflatoxins in maize which affect food security, international trade of maize and health of people in African countries.
Speaking during a media briefing on the sidelines of the workshop, Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) Director of Food Safety, Raymond Wigenge said it was estimated that 208 million people in Africa depend on maize as a source of food and economic wellbeing.
“Maize is one of the crops most susceptible to aflatoxin contamination that is yet to receive attention by policy makers in Africa,’’ he said.
It is estimated that African countries collectively record 670 million US dollars loss annually in export due to aflatoxin contamination, with 30 per cent of liver cancer cases in Africa blamed on aflatoxin contaminated food.
Themed ‘Unleashing the full potential of the Maize Value Chain,’ the forum has brought together experts, including farming organisations, researchers, agriculturalists, traders, nutritionists, policy makers and health experts to discuss and deliberate on implementable solutions to the growing aflatoxin menace on the continent.
According to PACA Programme Manager, Dr Amare Ayalew, there was no any single option to deal with aflatoxin in Africa, adding that awareness raising as well as creating incentives for aflatoxin control interventions were important.
He called for collaboration by all stakeholders towards a single solution for aflatoxin control. The opening session of the workshop, which ends today, was graced by the Minister for Agriculture, Dr Charles Tizeba.