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Tanzania develops Aflasafe TZ01 biocontrol product

Tanzania develops Aflasafe TZ01 biocontrol product

TANZANIA has been successful in developing a biocontrol product known as Aflasafe TZ01, which is already registered for commercial use in the country.

A private company is investing in a manufacturing plant and is organising marketing and the distribution of the life-saving product.

The process has been possible through a facilitation role by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and partners in Tanzania and 10 other African nations through the Aflasafe Technology Transfer and Commercialisation Program.

The Minister of Agriculture, Mr Japhet Hasunga said in Arusha on Monday that collaboration between research, private sector and policy makers is essential to catalyze agricultural transformation.

He said this in his opening speech during the first Aflasafe for Africa Conference aimed at fighting aflatoxin.

The conference gathers scientists, businesses, policy makers and development partners to strategize on how to accelerate the scale-up of Aflasafe that aims at fighting aflatoxins in the continent.

Mr Hasunga said that since the aflatoxicosis outbreak in 2016, the Tanzanian government has taken some steps to reduce aflatoxin contamination in the country: Adding that considering its complexity, tackling aflatoxin requires a holistic approach targeting on-farm production, harvest, storage, processing, and logistics, involving both the public and private sectors to reduce food losses and increase the availability of safe and nutritious food.

Tanzania has set up a multi-sectoral, multidisciplinary and multi-institutional Mycotoxin Steering Committee currently chaired by the Ministry of Agriculture with the mandate to look into and address issues related to all mycotoxins, including aflatoxin.

Recently, the government of Tanzania secured funds and launched the Tanzania Initiatives for Preventing Aflatoxin Contamination (TANIPAC) project.

The main objective of the project is to minimize aflatoxin occurrence in the food system attained through an integrated approach in the maize and groundnuts value chains, with the overall impact of improving food safety and food security, hence improving the health and nutrition of the communities and promoting cross-border trade.

The project has adopted a comprehensive strategy to address the issue of aflatoxin in Tanzania. The leading technologies consist of interventions during primary production, including bio-control; post-harvest technologies and handling practices such as drying and hermetic storage technologies; Construction of storage facilities; Institutional strengthening, coordination and awareness-raising among key stakeholders.

Mr Hasunga noted that the private-sector participation is considered essential to ensure the up-scaling and commercialisation of proposed technologies and the long-term sustainability of project interventions.

The objectives of the conference are to report the progress on commercialising Aflasafe, exchange experiences and lessons learnt in the course of scaling up/out the use of Aflasafe, build the capacity of manufacturing and distribution partners on new developments in Aflasafe technology and production and forge connections between manufacturing and distribution partners, regulators, suppliers and commodity buyers.

IITA has partnered with the government of Tanzania in major research projects aiming at addressing agricultural problems faced by farmers and consumers.

IITA has been contributing in many ways to building capacity in agricultural research of Tanzania, and some of them are occupying high positions in the ministry and universities.

What people celebrate today is the result of many years of collaboration between research organizations at national, regional and international levels.

In Tanzania, scientists, some of whom have served in key positions in the Ministry of Agriculture, have also worked with IITA and contributed to the development of the bio-control technology.

“On behalf of the government of Tanzania, I convey our sincere gratitude to IITA management and the entire staff for this strong working relationship that has been established between IITA and the government of Tanzania,” said Mr Hasunga.

The minister noted that Tanzania is currently implementing the second phase of the Agricultural Sector Development Program (ASDP II), intending to transform the agricultural sector towards higher productivity and more commercialization, while boosting smallholder farmers’ income for better livelihoods, food security and nutrition.

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Author: DEUS NGOWI

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