Regional Aflatoxin control organization recognizes role of Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub in fighting aflatoxins

From 17-18 February 2015, the sixth Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) Steering Committee Meeting made site visits across Africa to engage with regional stakeholders and learn about each country’s efforts to mitigate aflatoxin.

Among the sites visited was the BecA-ILRI Hub in Nairobi Kenya which hosts a number of continental initiatives towards the control of aflatoxin contamination of maize including the Storage and Drying for Aflatoxin Control Project (AflaSTOP). The Steering Committee members appreciated the state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and the result-oriented regional efforts at BecA-ILRI Hub and the progress being made by the AflaSTOP project.

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An article published in the PACA newsletter of February 2015 following this visit,  highlights the BecA-ILRI Hub's support to many African scientists and their partners in amplifying their efforts to improve nutritional security and food safety in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Following stakeholder consultation and analysis, the BecA-ILRI Hub aflatoxin research team, through an Australian government funded partnership with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), established a shared research and capacity building laboratory and team of experts to fill the gap caused by a scarcity of laboratories equipped to adequately tackle the issue of aflatoxins in the region.

Since its establishment in 2011, the platform has hosted work of more than sixty researchers, from seven African countries, Australia, Europe and North America. Collectively, the community around the laboratory has made initial assessments of aflatoxin contamination in a number of African countries, conducted the first inoculated field trials in the region to identify maize varieties less susceptible to aflatoxin accumulation, developed models estimating aflatoxin risk at harvest, and produced a range of other important findings and tools which are beginning to reach end users to help ensure safer food and feed for Africa.

A further dimension of vibrancy and capacity has been infused by the range of other projects currently hosted in the laboratory. These include the AflaSTOP project, led by Sophie Walker, ACDI/VOCA and Agribusiness Systems International; the Aflatoxin Proficiency Testing for Eastern and Central Africa (APTECA) project, led by Tim Herrman, Professor, State Chemist and Director, Texas A&M Agrilife Research, which has achieved ISO 17025 accreditation of aflatoxin testing in the BecA-ILRI Hub lab; the MyDairy project in collaboration with Professor Erastus Kang’ethe, University of Nairobi and various CG Research Programs Agriculture for Nutrition and Health projects led by Dr Delia Grace (ILRI); and a number of others led by researchers from African institutes.


Download the PACA Newsletter here: PACA Newsletter - February 2015

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