A $1.5 million project to reduce aflatoxin contamination in staple crops to ensure safe and nutritious food that meets standards for export markets has started in Uganda. Uganda loses an estimated US$38 million annually in lost export opportunities because of aflatoxin.
Already Kenya and Tanzania use the Aflasafe product that has been registered and is commercially available.
"This project will support field trials on the efficacy of the selected strains in reducing aflatoxin contamination and identify the most effective combinations to form Aflasafe that will be officially released in the country. We will also conduct communication and awareness activities for the population, which is also key to an aflatoxin-free Uganda," said George Mahuku, the project manager at IITA.
Efforts to develop the Uganda-specific Aflasafe started in 2013 under the Aflatoxin Policy and Program for East Africa (APPEAR) project that was funded by USAID. It led to the identification of effective strains of A. flavus to be used to develop the biocontrol product.
The APPEAR project also provided information on the major maize, groundnut, and sorghum regions that would help to implement the aBi-funded project.
Other project partners include the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (MTIC), Ministry of Health (MoH), East Africa Grain Council (EAGC), Grain Council of Uganda (TGCU), Makerere University, and from the development sector, AGRA and aBi.