By Peter Mutai NAIROBI (Xinhua)
-- Africa is currently making
losses of up to 670 million U.S. dollars annually from
export opportunities due to the prevalence of aflatoxin
in crops and animal products, an African Union official
said on Thursday.
Ogutu, the AU-Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in
Africa (PACA) Strategy and Operations Senior Officer
said that the problem is more prevalence in maize,
groundnuts and sorghum as farmers and consumers know
little about it and the risks associated with them.
“We need to
apply a multi-sectoral approach to eradicate the menace
from the continent,” she said during a symposium on
safeguarding Africa’s food from the effects of the
that Senegal, Uganda and Gambia are losing 139 million,
38 million and 2 million U.S. dollars respectively from
trade yearly as a result of the chemicals.
She said the
problem is becoming complex as it is fast becoming a
problem in the whole continent where it is affecting key
staples that are both very common foods in all of
that AU-PACA is currently piloting a project on
management of the aflatoxin in maize, sorghum and
groundnuts in Malawi, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria
milk sub sector is equally affected as that sold in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Nairobi Kenya has the highest
content of aflatoxin Africa.
official said that the two African cities milk are 100
percent aflatoxin contaminated. “The chemical level is
very high by international standards and is a major
health risk to consumers,” she added.
percent of milk consumed in other parts of Kenya are
also contaminated with the chemical.
Mahuku, a plant pathologist at the International
Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) said that
farmers require cheaper technology to enable them
identify the chemical in their food chain.
aflatoxin that is a soil-inhabiting poison enters into
crops as they grow, and persists after harvest, and
further finding its way into people’s bodies if food
consumed is also contaminated.
called on African governments and stakeholders to invest
in public awareness to help people know the dangers
posed by aflatoxin.
is a major deterrence to marketing of maize grown in
arid lands in Kenya,” the chief research officer at the
Kenya National Irrigation Board Raphael Wanjogu said.
He said that
Kenya’s plan of irrigating 80 percent of its Arid and
Semi Arid Lands (ASALs) is thwarted by aflatoxin and
In 2014 and
2016, aflatoxin killed 10 and 18 people respectively in
Kenya. Globally it causes 40 percent of deaths and an
estimated 5-30 percent of liver cancer, the highest
incidence being in Africa with 30 percent.