IITA Tanzania commended for taming aflatoxins

06Jul 2019
Crispin Gerald
The Guardian
IITA Tanzania commended for taming aflatoxins

BELGIUM Ambassador to Tanzania Peter Van Acker has commended the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Tanzania for innovation of bio-control product technology—‘aflasafe’ to address toxic chemicals in crops that can cause cancer and suppress body immune.

Aflatoxin is a highly toxic chemical produced by ‘Aspergillus flavus’ a common fungus which is found in soils and crop debris. The fungus attacks crops in the field and remains even in storage.

Speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam after visiting the institute on Thursday, ambassador Acker expressed satisfaction with the technology due to its functions which are going to addressing toxic in the crops.

“I am impressed with the technology because toxic are dangerous to people’s health”, said the Ambassador.

Aflasafe is the effective technology developed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Tanzania, It is made up of the Aspergillus flavus fungus too, but of strains that do not produce the toxin. It is a revolutionary technology developed by the institute in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture with support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its agriculture department.

Aflasafe solution has now been registered by the Registrar of Pesticides, making Tanzania one of the few African countries where IITA has made a breakthrough in the application of the technology.

The ambassador added that aflasafe solution has come at a right time where Tanzania and other sub-Saharan African countries are facing the problem which causes huge loss. He said introduction of aflasafe technology will help countries that initially affected by aflatoxin to have safe food and assurance of food security, especially future to poor families.

technology will open room for commercial opportunities both, inside and outside the country”, he said.

The ambassador also visited the cassava screen house used for studies on cassava mosaic disease (CMD) and cassava brown streak disease (CBSD). He also visited the soil laboratory, molecular lab and pathology lab that all available at IITA.

IITA Director for Eastern Africa, Victor Manyong said the visit by Belgium Ambassador to the institute is of great importance since Belgium is among the countries that funds IITA activities.

Mayong said that IITA has recently developed several mobile phone App to help farmers have access to farming services including better and safe seeds, to detect crop diseases as well as knowing soil structures. He noted that with enhance technology advancement they can link famers in the country and provide them with better education and skills on farming.

Top Stories