Published on 9 Jun 2015. This panel considers and debates one of the greatest obstacles to food security in many parts of the world: mycotoxin.

Aflatoxin is a particularly dangerous mycotoxin produced predominantly by two Aspergillus fungi. It colonizes a variety of important food and feed crops both pre- and post-harvest, including groundnuts, tree nuts, maize, rice, figs and other dried foods, spices, crude vegetable oils and cocoa.

Contaminated crops have significant health risks for both humans and animals, having been linked to retarded growth and development (stunting), immunosuppression and liver cancer. The aflatoxin issue has other, complex implications for food security and, by limiting farmers’ access to international markets, can lead to food waste and economic instability.

Panelists:

  • John Lamb, Principal Associate, Abt Associates
  • Dr. Kitty Cardwell, National Program Leader, USDA-NIFA
  • Barbara Stinson, Senior Partner, Meridian Institute; Project Director, Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa
  • Moderator: Dr. Howard-Yana Shapiro, Chief Agricultural Officer, Mars, Incorporated
@36:15 Discussion on the funding needs 
@44:33 “The [multi national] agribusinesses that are working in Africa are the ones that want to create clean products. They make it worthwhile for growers to change their practices. Nestle, Mars, Unilever etc can kick start the demand – which is what we need for farmers to do what they need to do [to reduce aflatoxin levels]” Dr. Kitty Cardwell
@1:00:48: “Plant science could be a profound way of solving some of those problems” Dr. Howard-Yana Shapiro

Related PAEPARD video interviews
PAEPARD video interview with Howard Shapiro of Mars, Inc USA.

He answers the following questions:

  • Why is the issue of mycotoxin contamination so important?
  • How critical is mycotoxin contamination for Mars Inc.?
  • Why do you expect from research and development funders?
  • Why did the development community not take it up?
  • Do we need a pre-harvest or post-harvest intervention? Are attitudes changing?
 

PAEPARD video interview with John Lamb; Abt. Associates. 

He answers the following questions:

  • Why the private sector should be concerned about aflatoxin?
  • The mortality rate among chicken is strong evidence?
  • How should the chicken feed business be approached?
   

Related: 
CREATED: July, 2015
AUTHOR(S): Mundia Silumesii, Seed Certification and Control Institute SCCI (MAL), Lusaka, Zambia.
EDITED BY: Plantwise, CABI

This post was originally published at PAEPARD and has been republished with permission.

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