Maize farmers enjoy better grains with Aflasafe

16 November 2009

Image of a maize farmer
A maize farmer happily showing a tub of Aflasafe before applying it in his field. Photo by R. Bandyopadhyay.

Farmers in Nigeria participating in the biocontrol of aflatoxins using Aflasafe™— a fungus-based biocontrol product developed by IITA— say the quality of their maize grains has significantly improved after the product’s application in their fields.

“With the application of Aflasafe™, my maize cobs are cleaner,” attested Christie Kpatuwak, a maize farmer in Kaduna State, who is among many that are participating in the field testing of Aflasafe™.

Another farmer, Sanusi Liman of Zaria, adds: “Since the application of Aflasafe™, the quality of my maize have really improved, with cleaner seeds. The seeds do not have disease on them as before.”

The trials, which are being conducted on about 85 hectares of farmlands across Nigeria, are coordinated by the Kaduna State Agriculture Development Program and funded by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and European Union’s MycoRed project.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) see the improvement in grain quality as a welcome development. It adds that reducing aflatoxins in grains will benefit the country in many ways including improved health and incomes.

“We are impressed with the results on the field and a final analysis is under way. A reduction in aflatoxin contamination means better food and health for the farmers,” says Ranajit Bandyopadhyay, IITA Pathologist, who is leading the trials.

Produced mainly by the fungus Aspergillus flavus in maize, groundnuts, cassava, and yam chips, aflatoxins are potent causes of cancer and they also suppress the immune system causing humans and animals (through feeds) to be more susceptible to diseases.

Economically, high levels of aflatoxins contamination in agricultural products act as international trade barriers with global trade losses estimated at US$1.2 billion annually.

Aflasafe™ was developed by IITA in partnership with the Agriculture Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture and the University of Ibadan. The product contains non-toxic strains of the A. flavus fungus commonly found in Nigeria. Aflasafe™ is a registered trademark of IITA.

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For more information, please contact:

Dr Ranajit Bandyopadhyay, r.bandyopadhyay@cgiar.org
Pathologist
IITA-Ibadan

Jeffrey T. Oliver, o.jeffrey@cgiar.org
Corporate Communications Officer (International)

Godwin Atser, g.atser@cgiar.org
Corporate Communications Officer (West Africa)

Communication Office
IITA – Headquarters
Ibadan, Nigeria

URL: www.iita.org

About IITA
Africa has complex problems that plague agriculture and people’s lives. We develop agricultural solutions with our partners to tackle hunger and poverty. Our award winning research for development (R4D) is based on focused, authoritative thinking anchored on the development needs of sub-Saharan Africa. We work with partners in Africa and beyond to reduce producer and consumer risks, enhance crop quality and productivity, and generate wealth from agriculture. IITA is an international non-profit R4D organization since 1967, governed by a Board of Trustees, and supported primarily by the CGIAR.

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