IITA partners with A-Z Textile Mills Limited on AflasafeTM in Tanzania

28 February 2020

IITA signed a 5-year Technology Transfer and Licensing Agreement (TTLA) with A-Z Textile Mills Limited in May 2019 for Aflasafe TZ01 manufacturing, distribution, and commercialization/ sale in Tanzania.

The License arrangement is expected to achieve impact and allow the product reach the intended beneficiaries.

AflasafeTM is a revolutionary biocontrol product, developed by IITA, the United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and national partners, which reduces the prevalence of aflatoxins in treated maize and groundnut by 80% – 99% from farm to fork. Following years of painstaking scientific work to develop products tailored for Africa and firmly establish their efficacy, Aflasafe is ready to be manufactured and distributed to farmers at scale.

The Aflasafe Technology Transfer and Commercialization (ATTC) Program funded jointly by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is designed to carefully and efficiently identify strategic options for partnership with private companies or government entities, execute those partnerships and help ensure the products reach millions of farmers

The initial idea of the technology was developed by the USDA-ARS. The technology was adapted and improved for use in Africa by IITA, USDA-ARS and several national partners. The genetic material of Aflasafe (i.e., the non-toxin producing strains of Aspergillus flavus) came from Nigerian soil, maize crops.

IITA and the United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) Aflatoxin Reduction in Crops Laboratory at the University of Arizona, together with other partners have developed the aflatoxin biocontrol product Aflasafe TZ01 and its manufacturing process for use in Tanzania. IITA is the official registration holder of Aflasafe TZ01 in Tanzania, granted by the Tropical Pesticides Research Institute. IITA, USDA-ARS, and the Ministry of Agriculture of the United Republic of Tanzania, are the co-developers of the technology. A plant/ factory to produce Aflasafe TZ01 and a distribution network are necessary for making Aflasafe TZ01 readily accessible to farmers.

A TO Z Textile Mills Limited is a company incorporated in Tanzania which holds the “AgroZ” umbrella brand for all products targeting the agricultural market, notably their patented hermetic storage bag. The License arrangement with a company like A to Z is important for scaling up, considering the significant investments required in the market development and in the development of a manufacturing plant capable of producing at scale.