IITA hands over mycotoxin testing equipment to private, public sector agencies

IITA hands over mycotoxin testing equipment to private, public sector agencies

By Bukola Adewumi, Abuja.


The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) says it has handed over mycotoxin testing equipment and accessories worth 13,000 U.S. dollars to private and public sector partners.


Dr Titilayo Falade, Aa Associate Scientist of IITA, said in a statement on Monday in Abuja that the beneficiaries included Competition Forum for Aflatoxin Reduced Agricultural Products (CFARAP) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration, and Control (NAFDAC).


She said the mycotoxin testing equipment would strengthen the capacity of the private and public sector partners for mobile and in-situ testing of multiple mycotoxins.


She said that the mycotoxins included aflatoxins in multiple food crops, adding that the donation of the equipment was made possible with funds provided by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).


Falade said that others like HarvestPlus were part of the project on “Reducing Post-Harvest Loss across Vitamin A, Maize and Cassava Value Chains” in Nigeria.


She said that aflatoxins were insidious natural toxins produced by toxigenic members of Aspergillus species, adding that contamination of crops by aflatoxins had severe negative effects.


The scientist said that it could lead to poor human health, poor child development, reduced livestock productivity and limited international trade in Nigeria.


Falade said that the incidence of aflatoxins required improved management to meet standards of domestic and international markets.


“Nigerian commodities are often rejected from international exports due to mycotoxin contamination, with aflatoxins taking the largest toll.


“In addition, frequent contamination of produce entering domestic markets threatens the health and livelihood of Nigerians,” she said.


Falade said that it was imperative for Nigeria to have a strengthened capacity for aflatoxin management, including adequate control and testing strategies.


She said that as part of the objectives of the project, IITA had trained stakeholders in mycotoxin management strategies in eight states between June and July this year.


She said that the institute had established a stakeholders’ platform through the Food Convergence Innovation and Nigeria Stakeholders’ Convention in October 2022, for collaborative engagement.


The scientist said the institute had handed over equipment for the establishment of testing hubs for rapid mycotoxin in-situ analysis.


“These efforts, with support from development, public and private sector partners, are strengthening Nigeria’s capacity for aflatoxin management.


“This is to reduce the burdens caused by aflatoxin contamination, in order to realise human, economic, and development goals,” she said.

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