In the absence of concerted efforts to raise awareness on the dangers of aflatoxin to humans and domestic animals, advances in technology for early detection of aflatoxin in cereals and seeds such as maize will come to naught, experts warn.
As food contaminants, aflatoxins are amongst the deadliest. Between 2004 and 2007, contaminated maize killed nearly 200 people in Kenya, left hundreds hospitalised and rendered millions of bags of maize unfit for consumption.
Aflatoxin contamination is a growing threat to trade, food and health security in sub-Saharan Africa, where smallholder farmers are challenged by food production and now climate change, researchers said.
Last season, Mollene Kachambwa lost a tonne of the 5 tonnes of maize the family harvested to weevils and fungi.