The Meridian Institute has received $19.8 million in new funding from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and $1.6 million USD from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID) to support the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA). Through the leadership of the African Union Commission (AUC), and with interest from African and other governments, Regional Economic Communities, the private sector, and civil society leaders from across Africa, a comprehensive, Africa-wide approach to aflatoxin control is being established. This partnership will complement efforts to help small farmers lift themselves out of poverty by advancing projects to control aflatoxin contamination, improve food quality, and increase farmers’ access to markets. Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring, but highly toxic, substance caused by fungi. The toxin is linked to liver disease and cancer and associated with immune-system suppression, growth retardation, and death in both humans and domestic animals.
PACA aims to adapt proven solutions, and identify new ones, that will work for smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Comprehensive solutions will be developed, addressing the health, nutrition, trade, and agricultural impacts of aflatoxin. Solutions will include effective measures to control aflatoxin along the value chain, from crop production to processing, and food preparation to consumption. For instance, native strains of beneficial fungi have been shown to dramatically reduce the prevalence of aflatoxin in the field and in storage. Proper drying and storage can help further control aflatoxin. Many other measures can be taken to reduce aflatoxin exposure to local consumers and improve opportunities to sell aflatoxin-safe crops to markets, but measures need to be supported by appropriate policy and regulatory actions. It is expected that comprehensive and feasible solutions being developed for the African small farmer context will also be useful for other regions where aflatoxin is a problem.
|Location||Central Africa, Zambia, Uganda, Togo, Tanzania, South Africa, Senegal, Rwanda, Nigeria, Mozambique, Mali, Kenya, Ghana, Gambia, Congo, The Democratic Republic of, Burkina Faso, Benin, West Africa, Eastern Africa|
|Value||USD 21.4 Million|