A group of African leaders from Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda from the East African Community (EAC) visited participants of the AgResults Nigeria Aflasafe™ Pilot to learn about the biocontrol agent and see how the product is reducing aflatoxins, improving health outcomes, and helping smallholder farmers meet international standards.
The visit was an opportunity for these leaders to see first-hand how Aflasafe™ is working in Nigeria and to see the potential to scale or replicate both the AgResults Nigeria Aflasafe™ Pilot and IITA’s Aflasafe ProjecT into East Africa. “EAC intends to benefit and partner with these projects,” said Ladislaus Kyaruzi Leonadis, an EAC member from Tanzania said, “We now know that using Aflasafe™ increases the values of farmers’ products, eventually boosting market prices and benefitting the economy in the long run.”
Participants were able to learn best practices in the control of aflatoxins as well as various other initiatives on biocontrol technology and how to address the impact of aflatoxin contamination along the value chain.
The leaders we also able to hear first-hand accounts from smallholder farmers themselves. The Head of the Ijaye Farmers Association said that maize crops treated with Aflasafe™ meet international safety standards and that farmers are now able to sell their maize for a premium price in the market.
“When Aflasafe™ was introduced to me, I was skeptical at first, but I went ahead and used it on a small portion of my farm, I discovered during harvest that output was far better and yields were able to withstand the test of time. Since then, I have never stopped using the product,” he said in a speech to the EAC members.
The members heard further testimonies during field visits to farms throughout Nigeria.
After the trip, the EAC members continued to discuss their optimism for the potential impact Aflasafe™ has not just in Nigeria, but throughout Africa. “Keying into these projects will help improve the health of people in the countries we represent, as well as the added possibility of reducing the risk of cancer and other health burdens associated with aflatoxin.” Mr. Kyaruzi Leonadis said at the end of the trip.
The Nigeria Aflasafe™ Pilot is a five-year pull mechanism that works to increase adoption of Alfasafe™ throughout Nigeria. The pilot is managed by Debo Akande and is supported by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA).