Industry Insights

Safeguarding Africa’s Crops: IITA Unleashes Aflasafe against Toxic Aflatoxins

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), in line with an African Union initiative, has rolled out Aflasafe, a bioprotectant that shields crops from dangerous aflatoxins. This natural product has been made accessible to Nigerian farmers, aiming to safeguard their yields from these harmful compounds, which are known carcinogens linked to liver cancer.

The Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) indicates that Aflasafe holds an efficacy of 80-100% in combating pre-harvest crop aflatoxin contamination. “Aflatoxins are implicated in 5% to 30% of global liver cancer cases, with the incidence in Africa reaching 40%,” PACA reported.

IITA elaborated that Aflasafe, a non-chemical agricultural product, isn’t a food for direct human consumption, but a beneficial bioprotectant. It was created through rigorous testing by IITA and numerous partners to combat aflatoxins. The product has passed the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control’s safety requirements, proving its non-toxicity and ecological safety.

According to Dr. Abdullahi Ndarubu of Harvestfield Industries Limited, the manufacturer and distributor of Aflasafe, the product is endorsed by federal agricultural and export promotion programs. “These initiatives are propelling Aflasafe’s usage for safer maize and groundnut production for both domestic and international markets,” Ndarubu stated.

Aflasafe, composed of non-toxic strains of the fungus Aspergillus flavus native to Nigeria, has been safely used by Nigerian farmers for almost a decade. Aflasafe is distinguished by its blue color, achieved via a food-grade dye, to differentiate it from regular food. It is not used as food but as a bioprotectant to control aflatoxins in crops.

Dr. Titilayo Falade of IITA acknowledged the extensive support for Aflasafe, stating, “Various organizations, crop production groups, and stakeholders promote Aflasafe because of its benefits.”

Presently, Aflasafe is utilized in multiple African nations, with several more developing their specific strains.