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Communicating the Findings Sharing the findings Aflacontrol Conference Southern Sun Hotel, Nairobi 30th November 2011 Stanley Guantai / Steve Collins
Why the concern Center for Disease Control has estimated that more than 4.5 billion people in developing countries are chronically exposed to Aflatoxins in their diets. Over 82,000 cases of cancer diagnosed annually mainly due to dietary lifestyles (according to Dr. Mwangi, KNH) The annual recurrence of aflatoxicosis and the loss of life and incomes. Maize is the staple food of preference in Kenya with an estimated consumption of 88 kg. per capita per year. 75 percent of the maize is produced by small scale farmers and most of that is consumed at the household or traded informally within the rural areas. Over 60 percent of the maize is processed using posho mills in the rural and peri-urban centres. Maize standards and grades not applied despite their existence.
The problem The problem starts at the farm but extended and magnified during handling, conditioning, transporting, storage and packaging. producers, traders, transporters, processors, retailers and consumers involved. Consumer awareness is low. - Consumers often buy that with a lower price tag Business ethics not always practiced. Health aspects are chronic but not always seen as part of Aflatoxins. Myths and misinformation abound
Understanding the problem Epidemiological studies and interrelation of findings with mycotoxins. Bring out short term and long term results as relates to acute and chronic effects. By products of livestock fed on mycotoxins contaminated feeds have health effects on the humans. Diversification of food crops and dietary sources. Need for soil mapping and survey (spores found in the soil).
How then to reach out Work with extension workers, public heath officials, provincial administration, to reach out to producers, traders and consumers. Start awareness campaigns early before the crop harvest. Involve women and school children for lasting assimilation. Follow up with traders and processors Advise on HCCP at all stages (Simple practical remedial approaches). Over 2,500 households have been trained in PHH and grain bulking.
Reaching out to thegovernment Create close linkage with the Ministry of Agriculture, Public health, Research and institutes of higher learning. If you go it alone there is dissent. Importance of joint response from public health and ministry of agriculture What role ministry of trade? Research not always problem focused but more academic oriented.
Ensuring support Shared ownership of the problem and the solutions Meet and consult regularly and at all levels. (carried out 4 briefs). Simple solutions that officials can use to convey message of hope. Research to provide viable bio- control methods Need low cost diagnostic equipment.
Reaching out to producers Reach out through opinion leaders, provincial administration and extension workers.(26 MoA ToT trained in Kitui County) (Two ToT in Nakuru and Eldoret (56) and PHH trainings in Bungoma, Bomet, Kisii, Laikipia, Nakuru, Trans Mara, Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu carried out under KMDP) Demystify the problem. Public barazas, and social gatherings. (3 field days, by MoA in Kaiti) Use multiple information channels – Mass media, Skits, posters and pamphlets
Traders and processors Often we demonize the trader yet they bulk, condition, bag and distribute the commodity. Contamination occur through poor conditioning, handling, storage and packaging. producer, trader, transporter, processor, retailer and consumer involved. Need for trained warehousing managers and appropriate storage and conditioning equipment. (56 Warehouse managers and traders trained in collaboration with Smart logistics and MLI) Revisit the use of biodegradable packaging (import duty on jute bags and tarpaulins). Emphasize business ethics as a way of life (Ministry of Trade).
Consumers Consumer awareness is low and usually guided by affordability. Consumers do not have an organized forum for advocacy and information. Educate consumers through mass media and other communication avenues. Encourage new trends towards traditional foods consumers Seek cooperation of retailers to adopt Aflatoxins free commodities.
Development partners Development partners often working tangentially, need to collaborate. Piece meal approach to problem No simple solutions availed. Team work and partnerships a must. (New initiatives, IITA; ILRI & IFPRI) Food quality and nutrition must be adopted as a component under the food security and Feed the Future strategies. Website:http://programs.ifpri.org/afla /afla,asp
Issues on Aflatoxins To day work is on Agronomic aspects:- Bio-control Diagnostics and Post harvest handling Need work on Health aspects. Serological, biomarkers Overall increased awareness maybe driven by health and not only Agronomic aspects.
Way Forward Host government ownership / involvement is critical Problem is regional (CAADP) and global so multilateral engagement is needed. High interest from donors (particularly if near term solutions are available).
Asante Sana The Aflacontrol team. USAID With the support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation