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April 21st, 2017 / InDepth News

Forty percent of the food produced in Africa is lost, largely due to poor product handling, storage and processing practices, with aflatoxins often responsible for much of this loss in the post-harvest phase.

Aflatoxins are poisonous and cancer-causing chemical produced by certain moulds (Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus) which grow in soil, decaying vegetation, hay and grains.

At the 1st All Africa Post-Harvest Congress held in Nairobi from March 28 -31 to tackle the problem of post-harvest food losses in Africa, ‘aflatoxin management, food safety and nutrition’ was one of the issues on the agenda, with experts calling for improved post-harvest handling of food.

Elizabeth Ogutu, strategy and operations senior officer with the African Union’s Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA), noted that aflatoxins impact food safety, health, trade and agriculture, accounting for 30 percent of liver cancer infections in Africa, and are responsible for the loss of around 670 million dollars. Read more