Aflatoxin is a poison produced by fungi, mainly Aspergillus flavus. The fungi are present in the soil and can infect the crops in any stage of the value chain: production, drying, processing, milling, transportation and storage. Aflatoxin affects several crops including maize, groundnuts, sorghum, rice, herbs and spices. It contaminates up to 65% of maize and groundnuts. In 2010, 2.3 million bags of contaminated maize were condemned in Eastern and Coast. About 455 million worth of maize were incinerated. In 2020 and 2021, some brands of maize and peanut butter were recalled in Kenyan market causing significant economic loses, negative publicity and loss of trust.
KALRO and IITA developed Aflasafe KE, a safe natural solution to the problem of aflatoxin. It is highly cost-effective, costing only around USD 8 per acre and fetching a premium on growing markets reaping rich rewards for farmers and the food industry. Aflasafe offers a way to secure a dependable supply of aflatoxin-safe inputs from domestic supply chains, without relying on imports or risking receiving highly contaminated lots. Many companies struggle to source sufficient aflatoxin-safe raw materials, but this can be solved by implementing or supporting Aflasafe use in supply chains. Aflasafe offers trade opportunities locally and export markets for a wide range of processed goods, including flours, oils, groundnut butters, breakfast cereals, biscuits, sweets, snacks and many more. It is estimated that reducing aflatoxin contamination would add USD 281 million each year to groundnut exports in Senegal alone.
Current impact of Aflasafe KE01 treats between 30,000 – 40,000 acres of land against a potential of over 750,000 acres. Aflasafe is a relatively unknown product for most farmers and stakeholders in maize, sorghum and groundnut value chains in Kenya. There is need to develop business models for scaling of Aflasafe, create sustainable demand in different value chains and implementation of the Aflasafe Strategy.