The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), and agriculture stakeholders will tackle food safety and aflatoxins management in Nigeria.
The Head of IITA in Abuja, Prof. Lateef Sanni, said this at the Food Convergence Innovation (FCI), Stakeholders Convention in Nigeria, in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Sanni said that there was need to converge for sustainable management at farm level, across agricultural supply chains, and the society at large.
He explained that aflatoxins were hazardous food that affected food and feed during crop and livestock production, transportation, storage, processing, and all food handling processes leading to consumption.
“Dietary consumption of aflatoxins is harmful for human and animal health, causing liver toxicities, hepatocellular carcinoma, reduced immunity in humans and animals, reduced animal productivity and growth retardation in children,” he said.
He noted that according to FAO, there is no food security without food safety, consequently, aflatoxin management is critical for food security and requires attention.
Sanni said the aim was to develop strategies and a document for aflatoxin management in national policies, and also develop a roadmap for a 10-year strategic advocacy platform for addressing aflatoxin risks in food crops.
Prof. Chibundu Ezekiel, a participant from FAO, said that aflatoxin contamination was a privacy food safety challenge ravaging many tropical countries, including Nigeria, because of poor food production practices.
According to Ezekiel, the impact of aflatoxins negatively cuts across several sectors in agriculture, health, education, sciences among others.
He therefore, called for urgent innovative, smart interventions and interventions that would integrate all partners in the convention.
Tavershima Torhemen, the Commercialisation Project Manager (GAIN) said the realisation of food security in Nigeria was feasible as the country moved towards reforming food systems in line with the Millennium Development Goals and the action plan of the UN Food System Summit.
Torhemen said GAIN was working with HarvestPlus, an NGO, to accelerate progress in improving access to bio fortified seeds and food through the commercialisation of Biofortified Crops programme.
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