AFLATOXIN Country Assessment Report–Nigeria



The Country Assessment of Aflatoxin prevalence and Prevention in Nigeria was  released in 2013. The document, was submitted by Abt Associates, and prepared for the Meridian Institute in support of the partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA). Funding was from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (DFID) under contract number Contract #9678.2

The assessment was centred around the 3 pillars of PACA

Agriculture and Food safety



The key crops noted were –maize, ground nut, cotton seed, sorghum millet rice walnut, pistachio nuts, sesame, spices and brazil nuts. However only 2 –maize and groundnut received the focus of the research as they were confirmed to have high aflatoxin prevalence in them and the data revealed contamination in both crops at levels higher than the EU(4ppb) and the US(20ppb)


For both and groundnut 7 regions were covered . These are humid forest, derived savanna, Northern guinea savanna , southern guinea savanna, mid altitude and Sudan savanna. These are apart from the estimates for aflatoxins for these crops and derivatives across the country as one geographical expression. The commodities were observed as raw, boiled and roasted as well as cake and gruel , where appropriate. Prevalence was defined as samples with >20 ppb aflatoxin

In 2010/2011, for example, of the available 9,706 MT of maize, 78% was used for human consumption, 17% was used for feed and residual uses, and a small percentage was set aside for re-planting(USDA FAS, 2012). Groundnuts are also primarily destined for human consumption. A share of groundnuts is used for making oil but the residual groundnut cakes, kulikuli, are part of the Nigerian diet. Only a negligible fraction of total groundnut production is exported. Average agricultural households report selling 41% of their maize produce, retaining 10% for seed, 1% for feed, and the residual 46% is used for own consumption or storage (based on analysis of 2009/2010 LSMS-ISA data).

Agric and Food security

Use of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) –actions that reduce moisture content and reduce susceptibility to aflatoxin-causing fungus and biological control (AflasafeTM),. These can include precision drying of grains and nuts, and hermetic storage can significantly reduce the risk of aflatoxin exposure. The use of GAP is low in Nigeria.

Awareness among farmers and exporters Enhanced resources for extension and general systemic challenges and rural poverty hamper extension efforts as low stipends, will contribute to awareness and help in solving the problem

Trade—Risk o f contamination in markets Regulatory agencies like SON and Nafdac as NAQS concerned with Standards can b e encouraged to improve on enforcement . Where enforcement occurs , its only on commodities destined for export. Local consumers are also human beings deserving of wholesome consumption and enhanced health . capacity for mycotoxin testing and regular training of staff of NAQS and SON can be enhanced. The research team who visited Ondo, Kogi and Niger states found no evidence of any testing for aflatoxins in the domestic maize and groundnuts markets in Nigeria although there are better control of aflatoxins in the feed industries. More younger staff must be recruited specifically at SON being the custodian of the nations standards

Health==In Nigeria the lack of aflatoxin control in agriculture sector and the lack of enforcement of aflatoxin standards in the domestic market mean that aflatoxin-contaminated maize and groundnuts (and other products) can easily enter the consumption stream leading to the risk of adverse health impacts. The fact that a majority of the maize and groundnuts produced are consumed domestically further enhances the risk, particularly because consumers are not aware of the problem. Some dangerous lifestyle also contribute to the risk.For example some farmers (outside of Lagos) were reported believe that moldy maize may produce better ogi (maize-based porridge). Other behavioral risk factors include consumption of kulikuli produced in environments that may not boast of hygiene. However, the data on kulikuli samples purchased monthly (April to November) from four Ibadan markets sites found that in all but two of the samples, aflatoxin B concentrations were between 20 ppb and 455 ppb

Expand universal coverage of the HBV vaccine. Since there is co-morbidity between high aflatoxin levels in the body and hepatitis B, the HBV vaccine can serve as one of the most important public health interventions available for reducing the risk of cancer related to aflatoxin exposure. Reducing prevalence of HBV to zero in Nigeria could reduce liver cancer levels threefold.

Upgrade the food safety control and practices. Recently the Federal Govt of Nigeria set up 2 Committees on Food Safety . This commendable step should harness resources from all the many facets of food safety. Already meetings of this group are being held . The co

While groundnut contributed 15.6% of all household income in the North East, the South received 14.4% of all domestic incomes from maize both being the highest in all the geopolitical zones

A review of the EU alerts and border rejections suggests that between 2007 and 2012, 2 maize consignments and 13 consignments of groundnut and groundnut-related products were detained because of aflatoxin levels above EU regulations

Between 1961 and 2009 maize export increased at irregular intervals reaching its peak in 1995, 2007 and 2009, however export fraction of this rose in 2001 and has been declining since then

The Health Impact of Aflatoxin Contamination in Nigeria: HCC Cases, DALY and Monetized Health Impact revealed that the North Central and North East were flash points.

IITA’s investigation of farmers’ willingness and ability to pay for the product (estimated at approximately NGN 1,600/hectare treated) is also informing the Aflasafe commercialization plan being developed by Doreo Partners

Dele Fapohunda




Safer food through risk reduction of mycotoxins within the feed-dairy chain in Kenya

An important food safety problem is the toxic substances produced by moulds and fungi called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are formed in susceptible grains such as maize and sorghum if they are handled or stored in wrong conditions.

Mycotoxin contamination is a health risk for lifestock as well as for humans, and mycotoxins can be transferred to humans through milk and dairy products if the animals are fed with contaminated grain.

Mycotoxins can cause acute poisoning as well as cumulative ill-health including cancer. One of the most toxic mycotoxins (aflatoxin) affects almost one quarter of global food and feed output. Aflatoxin reduces productivity of the livestock that decreases farmers’ income.

Each year over 4.5 billion people are at risk of chronic exposure to mycotoxins. These people mainly live in developing countries where the exposure to mycotoxins is not sufficiently controlled. Sub-Saharan Africa is especially vulnerable to mycotoxins because of the climate conditions and climate change may further aggravate the situation.

Mycotoxin control for the staple crops

The fifth work package of the FoodAfrica Programme concentrates on reducing the risk for mycotoxin contamination in staple crops in Kenya. In order to achieve this goal cost-effective and incentive-based mycotoxin control strategies and solutions will be developed for the use of poor farmers and other actors within the feed-dairy chain.

The work package is composed of three principal tasks that are:

  • Integrated risk and economic assessment of the Kenyan feed dairy chain
  • Investigation of technologies and strategies to reduce mycotoxins risk in the feed-dairy chain
  • Impact assessment of a package of post-harvest strategies for reducing aflatoxins in maize

Evidence dissemination and capacity building are included in each task. The capacity of local researchers and thesis students is developed through participation in designing surveys, field work, and data analysis.

This work package also applies participatory methods to develop and test strategies for mitigation of mycotoxins in the feed-food chain. Farmer participatory research engages farmers in action research on their fields so they can learn adopt new technologies and spread the knowledge to other farmers.

Project has started with training and meetings

Delia Grace, the leader for the fifth work package, says that the project has got a good start. Development of a conceptual framework to bring together economic costs and health risks has started with a workshop at ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute).

Other important meetings have been the kick-off event of all FoodAfrica partners, and an introduction to research methods.

‒ Just last week we had a short introduction to research methods at ILRI where the two PhD students attended from the University of Nairobi.  It covered statistical software, reference management, research ethics, systematic literature reviews and gender, describes Grace.

Meet the experts

Delia Grace is veterinary epidemiologist and food safety specialist. She works at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) on developing and managing risk-based approaches to animal diseases, particularly zoo noses, in the developing countries.
Erastus Kang´ethe holds a BVM from the University of Nairobi, MSc in Meat Science from the University of Bristol, and PhD from the University of Nairobi. He has extensive experience in teaching, consultancy and research since 1980’s with a strong focus on food safety. He has published on meat and milk safety, agro-ecosystem health and mycotoxins in dairy feed


Two billion people suffer from hidden hunger

The number of people under malnutrition is estimated to be about 800 million. This number does not give the whole picture as the number of people under “hidden hunger” is estimated to be two billion. Eighteen out of the twenty countries suffering from this problem are in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The term hidden hunger means people suffering from chronic lack of micronutrients and it has usually no visible warning signs. Most commonly deficient nutrients are iron, iodine, zinc or vitamin A. They cause impaired development and even deaths to the poor, especially children and women in developing countries. The reason to these deficiencies is usually their low intake in the diet.Micronutrient Forum is a series of congresses dealing with micronutrient deficiencies. The latest one was in Addis Abeba Ethiopia in June this year. There were about 1000 experts from all continents; scientists, nutrition experts, decision makers, private sector etc. discussing the problem. Many countries are taking actions against hidden hunger as it has been recognized that it contributes to poverty and limits productivity and economic growth. The most common means of intervening micronutrient deficiency is addition of these elements to the diet, drinking water or directly to the humans.

FoodAfrica work package one dealing with soil micronutrients attended the Forum and is looking ways of networking with experts in human nutrition to be able to develop new methods of combating hidden hunger. We wish to share information on areas with low soil micronutrient content and work together to develop strategies and agronomic means for improving status of these elements in humans.

More informationProfessor Martti Esala, MTT Agrifood Research Finland,

News: Mycotoxins predicted to become more prevalent due to climate changes, will have greater impact on rumen function

Mycotoxins, often one of the most neglected considerations in ruminant diets, should be a major animal health and welfare concern in modern animal husbandry, according to one leading researcher and veterinarian. “Under the conditions of modern agricultural practice, mycotoxin contamination of feed materials cannot entirely be avoided,”…
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Kenyan farmers lose GM battle

Farmers Lose Court Battle to Block Lifting of GMO Ban
Source: Business Daily (20 Oct 2015)
Author: Maureen Kakah
A group of Kenyan farmers, the Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum, has suffered its second defeat after the High Court declined to issue orders halting plans to lift the ban on genetically modified (GM) foods. The judge, Joseph Onguo, said the group had not established a strong case to warrant the issuance of any orders. “Based on the evidence before me, I am not satisfied that the circumstances are so exceptional to demand court’s intervention given that there are various regulations in place touching on GMO foods,” he said. Kenya Deputy President William Ruto recently announced that the ban on importation of GMO foods would soon be lifted. The judge also said public interest would be better served if the Cabinet had the opportunity to discuss the issue and then make a decision. “For now, based on the safeguards in place through the Biosafety Act 2009 and the regulations thereunder, l am satisfied that threats alluded by the farmers may be addressed through such a framework rather than a court order,” he ruled. more

NASA says Earth will be plunged into darkness for 15 days in November? Well.

In case you haven’t heard, the world will be plunged into darkness for 15 days in November, all thanks to rare phenomenon caused by the movement of Venus and Jupiter.

But before you start worrying about what this once-in-a-million event will do to your light bill, just know this: it’s not true.

Many  have reported the Earth will experience 15 days of total darkness between Nov. 15-29. The world, the reports said, will stay dark from Nov. 15 at 3 a.m. (no word if this is Central, Standard or any other time) and will end Nov. 30, 4:45 p.m. The article, which contains official-looking maps, charts and other documents, said President Obama has received a 1,000 page document about the coming phenomenon from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

The reason for the blackout, the sites claim, is what’s described as “close parallelism” between Venus and Jupiter that will cause Venus to shine brighter with that light heating up Jupiter. This reaction will release hydrogen in to the atmosphere, causing a massive explosion on the sun. The sun will react to the outburst by attempting to cool itself down and will turn blue as a result.

Next thing you know, we will all be in the dark for two weeks.

The stories go on to say Bolden doesn’t think the Earth will experience any major issues during the blackout.

“This event will be similar to what Alaskans experience in the winter,” Bolden supposedly said. “The only other effect it will have it everyone will get to have a true Black Friday after Thanksgiving.”

There’s even a hashtag – #NovemberBlackOut – where people can discuss what they are going to do during the days of darkness.

The whole thing is bunk, of course.

The blackout rumors first surfaced in 2012 and were connected to interest in the Mayan calendar.

“Neither NASA nor any other scientific organization is predicting such a blackout,” he said. “The false reports on this issue claim that some sort of “alignment of the Universe” will cause a blackout. There is no such alignment.”

The rumor surfaced again earlier this year.

This time Snopes, the website that reports on the validity of rumors and urban legends, weighed in.

“No, the universe is not about to realign in June 2015, nor will there be a multi-day blackout at that time during which the Earth will shift into a new dimension. Neither NASA nor any other credible scientific entity has made such a pronouncement. Ever,” the website said.

Whew. Let the sunshine in.

EU research money should be spent on organic farming, says new study

EU research money should be spent on organic farming, says new study

BRUSSELS, 22 October 2015 – Increasing investment in research for organic farming will help to provide answers to many environmental and social issues of Europe’s farming systems, says a new study presented today in the European Parliament. The study, carried out by the Université Catholique de Louvain (BE) and the Organic Research Centre (UK), reveals a paradox between the potential of and actual investment in organic farming research. Scientific evidence shows that organic farming is better placed to address sustainability challenges than conventional farming. This is in clear contrast to the limited research money spent on organic farming, both at European and national levels.

“The organic food and farming sector is a frontrunner in the transition towards sustainable food systems”, comments Eduardo Cuoco, head of the TP Organics secretariat, “In 2014, TP Organics published a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda for Organic Food and Farming. The agenda shows that the organic sector has much to offer for the whole of agriculture, both in terms of designing more sustainable production systems, and for the design of resilient business models. The study presented today points out that the EU and Member States underinvest in research to deliver on this potential. The Horizon 2020 Work Programme adopted last week contained significantly more budget for organic farming than previous EU research programmes, but it is only a first step. A fair share of public money should be allocated to the development of the organic sector.”

“Organic farming is often criticized for having lower yields than conventional farming”, adds co-author of the study Susanne Padel from the Organic Research Centre and member of the TP Organics Steering Committee, “but given the huge discrepancies in research investment between organic and conventional farming, organic is performing amazingly well. Whilst the productivity of conventional farming systems is reaching a plateau despite intensive use of fossil energy and non-renewable inputs, the potential of the productivity of organic farming has still to be explored.”

Background information

The study “Research and organic farming” was carried out by researchers from the Université Catholique de Louvain (BE) and the Organic Research Centre (UK) and was commissioned by the Greens in the European Parliament. It was presented at the conference “Research for Transition” on 22 October 2015.

For more information please contact: Eduardo Cuoco, +39 328 417 8783,


It is clear that the PDP in Nigeria will give rise to a new party very soon as notable members are now strategizing on the way forward for the party following its relocation from the government to the opposition. One of the options being considered is the floating of a new political party that will group together politicians from the PDP and other groups  and  ‘friends’ from the APC . Last week, some northern elements in the party met in the house of a former governor from the North to finalise former move. A former South south senator has been empowered to further reach out to the south west in order to woo  undecided politicians. Also a former  governor in the North west is talking to his colleagues from the zone to close ranks and field a strong candidate in 2019 elections.

The next meeting will hold next month in a North east capital city

Short articles invited

Can you write an article on food and feed safety ?. Send a short one to


An international symposium on Minimizing Mycotoxins in Food and Feeds was held at the Raw Materials Research and Development from September 8 -12 2015. Participants were drawn from many countries in Africa and Europe.



dele fapohunda