“Italian Technology & Research and Kenya join forces against Aflatoxins: a new chapter in food safety and international trade”

A boost to cereal trade in the Horn of Africa with the inauguration of the first Italian plants for aflatoxin decontamination

The Kenyan Government has inaugurated aflatoxin decontamination plants in Bungoma and Nairobi, Kenya, built by an Italian company Airmec srl of Avellino in joint venture with Aflazero ltd, represented by the CEO Mr. Fabrizio Cardillo, a Kenyan company specialized in the management of food chains agricultural value to ensure “food security” but above all “food safety” in Africa. These plants, the first of their kind in commercial use in the world, aim to improve food safety by reducing aflatoxin contamination in cereals, highly toxic substances recognized by the WHO. The ability to remove up to 98% of aflatoxins from cereals is crucial for the region, where maize is essential for feeding around 300 million people. This initiative, albeit as a test of feasibility with Italian technology and research, will favor the safe trade of cereals in Kenya and East Africa, benefiting farmers, traders and consumers. The project is part of a broader program of interventions for food security & safety in the Horn of Africa first and then in the rest of Africa.

At the handover ceremony in Bungoma, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) Executive Director Marcia Colquhoun highlighted the facility’s role in facilitating trade in essential grains and supporting food security, saying: “The facilities are expected to aflatoxin decontamination facilitate trade in cereals such as maize, sorghum, rice, oilseeds, spices and groundnuts, thus supporting the overall food security and trade facilitation objectives in this region, particularly for small traders and women trading across borders .”
Ms Colquhoun was joined by the CEO of Trade Mark Africa (TMA, Mr David Beer; the Deputy Principal Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Kipronoh Ronoh Paul; the Bungoma County Governor, Ken Lusaka, and the Country Director of TMA-Kenya, Mr Ahmed Farah, among others.
Mr. Beer expressed optimism about the expanded business opportunities and improved food security the plant will bring. “This plant could represent a game changer. It is now possible to reduce aflatoxin contamination in cereals after harvest, thus reducing the amount that will be rejected at the border. This will benefit both small farmers and traders on the one hand, and consumers as well schools, aid agencies and businesses on the other. This is part of the commitment to reduce trade barriers at the borders.”
For his part, VM Dr. Ronoh, said: “If we want to address food security and food security issues not only in Kenya but across East Africa, it is undeniable that partnerships like the one we are witnessing today, are of utmost necessity in providing modern solutions such as aflatoxin decontamination systems for cereals.”