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Meridian Institute

AflaSTOP: Storage and Drying for Aflatoxin Prevention

External Project Site: www.merid.org/aflaSTOP
Related: Agriculture and Food Systems

Meridian Institute is partnering with ACDI/VOCA and Agribusiness Systems International to support the testing and commercialization of low-cost, innovative storage and drying technology to reduce aflatoxin contamination and other post-harvest losses in Africa.

Storage and Drying for Aflatoxin Prevention (AflaSTOP) will support objectives of the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA; www.aflatoxinpartnership.org), which is establishing a comprehensive, Africa-wide approach to aflatoxin control. Meridian is supporting the creation of PACA and will provide oversight of the AflaSTOP project. AflaSTOP will test innovative drying and storage technologies, leverage partners to commercialize these technologies, and scale storage technologies that will reduce aflatoxin and post-harvest losses at the smallholder farmer level across the African continent.

Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring, but highly toxic substance caused by fungi. The toxin is linked to liver disease and cancer and is associated with immune-system suppression, growth retardation, and death in both humans and domestic animals. Aflatoxin occurs across Africa and affects many staple foods, including maize and maize flour, peanuts and their products, cassava, meat, eggs and milk (from infected livestock and their products), and feeds (containing infected grains or grass or manufactured animal feeds).

Better post-harvest handling and management practices are critical to controlling aflatoxin contamination and limiting exposure and will also enable smallholders to capture more value for harvested crops. The objective of AflaSTOP is to identify the most promising low-cost drying and storage options that will impede the growth of aflatoxin and ensure that these drying and storage options are accessible to smallholder farmers through African businesses.  Through its research and testing, AflaSTOP aims to achieve better access to safe, high-quality, nutritious grain for producers and consumers in Kenya and throughout the African continent.

AflaSTOP is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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