• Makueni, Machakos, Kitui, Tharaka-Nithi, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Kwale and Kajiado Counties are hotspots of aflatoxin.
• Boga sayd farmers can buy an aflatoxin control product – Aflasafe – at Sh201 for a one-kilo packet.
Expect high cases of aflatoxin contamination when the rains subside, an expert has said.
Dr Eliud Kireger, the director general of the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, on Tuesday said Makueni, Machakos, Kitui, Tharaka Nithi, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Kwale and Kajiado counties are hotspots of aflatoxin, and with the rains, the challenges will be higher.
But Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga said farmers can buy an aflatoxin control product – Aflasafe – at Sh201 for a one-kilo packet.
He said the product will be available during the March-April-May planting season. It is applied three weeks before flowering.
Boga said Aflasafe is a natural product that fights aflatoxin in maize, groundnuts, and other food crops.
“Farmers have been grappling with the high presence of aflatoxin in maize. After intensive research work of more than 15 years a new solution –Aflasafe was developed and our hope going forward is that the country will benefit from safe food,” he said.
In a speech read by Dr Oscar Magenya, director of research and innovation in the Ministry of Agriculture, Boga said this will go a long way in improving maize production because a big percentage is condemned due to aflatoxin contamination.
He spoke while announcing the commencement of the commercialisation and distribution of Aflasafe in a Nairobi hotel.
“With a national production of 40 million bags and a consumption of 52 million bags, the country perpetually experiences a maize deficit. The government aims to increase Kenya's maize production from the current 40 million to 67 million bags by 2022,” the PS said.
Kireger said farmers will be trained to know how to use the new anti-aflatoxin technology and embrace it in their farming activities.
“The cost at the factory is Sh135 per kilogram but farmers will be getting is at Sh201 at an agrovet near them. Transporting the product will cost some money and there will be some reasonable mark-up to be able to avail the product there,” he said.
Charles Macharia, Koppert Biological Systems general manager said,“We are aware of the counterfeit challenge in the country, especially if and when the product becomes popular and the volumes increase. We have lined up some mechanisms to protect the farmers from that, and we are working on traceability from the factory all the way to the retail by using the available technology like the scratch and SMS type which is already in process.”