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Project Overview:

Mycotoxins are by-products of mould deterioration of foods and feeds. They are produced by moulds in commodities stored at high moisture content and warm temperatures. They may also be produced before harvest. Mycotoxins may be passed through the food chain thereby contaminating food commodities that are not moulded, for example, aflatoxin M1 in milk and dairy products. Mycotoxins cause acute and chronic effects in both animals and humans.  Acute effects include rapid, often fatal diseases while the chronic effects include weight loss, immunosuppression, cancer, nervous system disorders, reproductive irregularities and kidney failure reduced productivity. Outbreaks of aflatoxin poisoning has occurred in Kenya in 1981, 2001, 2004, 2005, and 2006 in various districts of Eastern and Central provinces. The mycotoxin poisoning resulted in loss of farmers’ grain through contamination, loss of lives, diversion of relief food from other programmes, fear of consuming grain from affected areas, increased cost of putting up intervention measures and increased political tension. All these have aggravated the food insecurity and poverty situation in already fragile ecosystems. However, response to mycotoxin poisoning has been uncoordinated and often done when an outbreak has already occurred. In addition, there has been lack of linkage among institutions involved in mycotoxin management. Therefore, there is an urgent need to initiate a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approach to the mycotoxin problem. The proposed project will be carried out over a three year period in ASAL districts of Machakos, Kitui and Makueni and high potential districts of Uasin Gishu and Transzoia.


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