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University of Nairobi and Meru County Develop a Roadmap to Manage Aflatoxin Risk

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Meru County, UoN and other stakeholders during a two day high level strategy and writing workshop at UoN towers, January 25-26, 2019

In a two-day high level strategy workshop that was held at the University of Nairobi towers, Meru County Government, University of Nairobi and other stakeholders engaged in a rigorous writing session; a bill that would legislate the management of aflatoxin in their food.

The workshop was as a result of a collaborative project led by Prof. Sheila Okoth, Associate Professor of Botany (Mycology), University of Nairobi and Prof. Tim Herrman, Texas A&M University, USA who serves as the State Chemist and Director of the Office of the Texas State Chemist.

“Our people are facing easy deaths,” remarked Paul Bagine, an MCA from Meru County. “I am glad and grateful that this project has taken place and that the people of Meru County are not going to die anymore from the poison in their food. “

On Behalf of the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research Production and Extension, Prof. Madara Ogot, Prof. Francis Mulaa, Director, Intellectual Property Management Office, gave a brief background of the project, “The University of Nairobi in collaboration with Texas A&M University has been doing some research work since 2016 in Meru. The county officials heard of the project from a partner from Cereal Growers Association. The county wants to hear about the findings of research we have carried out so far (Aflatoxin status) and to use these findings to apply to aflatoxin management bill.”  

He said that the Meru county government is interested in adapting a drafted legislation that the UoN & Texas A &M University team  facilitated all relevant stakeholders including public, private sector representatives, National Government bodies, consumers, producers and processors to draft.

On her part, Prof. Agnes Wausi, Director, School of Computing Informatics expressed her awareness of aflatoxin in Makueni and Machakos areas where she comes from. She said that she is glad that the University is making impact in the community through its core mandate of research and extension. She was speaking on behalf of the principal, College of Biological and Physical Sciences.

Also Present was Dr. George Obiero, Director, Centre for Biotechnology and Bioinformatics (CEBIB), who appreciated the collaboration between UoN and Texas A&M in ensuring that the project has contributed in ensuring food safety and security, which is one of the Big 4 Agenda.  

The current draft bill developed for Aflatoxin risk management in Kenya was worked on after 3 high level breakfast meetings held in Nairobi in 2017. In attendance was private sector (Cereal Millers Association, Cereal Growers Association, Feed Millers Association), public sector including Ministries of Agriculture, Health and Trade as well as agencies including AFA, KEBS, KALRO, KEPHIS, among others who are part of the National Food Safety coordinating committee.The last meeting held at Maanzoni was where the draft bill on Aflatoxin management was prepared

The Workshop was held on Thursday January 24- Friday 25, 2019.     

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