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A second first for Senegal – firsthand! The big difference a little dry inoculum makes to Aflasafe production, to better fight aflatoxin
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A second first for Senegal – firsthand! The big difference a little dry inoculum makes to Aflasafe production, to better fight aflatoxin

November 27, 2019

At our recent Aflasafe for Africa Conference, fighting aflatoxin in food, we sat down with Mr Goulé Guéyé, Managing Director at BAMTAARE, our trailblazing manufacturing and distribution partner for Senegal and The Gambia. BAMTAARE brings us yet another first, following their construction of Africa’s, and the world’s, first-ever fully operational private-sector Aflasafe factory. BAMTAARE are now also the first company to use dry inoculum to make Aflasafe – a brand-new support from our stellar R&D team who never rest on their laurels. Dry inoculum enables us to send Aflasafe’s active ingredients to our partners in potent powder form, to make manufacturing much easier.

Pioneering as ever! At the ‘1st Aflasafe for Africa Conference, fighting aflatoxin in food’, Goulé Guéyé, Managing Director at BAMTAARE, opened our first session, on ‘Scaling up Aflasafe – The journey of manufacturing and distribution licensees’, sharing the company’s journey so far to fully operational Aflasafe SN01 production for Senegal and The Gambia.

But enough from us! Now hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, as Goulé tells us about BAMTAARE’s experience with this latest of innovations…

Our experience of using the dry inoculum has been a very good one so far. We used the dry inoculum sent by courier from IITA headquarters without any hitches at all, and the final product is good, and of sound quality.

“We used the dry inoculum without any hitches at all, and the final product is of sound quality”

The four kilos sent were sufficient to produce more than 200 tonnes of Aflasafe for the 2019 growing season. We got the first batch in June, and then another in November. But as dry inoculum did not exist at the time we designed our factory, we have already invested in an inoculum lab to produce our own inoculum at Kaolack. However, our staff would first need to be trained by IITA on inoculum production, meaning a further investment.

“My advice to future manufacturers: go directly for the dry inoculum and don’t invest in an inoculum lab”

My advice to future manufacturers: go directly for the dry inoculum and don’t invest in an inoculum lab. To receive dry inoculum from the IITA mother factory in Ibadan, Nigeria, all you need is an import permit for biological material.

I can also attest to just how stable the dry inoculum is from practical experience, though I would not advise other manufacturers to follow our inadvertent mistake! When we received the dry inoculum, our people along the delivery chain did not realise that this was living biological material. And so, without any cold storage upon taking delivery or during the long four-hour road trip, the inoculum was dispatched to Tambacounda – where temperatures soar to up to 40 degrees Celsius – and stored there at room temperature for a week! And yet, it still worked very well and the quality of the Aflasafe produced from it was intact despite the harsh temperatures.

“I can also attest to just how stable the dry inoculum is from practical experience”

But even as we’re now ardent believers in the dry inoculum, we also like to hedge our bets and cover all bases. And so, we’ll still be sending our staff to the mother factory at Ibadan for training on inoculum production, especially as we already have a lab in place. This will also enable us to practically compare dry inoculum from IITA and that produced in our lab at Kaolack, while also giving us the full flexibility of having either choice available.

BAMTAARE staff at work in the laboratory attached to the Aflasafe SN01 factory at Kaolack, Senegal.

There you have it from our pioneers! Aflasafe production without a hitch, even in suboptimal circumstances – and a resounding recommendation to other Aflasafe manufacturers to embrace the new dry inoculum. We look forward to continuing to support BAMTAARE on their bold journey exploring new frontiers where no one else has gone before, and we look forward too to supporting more of our manufacturing partners to reach full Aflasafe production as efficiently as possible.

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