Aflasafe is a safe natural solution to the problem of aflatoxin, homegrown in Africa with help from partners in the USA and Europe. It works from the plot to your plate to stop contamination from reaching dangerous levels and keep foods like maize and groundnuts safe to eat.
Aflasafe tackles toxic tragedy using harmless types of Aspergillus flavus. Surprisingly, this is the same kind of fungus that produces aflatoxin, but in this case they are kindlier cousins that do not and cannot ever produce the toxin. Each country has its own version of Aflasafe using a mixture of four fungal strains, all found growing naturally in local soils. The friendly fungi are coated onto ordinary sorghum grain, which acts as a kind of vehicle to help them get established and can easily be broadcast onto fields.
It seems strange for the same fungus to be both poison and cure, but it is a bit like sending a thief to catch a thief: only Aspergillus can stop Aspergillus.
Farmers apply Aflasafe to their plants early on, and the friendly fungi occupy the growing food before the dangerous ones can get a toehold. Aflasafe might look like a poacher but it is really a gamekeeper, staking out its territory undercover and making life difficult for the bad guys.
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Aflasafe has many benefits
- It is highly effective, cutting aflatoxin in food drastically and making it safe to eat.
- It is a completely safe and environmentally friendly product, sourced from nature.
- Aflasafe stays with food, protecting it all the way through storage and onto your plate.
- It only needs to be applied by farmers once each growing season, and is cheap and cost-effective.
- Aflasafe is a made-in-African initiative; production is on African soil using inputs sourced in Africa.
Building on success
The biocontrol approach to aflatoxin, using natural competitors to tackle the toxin-makers rather than chemicals, was first developed in the USA, where it has been used safely and effectively on over a million acres of farmland for more than a decade. Aflasafe followed the same basic principle, adapted for Africa using local fungi tested extensively on the ground. The African products are also more sophisticated, as they use four different strains instead of only one – giving us four good guys with different strengths to fight together.
Aflasafe prevents dangerous levels of aflatoxin contamination, ensuring that food is healthy to eat and meets public safety standards. As well as making food safer for Africans, it will allow African harvests to be sold on high-value international markets and improve production for livestock and poultry farmers.
Aflasafe is one powerful solution, and it works best in combination with other good practices such as proper drying and storage. However, it is also a major help even under poor conditions such as damp storage.
For an introduction to Aflasafe and aflatoxin that answers your key questions, try our Q&As, currently available in English and French: