Aflasafe is a uniquely powerful tool against aflatoxin, and we want to get it into the hands of as many farmers as possible. We aim to scale up production of Aflasafe, transfer the technology to companies and organisations in each country, and commercialise it in such a way that Aflasafe manufacture and supply systems are economically viable, sustainable, and independent for many years to come. By licensing a mixture of manufacturing, distribution and marketing roles to local partners we also leverage their expertise and networks to reach millions of farmers.
The exact approach to commercialisation is being planned and varied on a country-by-country basis, depending on a wide range of market, policy, and public health factors. Many of our partnerships are with private companies but we are also working with cooperatives, government, and the non-profit sector.
Aflasafe is already available in five countries (Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal), with nine more in the pipeline across Africa. By 2020 we will have enabled the treatment of at least 500,000 hectares with Aflasafe, producing over a million tons of aflatoxin-safe maize and groundnut.
To find out more about the status and availability of Aflasafe in your country, visit Aflasafe where I am.
A stepwise process
The status of the development and commercialisation process in each country largely depends on when funder investment began. This staggering means that we can apply lessons from the earliest countries to subsequent ones and are never too overstretched to support each country fully at each stage.
Commercialisation follows over a decade of painstaking research and development, identifying friendly fungal strains that are highly effective at cutting aflatoxin levels and testing them in farmers’ fields. This testing helps us create the best version of Aflasafe for each country, but also provides efficacy data that are required as part of the registration process, needed to allow the product to be sold.
We are now ensuring successful technology transfer by:
- Pursuing registration with national authorities and supporting them through the process – particularly important since as a living rather than chemical product Aflasafe is unusual and outside the normal experience of many authorities.
- Creating detailed country strategies, based on specific local conditions and the expertise of our team.
- Developing manufacturing, distribution, and marketing partnerships with the right companies and organisations on the ground. This involves some highly practical activities, such as supporting the construction and running of new production plants.
- Drawing up legal technology transfer agreements with our partners.
- Providing ongoing technical support and quality assurance.
Aflasafe is cost-effective, offering an excellent return on investment for farmers and farm-based businesses. More than 450 tons of Aflasafe were sold in 2014−2016, while demand for 2017 alone was over 1,000 tons.
Currently the strongest drivers for Aflasafe adoption are premium markets (such as for exports, animal feed, and top-end domestic markets) and public health campaigns, particularly in Kenya. In the future, as more safe grain becomes available, we hope that regulatory enforcement and generalised consumer demand will help drive the routine use of Aflasafe across the continent.
The ATTC initiative
Research and development of Aflasafe has been carried out under many different projects. Our current technology transfer and commercialisation activities are being managed through the ATTC initiative.