By Stanley Onyekwere
The FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has expressed the commitment of the FCT Administration to initiate legislation that will curb the spread of Aflatoxin in agricultural produce.
Recall that Aflatoxins are highly toxic metabolites that affect the safety of food and feed in tropical and subtropical regions of the world including Nigeria.
Aliyu gave the commitment when a delegation of Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) led by the Country Officer, Mrs. Stella Denloye, paid her a courtesy visit.
The minister, who was represented by her Private Principal Secretary, Dr. Ibrahim Abubakar, stressed the need to promote new research, wide spread of existing technologies for Aflatoxin mitigation and control along value chain.
Aliyu observed that there was need to enforce standards and regulations in both formal and informal food commodity markets, just as she called for promotion of routine monitoring and evaluation for the control of Aflatoxin along value chain.
“Your advocacy is not for nothing because it is humanitarian in nature. There is need from our end to start doing something by initiating law that will curb the spread of Aflatoxin in the agricultural value chains,” Aliyu affirmed.
Earlier in her presentation, the Country Officer of PACA, Mrs. Stella Denloye, revealed that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimated that 25 percent of the food produced worldwide is contaminated with Aflatoxin.
Denloye noted that due to the increasing recognition of the impact of Aflatoxins on human health, food regulation authorities have set and enforced limits for Aflatoxins in traded food.
She further revealed that samples of maize taken in Nigeria in 2006 contained Aflatoxin level ranging from 1 to 260ppb with a mean concentration of 26.9ppb, stressing that the biggest and best known health effect of Aflatoxin is liver cancer.
The country officer therefore solicits for the support of the FCT Administration to ensure that the National Assembly come up with a legislation that will curb the spread of Aflatoxin in the country.