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"Aflatoxins can be produced anytime and anywhere along the food and feed value chains. The presence of aflatoxins in food and feed have adversely affected the health of the population and the ability of the continent to trade with the rest of the world," Professor Sheila Okoth, University of Nairobi

Image: courtesy

Aflatoxins are highly poisonous compounds produced by the Aspergillus fungus, which occur in soil. Several of the food crops grown in Africa, such as cassava, chili, groundnuts, maize, rice, sorghum, teff, and major cash crops such as coffee, cocoa, tea and sugarcane have been found to be contaminated with these dangerous toxins. They have also been found in processed foods such as peanut butter and foods from animal sources like egg and milk.

Aflatoxins cause cancers in humans and animals. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, aflatoxin B1 is the most potent natural carcinogen so far known. About 26,000 Africans living south of the Sahara die of liver cancer every year through chronic aflatoxin exposure.

Because of their potency and the wide range of commodities they affect, aflatoxins pose serious risks to human health, agricultural production and trade.

On 21 November 2016,the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation ACP-EU (CTA) and the African Union Commission's Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA)  launched a working paper entitled Improving the Evidence Base on Aflatoxin Contamination and Exposure in Africa: Strengthening the Agriculture-Nutrition Nexus.



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(No. 4 from left) Hon. Willy Bett, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Blue Economy leads team to discuss establishment of a Fisheries Law Crime Enforcement (FishForce) Academy

The University of Nairobi (UoN) is set to enter into a collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) that will see the UoN implement Short Learning Programmes aimed at combating fisheries crimes in the region.

The collaboration comes in the wake of a high level stakeholders meeting held in Mombasa on November 23 – 24 2016 to discuss establishment of a Fisheries Crime Law Enforcement Academy in Kenya, which will provide capacity building for fisheries law enforcement officers.  

In the University of Nairobi Vice-Chancellor’s speech read on his behalf by Prof. Lucy Irungu, Deputy Vice-Chancellor in-charge of Research Production and Extension, pointed out the need for Kenya and other coastal states to conserve Blue Economy Resources for future generations. In part, the speech alluded that Kenya annually loses a whooping estimated Ksh.10 billion through illegal unreported and unregulated fishing. (Read full speech here)



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Transforming HIV patient care in Sub Saharan Africa

Transforming HIV patient care in Sub Saharan Africa to support the 90-90-90 goals under the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

This supports policy, education and clinical practice efforts to improve the delivery of HIV services at priority, high volume sites across 18 sub-Saharan African countries. One grant worth up to USD 2.4 million per year for up to five years is available.   



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The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa invites applications for its democratic governance institute grants. These allow PhD students and early-career researchers to attend the next democratic governance institute on the topic of the African state and public cyber-security service, to be held from 31 October to 11 November 2016 in Dakar, Senegal.

The overall objective of the session is to anticipate on the construction of an African vision of public cyber-security service with a view to strengthening state integrity and sovereignty in Africa.



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