By Valentine Oforo, Dodoma
THE Government of Tanzania has said it plans to construct a modern factory for the production of aflasafe in Dodoma region, being in concerted efforts to minimize effects of aflatoxins from across the country.
The useful strategy was unveiled by the Dodoma Regional Commissioner (RC) Rosemary Senyamule when itemizing a chain of strategies inline to be implemented by the government to increase performance of the agriculture sectors (crop production sector) within the region, and the country at large.
Aflasafe is a biological control product (toxigenic fungus) that can be applied to maize or groundnut fields to reduce aflatoxin contamination.
In her public briefing, RC Senyamule said the sixth phase government was very determined to heighten the agricultural production chain in Dodoma region, the semi-arid climatic region which has for years seen lackluster production in the vital economic sector.
“Installation of the factory for the production of aflasafe will play a major role to help counter effects of aflatoxins to agricultural produce within our region, especially maize and groundnuts, apart from in other parts of the country,” she observed.
Tanzania is a leading producer of maize and groundnuts in East African regions, accounting for two per cent of the world production, but the county’s export rate of the two crops remain poor due to effects of aflatoxins.
The crops are highly susceptible to fungal infestation and aflatoxin contamination which affects the health of consumers.
Moreover, in more efforts to act against effects of aflatoxins to crops, the Tanzania Initiatives for Preventing Aflatoxin Contamination (TANIPAC) is constructing the Central Agricultural Reference Laboratory in Dodoma.
The 12bn/- worth lab, to be constructed in the Ihumwa area at the fringe of the Dodoma Capital City will comprise 12 different laboratories.
The major laboratories will be majoring for professional undertaking of soil testing, analysis of varied agricultural inputs, pesticides, crop’s diseases, DNA profiling, seed quality, molecular, mycotoxin and many other agro- production processes and stages with an eye to curb any possibility of contamination of aflatoxins in the country’s agricultural production.
To fight against fungal infestation and aflatoxin contamination, the Ministry of Agriculture has so far penned down three deals and two Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with different companies for the execution of the Tanzania Initiative for Preventing Aflatoxin Contamination (TANIPAC) project, worth US Dollars 35.3 million (about 81bn/-).