Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), along with USAID Mission Director Joakim Parker, have launched a nationwide campaign to combat aflatoxins that contaminate improperly handled grain, causing severe health complications, including liver cancer and stunting.
The campaign, supported through USAID’s Feed the Future programme, aims to provide advice and informational materials for farmers, processors, traders and consumers to improve post-harvest handling methods and food quality.
“The partnership between our governments and peoples has a long history,” said Mission Director Parker. “Our work in the cereal and grains value chains alerted us to the severity of the problem, and we eagerly supported the development of communication materials for aflatoxin awareness and control to mitigate further contamination.”
Poor handling of produce
Nearly half of Uganda’s agricultural exports are found to be contaminated with aflatoxin, reducing export earnings and causing sickness in people who consume these products. Aflatoxins are particularly dangerous for small children in the first 1,000 days of life. Poor handling and storage is a major cause for aflatoxin contamination.
To combat this, USAID collaborated with MAAIF and other key stakeholders in the grains sub-sector to develop easy-to-understand information and education materials to enhance farmers’ methods of post-harvest handling and storage.
The launch is part of the United States’ effort in partnership with Uganda to increase agricultural productivity, strengthen Uganda’s economic competitiveness, and improve household nutrition.
USAID’s Feed the Future Uganda Enabling Environment for Agriculture Activity program assists policymakers to improve the policy, legal and regulatory frameworks that affect agricultural production, processing and trade.