Stakeholder Engagement, Collaborative Research and Capacity StrengtheningDOWNLOAD FILE
August 23, 2019 - Author: Oluwatoyin Adebowale
Highlights 51, Oluwatoyin Adebowale, August 2019.
A research dissemination and brainstorming session on addressing the challenges of aflatoxin contamination along the maize value chain took place at the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Abuja on July 17, 2019. It was jointly organized by the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project (NAPP) and NAFDAC.
Dr. Abimbola Adegboye, Deputy Director/Technical Assistant to the Director General (DG), Office of the DG, NAFDAC, facilitated the session. The Director General of NAFDAC, Professor Moji Christianah Adeyeye, represented by Pharmacist Fori Tatama, gave welcome remarks and goodwill messages. Others in attendance were: Director Planning Research & Statistics, NAFDAC; representative of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, The Federal Ministry of Health and the NAPP Principal Investigator, Professor Saweda LiverpoolTasie of Michigan State University (MSU).
The one-day program was attended by 34 participants (17 males and 17 females) from government, the private sector, producer groups, civil society, research organizations and academia.
The program included a technical session where presentations were given by representatives of the two organizing agencies. There were three speakers from NAPP. Professor Liverpool-Tasie made a presentation on “Market based incentives to address aflatoxin contamination in maize”, while Prof Adewale Obadina from Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) spoke on “The occurrence of aflatoxin and fumonisin along the maize value chain”. Mrs. Oluwatoyin Adebowale, a food science graduate and NAPP Scholar from FUNAAB, did her presentation on “Effect of Lactic acid fermentation on mycotoxin reduction of maize based products in southwest Nigeria”.
This was followed by presentations from NAFDAC staff. Mrs. Ngozi Okeke, Chief Regulatory Officer, Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Directorate, Lagos presented on “Strategies and challenges associated with aflatoxin regulation enforcement in Nigeria”. Mrs. Grace Toyin Adebiyi, Chief Laboratory Technologist/Head, Mycotoxin Laboratory focused on “Mycotoxins Data in Nigeria: Prospect and Challenges”.
After comments, questions and answers at the end of the technical session, the participants were divided into three groups to reflect on the presentations, to explore their personal experiences with issues of aflatoxin in feed and food products and to further discuss two questions listed below.
- What can be done to increase the availability of up-to-date data on the incidence of mycotoxin contamination in Nigeria?
- What are the next steps to build on what we do know and the current situation with enforcement to address this challenge of aflatoxin contamination in maize based products in Nigeria?
After these discussions, representatives from each group presented a summary of their group findings. Participants’ email addresses were collected for the dissemination of outputs from the event and for future research collaboration. The event created awareness on the presence of aflatoxins and other mycotoxins in foods and feeds and health implications for humans and farm animals. It also provided solutions by presenting options to reduce mycotoxins in foods and feeds.
This activity demonstrates how, through collaborative research, the policy project strengthens capacity all the way to stakeholder engagement. For me as a NAPP scholar, being a part of the aflatoxin teamwork has been a great privilege. It has exposed me to lots of learning avenues. I have worked with renowned professors and they have impacted greatly on my research interests. This work has exposed me to best practices in fieldwork coordination and, as a result of our research findings, we have been able to produce technical papers to my credit as a young academic and scholar. I would say that the task was quite challenging at first, with my lack of fieldwork experience. Meeting different respondents on the field was challenging, as some were not responsive at first but with engagement and persuasion, they became responsive afterwards. Therefore, this experience has taught me how to relate and interact with different stakeholders on the field and at events like this.