UGANDA – Pela Commodities, a Ugandan processes and trader of agricultural grain products, is currently finalizing the installation of the country’s first Aflatoxin removal machine, Toxi Scrub.
The machine which arrived in the country recently, was designed and supplied by Perry Engineering with the reactors and generators supplied by iGrain.
According to reports by Business Focus, the machine will remove aflatoxins from high levels to 10ppb or less.
The Toxi Scrub has different treatment programs and can be adjusted to make the necessary treatment to bring the contamination well below allowed levels.
In addition, the line can be tailored to any product in the Agro, Feed, Cereal supply chain including all types of grain, nuts, beans and cakes from the oilseed industry.
The machine can also eliminate not only mycotoxins, but other biologic activity as well eg. bacteria, mites and insects.
Aflatoxin contamination is largely associated with commodities produced in the tropics and subtropics, such as cotton, peanuts, spices, pistachios, and maize.
Maize is Uganda’s most important cereal crop, which is grown on both small and large scales and traded locally and globally by farmers.
Because it provides opportunities for Ugandans across the value chain, the grain sub-sector is recognized as one of the most essential sectors for Uganda’s socio-economic transformation.
However, the country has lost over US$38 million as a result of its inability to sell maize owing to aflatoxins.
“Uganda’s grain handlers have had a long-standing aflatoxin problem, but this is a step in the right direction to help enhance our yields and output.
“It will turn harmful maize or grain that cannot be exported or sold to reputable processors into a high-value product.
“We have already trained our team members on aflatoxin testing and they’re ready to start operating the machine,” said PELA Commodities General Manager, Isaiah Langa.
The mycotoxin contamination is not only a menace in Uganda but the region at large, posing serious health threat to both human beings and animals.
According to Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA), Africa loses an estimated US$670 million in rejected export trade annually due to contamination by the poisonous chemical.
In a bid to curb the menace, industry players such as the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) have signed an agreement to work together to tackle aflatoxin contamination of grains in the region.
The MoU leverages each organization’s comparative advantage to promote mutually beneficial cooperation in the areas of advocacy, research, capacity development, and awareness creation.
In addition, the partnership will promote best practices and use of proven technologies to ensure the grains produced are safe for human and livestock consumption and meet export standards.
One of the technologies to be utilized under the initiative is promoting the use of Aflasafe, an innovative, safe and natural product that drastically reduces aflatoxin contamination in maize and groundnuts as part of an integrated aflatoxin management strategy.