Apr 14, 2010, 1:03 PM
head of the Agriculture Division at the ECOWAS Commission, Ernest Aubee, has
said more effort is needed to combat the challenges posed by Aflatoxin in food
security, nutrition, health and trade.
He said to overcome this menace requires inter-sectorial collaboration from various sectorsto address its problem in the ECOWAS member states.
Mr Aubee made this statement while delivering his speech at the recently concluded business meeting on Aflatoxin mitigation, organized by Aflatoxin Control in Africa in collaboration with theFood Safety and Quality Authority of The Gambia, held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
He said the burden should not only be left toagriculturalists in addressing this menace, but needs different actors, including policy-makers, the communication experts, NGOs, and civil society organisations to work together to address the challenges of Aflatoxin in The Gambia and the ECOWAS region.
He described the meeting as very timely and relevant, as it clearly defined the road map and financial requirements of The Gambia, as far as aflatoxin mitigation and control is concerned.
“In this regard, the ECOWAS Commission is very happy to note that The Gambia is one of the PACA pilot countries in the ECOWAS region, with Senegal and Nigeria.”
The Gambia programmes have registered commendable results, which would be used in the scaling up of Aflatoxin interventionsin various parts of the African continent, he continued.
Mr Aubee appeal to development partners, both financial and technical development partners, NGOs, civil society organisations and the private sector in The Gambia and abroad to support the business plans for Aflatoxin mitigation in The Gambia.
He also called for close collaboration to pool resources together, and support the government of The Gambia in achieving the lofty objectives that are enshrined in the plan.
Some of the practical steps that the ECOWAS Commission have taken include working with PACA and the AUC to develop a regional ECOWAS Aflatoxin Action Plan, which has been approved by the political leaders in the region,which is now functional and operational.
According to Mr Aubee, the commission has also done a study which identified the challenges and the gaps as far as Aflatoxin control is concerned, in thirteen out of 15 ECOWAS member states.
He described the document as a very important policy document that would help their individual governments and partners to plan their interventions in Aflatoxin.
In addition, the ECOWAS Commission working with other development partners has given its full political backing to the development of technology that would limit the damages of Aflatoxin.
Heassured the gathering of the commitment of the ECOWAS Commission to providing the right leadership, and support in the fight against Aflatoxin’s negative consequences on agriculture, health and the trade sector in the ECOWAS member states.