DAR-ES-SALAAM, Stakeholders from across Africa are meeting in Dar-es-Salaam this week to discuss efforts to step up the fight against aflatoxin contamination in the maize value chain.

The two-day regional workshop, organized by the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) in collaboration with its partners, seeks to address the growing occurrence of aflatoxins in maize which affect food security, international trade of maize and health of people in African countries.

Speaking during a media briefing on the sidelines of the workshop here Tuesday, Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) Director of Food Safety Raymond Wigenge said it was estimated that 208 million people in Africa depended on maize as a source of food and economic well-being.

Maize is one of the crops most susceptible to aflatoxin contamination and which is yet to receive attention by policy-makers in Africa,'' he said.

It is estimated that African countries collectively record 670 million US dollars in losses annually in export as a result of aflatoxin contamination, with 30 per cent of liver cancer cases in Africa also blamed on aflatoxin-contaminated food.

The forum, held under the theme, "Unleashing the full potential of the Maize Value Chain", the forum has brought together experts, representatives of including farming organizations, researchers, agriculturalists, traders, nutritionists, policy-makers and health experts to discuss and deliberate on implementable solutions to the growing aflatoxin menace on the continent.

According to PACA Programme Manager Dr Amare Ayalew, there is no any single option to deal with aflatoxin in Africa and awareness-raising as well as creating incentives for aflatoxin control interventions are important. He called for collaboration by all stakeholders towards a single solution for aflatoxin control.