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Applying aflasafe chemical two to three weeks ahead of maize flowering stops aflatoxin

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As maize starts to flower, farmers may avert poisonous fungus contamination by applying a biological control of aflatoxins, aflasafe.

Aflasafe is sold at between Sh1,240 and Sh2,070 for every 10kg pack in certified agro-vets depending on the country. A 2.5kg pack is also available for small holder farmers.

Aflasafe, which is a research product from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), prevents aflatoxin causing fungi from accessing the maize cobs. The protection starts from the field up to the store.

In 2004 for instance 125 Kenyans died after consuming aflatoxin-infested food. In 2016, agricultural experts and the Kenya Bureau of Standards warned of presence of the deadly toxin in food such as maize flour and milk sold in supermarkets across the country.


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“Earlier broadcasting of at least four kilos of aflasafe in one acre can protect the crop,” said  IITA researcher Charity Mutegi.

She added that 80 to 99 per cent success has been recorded in the countries in Africa such as Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and The Gambia, among others where it has been applied two to three weeks ahead of flowering.

Application ahead of flowering ensures that friendly fungi are deposited in the farm to occupy and protect the maize cobs from formation.

Prior to broadcasting alfasafe, the plot should be weeded, fertilizer applied, and all other agricultural practices carried out in the field.

Broadcast alfasafe by hand two to three weeks before flowering at the rate of 10 kg per ha (four kg per acre).

If possible, apply alfasafe after rains, or when rains are forecasted, or when the soil is moist.

Ensure that Alfasafe stays on the soil surface. For the spores to grow, they must be above the ground. Therefore, do not carry out any operation that will bury alfasafe under the soil after application. Such operations should be done in the step 1 above.

Five to 10 days after broadcasting alfasafe, visit the field and observe the color of the carrier grains. There should be a greenish growth on some or all sorghum carrier grains if soil moisture is adequate. If there is no greenish growth, return to the field after three to five days and check again.

In the protection process, the Aspergillus flavus– the poison producing fungi- are surrounded and prevented from reaching the maize cobs.

At least four friendly verities of from the same family, introduced in the Aflasafe, compete for food with the enemy, which is edged out in the process.

Aflasafe is made from sorghum. Ordinary sorghum is heated ahead of coating with four friendly that are known to drive the aflatoxin causing varieties out as a result of better adaptability.

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