Aflazero’s technology enables farmers, traders and government agencies to transform contaminated crops from a toxic and zero/negative value item into a safe food product that can be consumed, sold or exported. This is the essence of a circular economy solution, in which a disposable product is reformed or recycled into a valuable asset.
Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring toxin found in most soils, which presents a significant threat to the health, economy and food security of all African countries. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that 25 percent of world food crops are affected by aflatoxin, including maize, sorghum, millet, rice, oilseeds, spices and groundnuts. Consumers are therefore exposed to aflatoxin through flour, bread, beans, nuts and rice, among other food products.
The risks of aflatoxin exposure include:
Health risks: The Center for Disease Control estimates that over 4.5 billion people in the developing world are exposed to aflatoxins, which cause cancer, stunting and lowered immunity to disease.
Economic risks: In the absence of adequate testing and certification facilities, aflatoxin-susceptible commodities that do not meet internationally accepted standards are often rejected by large buyers, processors and traders, as well as by international regulatory agencies. It is estimated that African countries lose up to USD 600 million a year in export earnings.
Food security risks: Kenya’s Strategic Grain Reserve has had to destroy billions of shillings worth of maize due to aflatoxin contamination. This was a commendable effort by the Kenyan Government to protect the health of its people. However, the next time the grain becomes contaminated, it could be treated by Aflazero and returned to the Government in consumable form.
Even if crops are properly handled on the farm, post-harvest aflatoxin contamination occurs throughout the value chain – during transport and in the storage warehouses of commodity companies and government strategic reserves. The contaminated products eventually end up on supermarket shelves, and are indistinguishable from healthy products.
Aflazero has developed an ozone-based, post-harvest treatment plant which eliminates at least 95% of the aflatoxin contamination in grains, pulses, nuts and other food commodities. Our technology has been optimized over the last decade, and is currently undergoing further testing and advisory from a leading mycotoxin expert and European national laboratory. Aflazero’s team includes agriculture and commodity industry experts with decades of experience working in various value chains across Africa.