State to install six aflatoxin testing labs in NCPB stores
GRAINS: The government plans to install six laboratories at National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depots to help in testing aflatoxin levels in grains.
Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) says regular testing of aflatoxin in maize being consumed in the country is part of the new reforms being fast-tracked by the national government.
All maize to be stored in certified warehouses must be tested on aflatoxin levels, according to Food Crops Directorate interim head Leonard Kubok.
He said in some regions aflatoxins levels are beyond recommended levels of 10 parts per billion, adding that this has largely been blamed on poor handling and lack of certified warehouses.
“Under the new reforms, all value chain players will have to ensure their maize is delivered,” Kubok said during a recent media tour of Trans-Nzoia County.
The scientific rooms, Kubok said would be mounted by the NCPB before it starts receiving maize from the farmers.
Joseph Kimote, NCPB managing director said the laboratories will be fixed before the end of this month.
“We have already procured infrastructure to the tune of Sh5 million and installation is going on.
We expect the exercise will be concluded by the end of this month,” Kimote confirmed on phone.
The new facilities, he added, will be fitted in Kitale, Eldoret, Nakuru, Nairobi, Machakos and Meru counties.
Traders, millers and other players will be charged Sh1,500 per sample but farmers delivering their maize into the NPCB warehouses will not be charged.
Kimote said that maize from Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Kitui, Makueni and Machakos counties have high levels of aflatoxin beyond the recommended figures.
Stephen Simiyu, the chief operations officer at Bora Foods Suppliers Ltd in Nakuru said they charge farmers Sh3,000 per sample of maize delivered to them by farmers.
He said the firm have an in-house laboratory where it tests levels of maize moisture as well as aflatoxin levels.
“Though aflatoxin levels in our market catchment area of Nakuru County is low compared to other counties, we strictly adhere to quality standards in order to maintain as well as expand our market share,” Simiyu said recently.