Rafhan Maize Products Co. Ltd has begun building an AflaPakTM dedicated laboratory and production facility in Faisalabad which will be the first commercial facility in Pakistan for manufacturing a biocontrol product for the country’s maize sector.
To address the aflatoxin contamination issue in maize crop, Rafhan Maize field teams are also actively building the capacity of farmers and disseminating the benefits of AflaPakTM to farmers. Once commercially available, the biocontrol product will lead the way in reducing aflatoxin contamination in maize crop.
Aflatoxin/mycotoxin contaminated feeds and maize crops are hazardous not only to animals but also to people who consume contaminated dairy, poultry and maize products. Recent estimates are that more than five billion people worldwide are at risk of chronic exposure to aflatoxins.
Rafhan Maize Products Co. Ltd, which is the local subsidiary of US company Ingredion Incorporated, processes thousands of tonnes of maize every year to produce high quality food ingredients and industrial products.
In 2016, Rafhan Maize collected maize samples from Punjab province and detected high (>20ppb) levels of aflatoxins in maize. In collaboration with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – who have expertise in biological control of aflatoxins – Rafhan Maize identified a native biocontrol (non-toxigenic fungus) to outcompete the toxigenic Aspergillus flavus to manage aflatoxins on maize crop in Pakistan. This is termed locally as the biocontrol product AflaPakTM.
This unique concept of using non-toxigenic strain as a biocontrol agent has already been tested and commercialized to manage aflatoxins in 11 different countries of the world, including USA and countries in Africa, and it is hoped it can soon be produced for use in Pakistan.
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA-FAS) and CABI regularly convene a working group meeting with representatives from Rafhan Maize and the Crop Diseases Research Institute (CDRI) as well as the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) to facilitate the experimental trials of AflaPakTM and to commercially register it in Pakistan.
To strengthen the public-private cooperation, the Aflatoxin Working Group members from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), USDA, CABI and NARC Rafhan team visited the Rafhan production facility in Jaranwala, Faisalabad and met with Chief Executive & Managing Director Rafhan Maize. The objective of this visit was to inform the Rafhan Senior Management about requirements of the production facility now being built for AflaPakTM registration in Pakistan.
Main image: Farm worker in Depalpur, Okara, filling the bags of dried maize for feed mill supply (Credit: CABI).
Aflatoxin Control Programme
Find out more about CABI’s work on aflatoxin control in Pakistan.
Dr Hamzah Shahbaz Bhatti
Dr Muzammil Farooq
Mr Saqib Ali
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