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Regional workshop on the aflatoxin challenge in West African States – ECOWAS

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in collaboration with the African Union Commission through the PACA initiative, held a workshop from 18-20 November in Accra, Ghana. The workshop aimed to identify regional priorities to address aflatoxin related issues in the West African region.

Over forty experts from the various sectors of agriculture, trade and health attended this event. Representatives from various countries were also present. The ECOWAS workshop also benefited from the experiences of other Regional Economic Communities like the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) that shared its experience in established structures and mechanisms in implementing and coordinating SPS capacity development programmes. ECOWAS is one of the most advanced REC in implementing a Regional Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP) which has derived from the continental framework, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). The region has also made major advances in addressing food insecurity through various initiatives within the region. Furthermore, ECOWAS has developed several regulatory frameworks on Sanitary and Phystosanitary (SPS) issues as well as others that will provide a competitive edge for the region’s agricultural products and attain food security in the region.

During the workshop, expert recommendations from all three sectors were made in order to address the aflatoxin challenge in West Africa as well as calling for coordinated efforts to manage the risks to each sector and economic development as a whole. During the workshop, several cross-cutting interventions were made such as creating public awareness, building capacity in countries, creation of markets for aflatoxin safe commodities, and continuous research. Experts urged policy makers to mainstream aflatoxin issues into the relevant regional and national frameworks.

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