Project overview

AflaSight offers the first scalable machine technology to treat aflatoxin-infected maize in Africa.

The problem

Maize — a staple food grown throughout Africa — is heavily affected by the invisible carcinogen aflatoxin, a by-product of moulds. Aflatoxin is difficult for farmers to detect because it is invisible to the naked eye, and once present, it is untreatable.

The presence of aflatoxin leads to health problems for people who consume it, as well as the financial loss for smallholder farmers who can't sell their products on the market. In Rwanda, big agro-processors struggle to source locally grown, high-quality maize that is not contaminated by aflatoxin and rely mostly on costly imports.

 

Aflasight
Aflatoxin contamination in crops is difficult to prevent, especially for smallholder farmers, and is untreatable once present. Photo: WFP / AflaSight.

 

The solution

Operational in Rwanda, AflaSight combines cutting-edge, first-of-a-kind machine technology with strategic market operations to provide large-scale cleaning of maize affected by aflatoxin.

Removing aflatoxin infected kernels from batches of maize, AflaSight can reduce aflatoxin levels by up to 90 percent with only 5 percent volume loss, processing up to 20 metric tons of maize per hour. As a result, farmers can safely clean maize of aflatoxin and sell a healthy harvest in premium markets. This boosts farmers' incomes, brings safe, healthy products to local markets, and supports local food systems.

 

Aflasight
AflaSight leverages the first scalable technology to treat aflatoxin-infected maize. Photo: WFP / AflaSight.

 

The way forward

Throughout the WFP Sprint Programme, the AflaSight team is conducting on-the-ground testing of the equipment at Rwanda's main maize aggregation points, with promising results of their technology performance so far. Once the technology and business model have been validated, the team will implement the project in several strategic hubs for the maize value chain in Rwanda.

In the mid-term, the project is set to continue expanding to East Africa's main maize supply chains in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.

 

Aflasight
AflaSight reduces aflatoxins by up to 90 percent, with only five percent volume loss. Photo: WFP / AflaSight.

 

Last updated: 31/01/2022