Strengthening aflatoxin control
This PPG enabled public and private sector stakeholders in Malawi to work together to develop a national programme to address aflatoxin contamination, a critical challenge for both public health and trade. It resulted in the Malawi Programme for Aflatoxin Control (MAPAC), which has demonstrated its success in strengthening collaboration, leveraging resources and facilitating a coordinated response to aflatoxin control.
Aflatoxin contamination is a major problem for public health and trade in Malawi. The costs (including in terms of death and illness) are significant and much greater than in countries with good mycotoxin control systems and similar climatic conditions. This PPG emerged in follow-up to work in 2012 by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and other stakeholders to prioritize export-oriented SPS investments using multi criteria decision analysis, based on the STDF Market Access Prioritization tool. This work consistently ranked aflatoxin contamination as one of the top four priorities for the country.
The PPG application was submitted to the STDF by MoIT, with the support of public and private actors in Malawi with an interest in aflatoxins. It was an attempt to overcome challenges related to the implementation of diverse stand-alone activities based on a piecemeal approach, and to develop a more strategic response to the aflatoxin problem based on a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approach with the power to improve results and maximize impact. Under the leadership of MoIT, and with the guidance of an international expert, work was carried out to take stock of relevant ongoing and planned projects and other initiatives in order to develop a coordinated programme for aflatoxin control that builds on existing experiences and identifies outstanding gaps and priorities to address them.
The Malawi Programme for Aflatoxin Control (MAPAC), produced under this PPG, sets out a shared vision for aflatoxin control, identifies key areas for follow-up actions (with attention to roles, responsibilities and investment needs), prioritizes entry points and creates mechanisms for coordination. MAPAC has demonstrated its success in strengthening cross-sectoral collaboration, leveraging resources and facilitating concrete follow-up actions to control aflatoxins in Malawi. Donors, including the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA), the World Bank and others, have allocated resources to implement different parts of MAPAC, which is now coordinated by a small team in MoIT. Efforts are ongoing to identify and secure resources to address other parts of MAPAC.
The experiences in developing and operationalizing MAPAC provide a number of valuable lessons and experiences for other national, regional and global stakeholders interested in responding to aflatoxin challenges. They could also be of interest to the development of collaborative solutions to other cross-sectoral SPS challenges that interest diverse public and private stakeholders. PACA is exploring opportunities to replicate the MAPAC approach in other countries in Africa and/or at a regional level. Experts from Malawi have shared experiences and lessons learned in developing and implementing MAPAC at international events, including conferences organized by the Global Donor Platform on Rural Development and PACA, as well as via a webinar on Aflatoxin Risk Management in Agricultural Value Chains, organized by the World Bank.