Aflasafe: A natural product that safeguards food now available in Nigeria

No Comments
By IITA Team, August 09, 2023, A natural product that protects crops in farmers’ fields from toxic compounds such as aflatoxin is now available to farmers in Nigeria!

Aflasafe seeds.
Aflasafe seeds. Photo: IITA

Called Aflasafe, this bioprotectant is an effective product (with 80 to 100% effectiveness) against pre-harvest crop contamination with aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are highly toxic carcinogenic compounds that can cause liver cancer and other health maladies. According to the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA): “It is estimated that aflatoxins cause between 5% and 30% of all liver cancer in the world, with the highest incidence of 40% occurring in Africa. In countries with high hepatitis B viremia, liver cancer risks increase with dietary exposure to aflatoxins.

Aflasafe helps enable the production of safe crops, reducing the risks of liver cancer caused by the consumption of aflatoxins in foods.

Aflasafe is not a food for direct human consumption. It is also not a poisonous chemical. Aflasafe is a beneficial plant bioprotectant and a non-chemical agricultural product developed against aflatoxins, one of the most dangerous compounds on earth.

Aflasafe was developed by CGIAR’s International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and several national and international partners. IITA registered the product after conducting rigorous tests as per the guidance of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). Product safety assessments demonstrate that Aflasafe passes safety requirements for toxicity and ecological safety.

Aflasafe in Nigeria is currently manufactured and distributed by Harvestfield Industries Limited (HIL), a Nigerian company, under a Technology Transfer Licensing Agreement (TTLA). According to Dr Abdullahi Ndarubu of HIL, “Aflasafe has been included in the Central Bank of Nigeria-Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (CBN-ABP)’s list of inputs for farmers’ use. Programs of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) have also encouraged the use of Aflasafe to produce safe and nutritious maize and groundnut for domestic and international markets.” This bioprotectant has been used by farmers in several hundred thousand hectares in several states in Nigeria, including Niger, for nearly 10 years without any untoward effect.

Aflasafe comprises naturally occurring strains of the fungus Aspergillus flavus native to Nigeria that have been identified as lacking the ability to produce aflatoxins. During pre-harvest application, Aflasafe strains can displace other highly toxigenic naturally occurring aflatoxin-producing Aspergillus.


Aflasafe appears as blue-coloured sorghum because it is coloured with a food-grade dye, after application of nature-based active ingredients, to differentiate it from regular food. The intended and approved use of Aflasafe is not as a food, but as a bioprotectant for use in the field on growing crops to control aflatoxins. This product is recommended for application at the rate of 10 kg per hectare by broadcast at about 30-40 days after planting the crop (e.g., maize, groundnut). Aflasafe contains safe natural microbes to control the dangerous aflatoxins found in food.

Apart from the blue food colorant, minute quantities of a maize-starch based polymer, and the active ingredient fungi (0.002 g of fungi per kg) there are no chemicals in the Aflasafe formulation.

Dr Titilayo Falade, IITA Associate Scientist/Food Safety Scientist says “Many organizations in Nigeria such as federal and state government organizations including but not limited to FMARD, state ADPs, notable quality-sensitive organizations, crop production groups and companies, national and international stakeholders in collaboration with farmers nationwide promote the use of Aflasafe because of the benefits that it brings.”

Application of Aflasafe to control of Aflasafe to control Aflatoxin
Application of Aflasafe to control control Aflatoxin, Photo Credit: IITA

Aflasafe is currently used in Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Senegal, The Gambia, and Mali as well as in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, and Zambia. Several other African countries are at various levels of developing their country specific strains. These include Cameroon, Niger, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and Burundi.

This article was originally published on the IITA website:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Kenya gets approval from EU to export temperature treated mangoes
Investments in poor small-scale farmers generate significant benefits for climate and environment, says new IFAD-GEF report
You might also like