By Fatoumatta K Jallow
A Gambian Mr Ernest Aubee, the Head of the Agriculture Division of the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, Nigeria was the recipient of an Agent of Change Award for his exceptional work in Policy and Creating an Enabling Environment for Aflatoxin Mitigation in Africa. Mr Aubee was recognized for the very many activities in the ECOWAS region and on the continent for mitigating the harmful effects of Aflatoxin on the livelihoods of people and for the development of the ECOWAS Aflatoxin Action Plan. The plan seeks to provide a road map to holistically address the challenges of Aflatoxin in West Africa.
The African Union Commission (AUC), Partnership for Aflatoxin Control Programme in Africa (PACA) the award was presented at the recently organized Third Partnership Platform Meeting in Dakar, Senegal. The Partnership Platform Meeting is held biennially and brings together policy makers, experts, development partners and stakeholders from Africa and beyond to discuss strategies and plans for controlling and mitigating the harmful effects of Aflatoxin on food security, health, livelihoods and trade on the continent. The theme of the meeting was: Scaling-Up Country-Led Approaches for Sustainable Aflatoxin Mitigation in Africa.
The Dakar meeting was formally opened by the Prime Minister of Senegal, Mr. Mohamed Boun Abdallah Dione. In attendance was the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat.
Four other recipients also received awards in the areas of Research and Technology, Small and Medium Enterprise, Awareness and Advocacy and Country award. Tanzania won the country award for its efforts in mobilizing substantial resources for Aflatoxin control in the country from both internal and external sources.
The awards were presented by the Commissioner of Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission, Her Excellency Mrs. Josefa Sacko at a well-attended Gala Dinner in Dakar. The Gambian Delegation was led by Mr Abdoulie Jarra, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment and included officials from the public and private sectors.