Aflatoxin Biocontrol Training was jointly organized by FQSRI, PARC-SARC and CABI Regional Bioscience Centre Pakistan under a USAID/USDA funded project at the Department of Pharmacy, University of Karachi

A second workshop “Aflatoxin Biocontrol Training” was jointly organized by FQSRI, PARC-SARC and CABI Regional Bioscience Centre Pakistan under a USAID/USDA funded project “Regulatory Harmonization in Pakistan for MRLs and Biopesticides” at the Department of Pharmacy, University of Karachi on 08th September 2022. The purpose was to raise awareness regarding existence, current status, export restrictions and biocontrol of aflatoxin in food stuff among Academia (faculty members and students) of different Department of University of Karachi and Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology, Karachi.

Mr. Syed Hussain Shah, Director, Sindh Food Authority (SFA), Karachi, Government of Sindh graced the event as the chief guest. He briefed about inception, mandate and objectives of SFA. It was informed about the activities related to mobile testing labs regarding drinking water, milk, edible oil and spices. He appraised the efforts of PARC, CABI, USAID/USDA and assured technical collaboration at institute level with PARC-SARC on account of food quality & safety concerns in Sindh province.

Mr. Parwaiz Ahmed Baloch, Director FQSRI welcomed academia (teachers and students) of both universities, chief guest, DG, PARC-SARC, resource persons and collaborators/partners. He hoped that all participants would become able to improve their thoughts as well skills after attending the subject training.

Dr. Sabyan Faris Honey, Project Manager, CABI highlighted the importance of chilli crop as Pakistan was 4th larger producer of red chillies, earning 6.9 million US dollars. The workshop participants were informed about the importance of biopesticide application and how to mitigate the aflatoxin contamination through it.

Dr. Najmus Sahar, SSO, FQSRI, PARC-SARC, Karachi depicted the national status of aflatoxin contamination in chilies, its critical control points that could be used to minimize it. The participants were also informed regarding R&D activities along with diagnostic facilities being provided by the FQSRI, PARC-SARC related to the mycotoxin.

Dr. Atif Jamal PSO, CDRI, PARC-NARC, Islamabad emphasized the occurrence and hazardous effects of aflatoxin (≥ 20 ppb) on human and animal health. The presentation contained aflatoxin status in Pakistan, its critical factors, decline in export of chillies, importance and management of biocontrol technique (indigenous material) to control the aflatoxin in chili at farm level.

Dr. Zakir Hussain Dahri, DG, PARC-SARC, Karachi appreciated the partners (CABI, USAID/USDA), faculty members and research students for their participation. He briefed about the current plight of agriculture sector in Pakistan and the issues related to import and export of food commodities. He hoped that current initiative of technical collaboration b/w PARC-SARC, NARC and CABI with support of USAID/USDA would help to spread awareness among academia.

Certificates were also distributed among all participants.