Climate change is impacting on the agricultural sector in DPR Korea, with extreme weather events becoming more common. This has led to increased damage to the main staple crops, rice and maize. Maize in particular is vulnerable to damage in the field and subsequent colonization by toxin producing fungi. These toxins are an immediate and long-term hazard to health, particularly for vulnerable groups such as children. CABI is working with the Ministry of Agriculture, and key local stakeholders, to increase the resilience of the maize value chain to the impacts of climate change, and in particular reducing contamination by these harmful fungal toxins.
Aflatoxins are a group of toxins produced by certain fungi – Aspergillus flavus – found in crops such as maize and groundnuts. These aflatoxins are toxic and can cause serious health problems for humans and livestock. They can also cause problems within the food chain because they contaminate crops, cause food safety, nutrition and security issues and consequently affect a country’s ability to trade. Biological control is one way of sustainably handling aflatoxins in crops. In this project, CABI is working with USDA to test and register a native biocontrol product for Pakistan.