Nixtamalization Vital in Maize Aflatoxin Reduction

Ambassador Martinez interacts with the Vice Chancellor Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi during the visit

Acknowledging that maize is a major food source for one-third of the world population, the Mexican Ambassador to Kenya, H.E. Erasmo Roberto Martinez believes that nixtamalization increases nutritional value, decreases aflatoxin levels, and prepares the maize for various food products.

The Ambassador made these remarks when he visited JKUAT, May 12, 2022, to check on the nixtamalization project that commenced in 2018, domiciled at the JKUAT Enterprises (JKUATES).

The Federal Government of Mexico through the Ministry of Agriculture had donated a nixtamalization machine to JKUAT which gave birth to the beneficial collaboration between the Mexican Embassy in Kenya and JKUAT.

Apart from the nutritional value nixtamalization offers, Ambassador Martinez was confident that if the technology was adopted throughout the country, JKUAT would become a hub for the technology, thus enhancing the economic growth of the country.

Ambassador Martinez emphasizes on the importance of nixtamalization for the country

“Nixtamalization is a million-dollar industry that has the potential to create jobs and uplift the economic status of any country. I only see a win-win situation where my country (Mexico) transfers its greatest technology to Kenya while Kenya formulates new maize products that change how people consume maize,” said Ambassador Martinez.

Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi in the company of the JKUATES Managing Director, Dr. Winfred Karugu, and her Deputies; Prof. Bernard Ikua and Prof. Mary Abukutsa, informed the ambassador that JKUATES has been working on making nixtamalization flour.

With one year left on his term, the ambassador said he will leverage on his networks to assist JKUAT commercialise on the nixtamalization products from JKUATES to the Kenyan market.

Prof. Ngumi further informed the Ambassador that the Nixtamalization technology has been welcomed as it has proved important in ensuring food security through diversification and increase of the number of ways through which maize can be utilized.

“Nixtamalization technology has, for example, enabled more nutrients from maize to be available and has been useful in the production of a variety of other maize food products such as tortillas that are palatable to Kenyans,” observed Prof. Ngumi.

Dr. Winfred Karugu thanked the Ambassador and the Federal Government of Mexico for the technology and assured him of JKUATES’ commitment to spearheading the commercialisation of the nixtamalization products.

“Our market survey on the uptake of nixtamalization products was a success and I can confidently say that they are commercially viable,” reported Dr. Karugu.

Nixtamalization increases nutritional value, decreases aflatoxin levels, and prepares the maize for various food products.

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